The Royal Parks Half Marathon presented by Royal Bank of Canada celebrated its 10th birthday this year with a capacity field of 16,000 runners.
• The aim of the Royal Parks Half Marathon, presented by Royal Bank of Canada, is to raise money for charities big and small, and each year the event grows in popularity, getting bigger and better. Since 2008, the event has raised £35million for 940 charities.
• Ben Fogle, Scott Mills, Chris Evans, Adam Woodyatt, Emily Maitlis and Jo Whiley were amongst the celebrities who took to the streets of London to run the half marathon, each raising money for their chosen charities.
16,000 runners from all around the world completed London’s Royal Parks Half Marathon presented by Royal Bank of Canada today (Sunday 8th October) as the race celebrated its 10th birthday.
Runners followed a stunning 13.1-mile route through the closed streets of central London, and four of London’s eight amazing Royal Parks, making it one of the most iconic and scenic half marathons in any city in the world. As well as winding through these historic parks, competitors took in some of London’s key landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Royal Albert Hall and the Houses of Parliament.
Over the last 10 years the Royal Parks Half has had some of its most significant success by involving hundreds of other UK charities. The race has now raised in excess of £35million since 2008 for UK charities, including London’s Royal Parks. This year’s event alone is expected to raise more than £5m for the 530 charities taking part, of which 192 are taking part in the race for the first time.
Celebrity runners who took part in today’s half marathon included DJ’s Scott Mills and BBC Radio 2 presenters Chris Evans and Jo Whiley; BBC presenter Emily Maitlis; ITV news presenter Andrea Byrne; TalkSPORT presenter Andy Goldstein; Ab Fab actress Camilla Rutherford; actress Susie Amy; Eastenders actor Adam Woodyatt; former “Bake Off” winner Frances Quinn; and broadcaster Ben Fogle. Other celebrities who have taken part in the race over the last 10 years include: Gordon Ramsey, Ellie Goulding and Katherine Jenkins.
To celebrate this year’s milestone birthday there was a floral ‘Celebration Walkway’ in the Food & Fitness Festivalwhere runners were encouraged to share their personal stories of why they ran on tags made from recycled paper containing wildflower seeds. They were then encouraged to take the tags home to sow in their own garden, or leave them behind to be planted at the base of a new tree in Hyde Park to celebrate the impact the Half Marathon has had in its first 10 years.
One of the 16,000 runners taking part in this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon was Sophie Grace Holmes who was raising awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Sophie 25, who was born 10 weeks premature was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at four months old.
Committed to living life to the full, Sophie made a bucket list of endurance events she wanted to take part in, which included running the Royal Parks Half Marathon and through her fundraising efforts so far this year, Sophie has raised £3,000.
Elsewhere Katharine Coldman and fiancé Mark Richardson, both 29, ran the 13.1-mile route three-legged to raise money for African Promise. Katharine’s brother, Charles, established the charity 10 years ago and has since been working tirelessly to improve the lives of thousands of school children in rural Kenya through educational programmes, nutritional schemes and improved sanitary facilities.
Through their fundraising efforts, Katharine and Mark hope to help improve the lives of even more young people by raising at least £5,000 towards the charity’s work.
Commenting on today’s race Sally Barney, Head of Major Events for the Royal Parks said: “It’s a testament to the runners and supporters from the UK and across the world who have helped the Royal Parks Half become one of the UK’s most successful charity events.
She added: “Together with Limelight Sports we are very proud of what we have achieved in our first ten years and look forward to the future.
“Congratulations and thank you to all the runners. Simply by taking part they have helped care for these magical green spaces in the heart of our capital city.”