Marks & Spencer were one of the main sponsors for this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon in central London, so Carmel used the excuse of her employer’s sponsorship of 50 entrants to take part.
I went to London to take a few photographs and try and be generally supportive. The biggest challenge I had was to enjoy myself. Waiting for two hours on a damp October morning was not sounding much fun – especially when there were 12,000 runners and I had to identify just one of them as they jogged past. For example, this was my view for most of the 2 hours I was waiting – how do you spot one person in such a crowd?
Carmel and I had managed to find a piece of software that allowed me to track within intervals of seconds where each other were at any moment (Glympse). I was able to use this to get a very accurate idea of where Carmel was at any moment and when to either get up off my backside and cheer, or put down my coffee and take some photos.
The start of the half marathon (13 miles) was somewhere along the bottom of Hyde Park near Knightsbridge tube station. And with the route being circular, it finished off back there after going as far as Temple tube station and looping back on itself a few times.
Carmel survived the ordeal by being forced by the crowds to run slightly slower than she normally would. Her time of 2h05m was perfectly respectable and I can vouch for the fact that she was far from exhausted at the finish.
I did my fair share of running too – by finding 4 photo points around the course and jogging between them to make sure I was in place at the time Carmel was passing. By the end I was pretty happy to join her and a few M&S colleagues for a couple of Guinness.
And now for some stats… Carmel finished in position 5,662 out of 11,423 runners. That puts her in the top 49.3% (i.e. in the top half). She also finished in position 2,154 out of the 5,331 ladies that entered, which puts in her in the top 40.4% – even better!
Duration 2:03 hours
Distance 13.5 miles
Path (Google Earth)