Running with Henry VIII at the Hampton Court Half Marathon

08 Aug 2014 14:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

Hello, on February 22nd 2015, you’ll be organizing the Hampton Court Half Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

Sure. The race starts and finishes at Esher College, which is located a mile South of Hampton Court Palace, in South West London, England (UK). The route takes in Kingston upon Thames and follows the river for much of the route, passing Hampton Court at around at around 4 miles.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

The race is now in its second year. It was created to meet the huge demand from runners in the Greater London area for pre Spring marathon half’s. The timing is particularly good for both London and Brighton Marathons, but of course it works just as well as a stand-alone half.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Flat, fast, scenic and interesting. Essentially it’s a road route, but a 3 mile section is on the Barge Walk between Hampton Court and Kingston Bridges, which is a mix of tarmac road surface and compacted gravel. There is also a short woodland section (approx. half a mile) early on.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

In 2014 the race attracted an entry of 2900. In 2015 we expect to exceed 3000 with a ceiling of 4000. It’s a mix, with some quite fast runners at the front. 10-20% will be from running clubs but the vast majority will be unattached runners of mixed ability. The cut off time for a recorded finish is 3 hours 30 minute, and we anticipate everyone running will finish within this time.

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

No at the moment we are concentrating on the development of the half marathon. We may add a 10k in 2016, but this would require a different start and a new level of planning, so we are going to keep it simple for 2015.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

We are talking about Great Britain and it is hugely difficult to predict what the weather will be like. February this year was very wet and there was severe flooding, with parts of the course underwater until six days before the race, although race day was dry and not cold. It is possible that we might see sunshine and blue sky, but on the other hand there could be snow! All we can say is that we will keep runners informed about forecasts as we get closer to the race, and that it will go ahead regardless unless the conditions would be too dangerous.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

Henry VIII will be on hand to welcome runners and present prizes. There will be other themed touches to entertain runners. Plus a café selling food and drink and other onsite catering.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Esher College before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Hampton Court palace is definitely worth a tour. There are a number of restaurants close to the Palace as well. For a big array of shops and restaurants visit Kingston upon Thames, just a couple of miles from the finish.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Hampton Court Half Marathon?

A great race close to London and an ideal first Half Marathon for 2015!

Interview with Peter Wedderburn, a regular mid pack runner and member of the Stragglers Running Club. Peter has been organizing events for the last 20 years and joint organized the Richmond 13.1 HM in 2012 and the Hampton Court Half in 2013. He also organizes the Harry Hawkes 10 (miles) and the River Relay, a 5 leg baton relay over 26.2 miles. His aim is to promote running as a sport and a recreational activity to promote personal fitness.

Quicksilver Hampton Court Half Marathon