There will be no mass-participation race at the rescheduled April Royal Parks Half Marathon

Jane McGuire
·4-min read
Photo credit: cb create Ltd
Photo credit: cb create Ltd

From Runner's World

If you’ve always dreamt of running the Royal Parks Half Marathon, we've rounded up everything you need to know about this year’s event.

Like other big half marathons, the 2020 Royal Parks Half Marathon was rescheduled because of the pandemic; it is now due to take place on Sunday, April 11. However, it was announced today (February 3) that because of ongoing lockdown restrictions, the mass-participation event will not take place. Instead, runners are invited to take part in the virtual race. There will also be a Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, October 10.

Here's everything you need to know about entering and running the event.

When does the ballot open for the 2021 (October) Royal Parks Half Marathon?

It has not yet been announced when the ballot for the October 10 race will open.

If I don't get in on the ballot, how do I find out more about running for charity?

Since the race began, in 2008, almost £50 million has been raised for charities, including the event’s Golden Oak charity partners: Cancer Research UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital, British Heart Foundation, Mind and Tommy’s.

You can look for charity places in the April 2021 race here.

When is the rescheduled 2020 event and is it a virtual race?

The rescheduled 2020 race will take place on Sunday, April 11.

Owing to coronavirus restrictions, runners are being invited to take part virtually. Runners who raise over £175 for charity will have guaranteed entry into a future Royal Parks Half Marathon. Virtual runners will enjoy a unique experience, with visual and audio cues on a customised app, and there will be a premium medal and event bag.

Project Lead at The Royal Parks, Persephone Deacon-Cole, said: 'Supporting charities in need during this time is more important than ever before. The Royal Parks Half was created in 2008 to raise sustainable funds for The Royal Parks and enable charities of all sizes to be involved in a major challenge event.

'The impact of Covid on the mass-participation sports industry has had significant repercussions for ourselves and our charity partners. We hope this one-of-a-kind digital experience will excite runners across the nation and encourage them to support the charity of their choice.'

Will there still be a race in October?

The race organisers are planning for a half marathon to take place on Sunday, October 10.

How long is the Royal Parks Half Marathon?

The Royal Parks Half Marathon is 13.1 miles and takes you on a route through central London, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

What is the route of the Royal Parks Half Marathon?

The 2019 route can be seen here. The 2021 route has not yet been announced, but we imagine it will be similar to that of previous years:

Where does the event start and finish?

It usually starts and finishes in the festival arena in Hyde Park. The nearest tube station to the start and finish zone is Knightsbridge. Hyde Park Corner tube is a 15-minute walk away.

What will the weather be like?

It's far early to predict the weather for the October race. On the same weekend last year, the UK was experiencing uncharacteristically warm weather, with highs of 18C

What are organisers doing to ensure the race is 'green'?

New for 2020, the race has launched its #RunGreen campaign, with the aim of encouraging more people to escape into a Royal Park or their local green space, while keeping sustainability at the heart of everything they do.

The organisers of the Royal Parks Half will continue their commitment to decreasing the environmental footprint of the race, following a hugely successful 2019 event, which saw the race become one of the first major UK running events to go plastic bottle-free. Plastic bottles were removed from the route and no single-use plastic was distributed on the course or in the village, which equates to 165,232 plastic bottles removed. Compostable cups replaced plastic water bottles and a comprehensive waste-management strategy was devised, including closed-loop composting of all the water cups. The finisher T-shirts were made of bamboo and recycled polyester.

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