Race Report: Royal Parks & Titsey Trail

Dear all,
My race reports are a bit like buses wait ages for one and then 2 come at once!
Royal Parks Half Marathon – Sunday 9th October 2022
I’d been really looking forward to this race and it had been in the calendar for ages. To say that I’d built all my training up to this would be an overstatement but following my good form at Eridge I was feeling quietly confident and hoping for sub 1hr 50mins. Unfortunately a bout of Norovirus in the King household a few days before (thankfully not me) and the aftermath of the train strike the day before (i.e. no trains running from Tunbridge Wells on the Sunday in time for the race start at 9am) meant that race preparations were not ideal. I eventually made it to the start area at Hyde Park at about 8:20am to be confronted by huge queues for the toilets and bag drop. I managed one loo visit, and a bag drop just in time to be called to my pen. 
Had I done this race before I’d have known that unless you’re in the first wave there’s no need to be in your pen when they call and I could have indeed gone to the toilet at least once more before my wave set off. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately this meant that by the time I actually crossed the start line I was cursing my choice. The first part of the course takes you through and out of Hyde Park, past Wellington Arch, down Constitution Hill and past Buckingham Palace. Then past Parliament Square, up Whitehall past Trafalgar Square (including a dog leg along the Strand) then back down the Mall, up Constitution Hill again and eventually back into Hyde Park where we wiggled round for about 13km. The sights were great, lovely wide closed roads (although the sheer amount of runners still meant it was difficult to run at my natural pace in parts) and fantastic support.  Once we entered back into Hyde Park there were also a number of steel pan and samba bands at various points as well as great support levels too.
The weather was fantastic and my pace was pretty good, in between toilet stops, but yes you’ve guessed it, unfortunately I had to stop and use the loo twice (perhaps I was mildly effected by the Norovirus after all. 😬) I really started to tire at about 17.5km, probably a combination of the effects between loo stops and generally not running that distance very much. In the end I was somewhat off the time I wanted, but I got there, I did it, and enjoyed myself. I’d recommend this race if you want a scenic flat half marathon with a great atmosphere. I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like crowds and queuing. Incidentally there were quite a lot of toilets on the course so I can recommend it from that point of view. 😂
Highlight Results (12072 Finishers)
Pos Name Category Gender Position Cat Position Gun Time Chip Time
1 Oscar Bell SM 1 1 1:07:14 1:07:12
49 Lauren Church SF 1 1 1:19:52 1:19:48
3390 Sonja King F40-54 770 230 2:00:49 1:53:28
4503 Clare Andrew F40-54 1234 376 2:19:30 1:58:18
Titsey Trail 10K – Sunday 16th October 2022
This race was a complete contrast in all ways possible. Unable to do the XC yesterday as I was on taxi duty for children’s parties I was desperately looking round for an alternative and stumbled upon this race. I only signed up on Monday so not much race planning. It’s organised by Oxted runners with the start/finish by Limpsfield golf course. A much smaller field (max race entry of 400) and it turns out a pretty fast field too. Still a queue for the toilets (isn’t there always) though thankfully I wasn’t beset with the troubles of last weekend. The website promised a beautiful course through woodland, a few fields (for any mud lovers) and gravelly heathland and it didn’t disappoint. This was everything I wanted from a race, some uphills, some downhills, mixed terrain, perfect weather once again and a plethora of friendly and encouraging marshals. 
A couple of very minor negative points, the start is very narrow (on a footpath wide enough for about 2 people) so if you are expecting to do a fast time start at the front as you’ll be spending time weaving past people. The field didn’t thin out until about 2K in. There was one section which was very confusing, with arrows pointing down both a left and right hand path and no marshal to point out which was the correct way.  I took a gamble and took the left hand path which turned out to be correct but I wouldn’t be surprised if some people went wrong. Finally the cark-parking was very packed in and difficult to manoeuvre. Be careful if you have a large car as I witnessed a couple of bumper scrapes! 😬 However despite those minor things I would recommend the race and would definitely do it again.
I felt I ran a good race, mostly being able to pass people (all that good hill training at Eridge) and didn’t have too many people come past me, but as mentioned before it was a pretty fast field so despite a good time (in my opinion) I was quite far down the pack. I also started to tire around 9k, so I probably overcooked it a bit earlier on.
Highlight Results (321 finishers)
Pos Name Club Category Gender Position Category Position Gun time Chip time
1 Hugo Hewitt Crawley AC SM 1 1 0:35:39 0:35:39
18 Hayley Chapman Unattached F35 1 1 0:44:24 0:44:23
97 Sonja King  Tunbridge Wells Harriers  F40 17 7 0:53:06 0:52:22
Best wishes