Now in its seventh year, the aim of the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on 12 October is to raise money for charities big and small. Here are 10 reasons why you should go along and support this fantastic race
1 Vital funds: The government now gives less than half the £35 million it takes to care for the Parks each year. The Royal Parks Foundation Half and Ultra Marathons raise money to help keep the magic of the Parks alive and go towards vital nature conservation and wildlife projects across London’s eight Royal Parks.
2 Raising money for a good cause: Since 2008, the event has also raised a whopping £18million for approximately 550 charities. Charities include Tommy’s, Mind, Cancer Research UK and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
3 Go nuts for the parks: The Royal Parks Foundation has its own team of runners called Team Squirrel lead by its mascot Chester Squirrel. Last year they raised £45,000 for various projects in the Royal Parks including public playgrounds, the restoration of fountains and bulb planting.
4 Jogging crazy: Half marathon runners have raced 677,768 miles so far (that’s 27 times around the world)
5 Environmentally friendly: Official race shirts are made from sustainable bamboo and recycled polyester (from recycled plastic bottles!).
6 Green winners: Every runner gets a nature inspired medal made from leaf shaped FSC-certified wood. The winners’ trophies are crafted from either fallen oak or naturally shed deer antlers found in Richmond Park.
7 Run alongside famous faces: Celebrities that have taken part in the Half Marathon include Katherine Jenkins, BBC newsreaders Sophie Raworth and Sian Williams, Nell McAndrew, Ben Fogle, Gordon Ramsay and lots of others. Those already lined-up for this year’s event include chef Aldo Zilli and TV presenter Jenni Falconer and lots more.
8 Recycling rules: 66% of all waste from the event is recycled rather than finding its way to landfill sites. As part of a partnership with Marks & Spencer, more than 100,000 plastic bottles are collected and recycled with Closed Loop Recycling, running clothes that are discarded along the route are donated to Oxfam, and surplus food redistributed to those in need by Fareshare.
9 Floral fun: Hyde Park where the race starts and finishes was one of the first central London parks to create a wildflower meadow. This area has encouraged butterflies and other insects to thrive, supporting the wider city’s ecology.
10 Bird spotting: Those taking part in the Half Marathon will run past the islands on St. James’s Park lake that are nesting sites to 15 different species of water birds. Pelicans have been a star attraction there since 1664.