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SP | Run for one of the 500 charities in the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

By Will Stroude


The ballot has closed for this year’s Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, but runners can still take their place on the start line by signing up to one of the 500 charities who will benefit from the  popular challenge event this year. It is widely acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful and iconic half marathons and celebrates its 10th birthday in 2017.

The stunning 13.1-mile route takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads and through four of London’s eight Royal Parks, namely Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. As well as running through these historic parks, competitors will also take in iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament, making it one of the greenest and most scenic half marathons in a world city.

For those who prefer to support loved ones from the side-lines, the Royal Parks Half provides a spectacular ‘Food & Fitness Festival’, which boasts a wide range of sporting and creative activities for all to try, a tempting food market sponsored by Jarlsberg®, live music and entertainment. This year, like those before, the Royal Parks Half will continue to spread its green message by promoting its sustainable ethos. In 2016 40% of waste from the Food Market and at least 110,000 plastic bottles were recycled, in addition to the use of sustainable materials throughout all aspects of the event, including bamboo shirts, wooden medals and banana bins to name a few.

In its first nine years, the Royal Parks Half remained focused on its charitable aims and credits much of its most significant success to its many charity partnerships.  In addition to the annual events’ continued effort to raise funds for the Royal Parks Foundation, supporting London’s eight Royal Parks, the race has now raised in excess of £30million since 2008 for its partnered charities.

Whilst charities of all sizes have benefitted, the Royal Parks Half has contributed enormously to the continued efforts of its “Golden Oak” charity partners, which this year are Tommy’s, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan, and the Royal Parks Foundation.

One of the charities to really benefit from the fundraising generated through the Royal Parks Half over the last 10 years is Cancer Research UK (CRUK). This year, CRUK hope to bring their total fundraising target to £2,000,000 to mark their 10th year of working with the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon. These funds have been instrumental in helping CRUK achieve ground-breaking research which each year has helped to save more lives. For example, in 2008 the funds raised helped CRUK scientists find vital DNA repair ‘scissors’ after an 18-year long hunt, revealing more about how faults in this process can lead to cancer. Furthermore in 2012 their researchers showed that a combination of two drugs is far more effective against pancreatic cancer than each one on its own. Finally, in 2015, CRUK launched ‘Add-Aspirin’, the world’s largest clinical trial looking at whether taking aspirin can prevent some of the most common cancers coming back.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity has been a partner of the Royal Parks for the last ten years, and in that time 3,277 people have run as part of Team GOSH, raising an incredible £1.7million. This has made a huge difference to the children treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), and is helping to fund pioneering medical research, state-of-the-art equipment, support services for patients and their families, and the rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital.

Head of Major Events at Royal Parks Foundation, Sally Barney, said: “We’re incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the past 10 years, but most of all I’d like to thank all the runners who have taken part. It is thanks to them that over 750 charities have been able to raise vital funds, creating a ripple of good across the UK and beyond. They are all incredible!”

To secure a charity place, you should sign up as soon as possible via