On Sunday 24 October, roughly 1400 people ran over thirteen miles around the Royal Borough of Kingston for the annual half marathon.
The race, beginning in Kingston’s Ancient Market Place, saw runners travel through the town centre, over Kingston Bridge, along the Thames and past Hampton Court Palace before looping back towards the start line.
Paul Piper grabbed first place, finishing the 13 mile run in one hour and eleven minutes. He was followed nearly three minutes later by Micheal Hutley in second place, and Philip Thorogood in third.
A spokeswoman for Quicksilver Running, the organisation which hosts the event, told the Kingston Courier: “The Kingston area offers fantastic opportunities for running in the Royal parks and along the river, and has a long history of running events.”
Despite fears of Covid-19 – the cause of last year’s cancellation – a large crowd turned out to support the runners, who ranged from enthusiastic amateurs to trained professionals.
Each runner was given a medal at the finish line, along with free food, drinks and a shout-out from the announcer.
Race director Peter Wedderburn and event manager Jennie Brereton both live in Kingston, and through Quicksilver, have helped organise a number of local running events.
Wedderburn said: “Running is an excellent way for people to pursue a healthy lifestyle and has great benefits for both physical and mental health. We cater for runners of all abilities, from those starting out and setting them selves goals, to elite club runners at the front of the race.
“We are delighted to work closely with Kingston Council and help promote the Royal Borough and the Ancient Marketplace.”
As well as giving runners the opportunity to take part in a scenic and challenging race, the event also helps raise money and awareness for a variety of good causes and charities.
The spokeswoman added: “The race has always worked with local charities, including The Kingston Hospital Charity, Momentum, The River Thames Boat Project, and local young people’s groups.
“The Covid restrictions badly affected our normal plannin and we have not been able to promote our charities as much as usual this year. But we are already planning for major support of the Kingston Hospital Charity in 2022.”
While Quicksilver Running and other organisations promote several charities, the race also allows the individual runners to fundraise for causes of their own choice.
Elis Osgood, Vicar of St. John’s in New Malden, and her husband Matt Osgood both ran the race in aid of charity Tearfund, a Christian charity that has partnered with churches in over 50 of the world’s poorest countries to tackle poverty, fight injustice and respond to disasters.
Matt Osgood said: “We initially set out to raise £500, but exceeded that target pretty quick so raised it to £1000, and have currently raised £1230 which we’re really delighted about.”
By race day, the couple had raised over £1600. To support Tearfund, visit their website.
Hannah Clay ran the half marathon in support of The Way Youth Zone. The Way, which celebrated its relaunch on Saturday 23 October, is a charity that provides young people aged 8-19 (up to 25 for people with disabilities) access to a youth zone where they are offered over 20 activities a night.
Clay said: “By working for The Way Youth Zone, I have seen the incredible work they do to support the phenomenal young people of Wolverhampton and I wanted to support them.
“I have been running a bit during lockdown and I wanted to push myself now life is getting a bit more back to normal. Somehow my Dad convinced me that the best way to do that was to run a half marathon. ”
Clay’s original target was £300, but by race day had raised £372.
Sunday’s race marked the sixth official Kingston half marathon staged by Quicksilver Running since their first race in Kingston in 2015. This is a yearly event, with plans to continue the race for the foreseeable future.