After weeks of overindulging with friends whilst watching World Cup matches and cheering on Andy Murray in his valiant, yet ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to lay his hands upon the Wimbledon winner’s trophy, I’ve decided to don my trusted trainers once again and take to the streets of London to embrace another long distance running challenge. With the support of my friends, family and colleagues from The Rembrandt and Aquilla Health Club, I took part in and completed The Great North Run last September – my first ever half marathon. Inspired and motivated by this achievement, this year I have decided to undertake a similar challenge much closer to home, namely The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon which is taking place on Sunday 10th October, or 10.10.10 (no excuses for forgetting this date!).
The Royal Parks Foundation (RPF) is the charity for London’s eight amazing royal parks and they reach out to make the parks part of more people’s lives by raising funds for a wide variety of projects, ranging from wildlife conservation and landscape restoration to community sport and art. The half marathon both starts and finishes in Hyde Park, one of my personal favourites and only a stone’s throw from The Rembrandt, perfect for a mid-summer stroll on a hot sunny day. The route winds its way past some of London’s most historic features including Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Big Ben, Admiralty Arch and, of course, through Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s and Green Park, amongst avenues of beautiful autumnal trees. Obviously the weather will be much cooler come race day in October, a factor that I hope will make my half marathon target of 2 hours all the more feasible!
In addition to supporting the RPF, I will be running to raise money for St. John’s Ambulance, an organisation which, like the RPF, provides us Londoners with an invaluable service that so many of us take for granted. Whether you’re an aspiring athlete keen to take part, a novice runner or just happy to come along to cheer on others, it promises to be a fun-filled day – the post-race “Brakes Food Festival” in Hyde Park will be providing sound stage entertainment and a host of household names exhibiting their latest and tastiest foods. With Hyde Park just a couple of tube stops away on the Piccadilly Line or a short walk from nearby Knightsbridge, The Rembrandt serves as a fantastic base for those coming to London to enjoy this and many other events taking place in Hyde Park over the next few months.
I have no doubt that the sound advice and training techniques imparted by my Aquilla colleagues will help me reach the optimum level of mental and physical fitness as they did all those months ago. Now that the football and tennis are over, there are no more excuses to stop me from pounding the London streets and jogging along the gorgeous and scenic routes that intersect our beautiful and well-maintained London parks. Whether it’s running, cycling, ambling or lazing around in the sun, I strongly encourage those of you that haven’t experienced them yet to embrace what London’s parks have to offer.
Submitted by Dan McDonagh, Human Resources Officer at The Rembrandt