Spring Half Marathon

HAMPTON COURT PALACE HALF MARATHON
East Molesey, UK
Sunday, March 21st 2021, 9:00am

It has been a year like none other, but we are determined to put a race on the WRW calendar and continue our tradition of training toward a goal, gathering together (safely) to run a race, and seeing our next class of Beginners cross the finish line of their first half marathon!  We are happy to announce that we are planning our 2021 WRW Half Marathon at Hampton Court Palace, a home of King Henry the VIII, on Sunday, March 21st, 2021.

About the Race.  The Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon plays host to 3000+ runners and has consistently received great reviews over its five-year history. The course is flat and fast, with two-thirds of it running along the scenic, riverside Thames path. Subject to any changes required this year, the race starts at the Hampton Court Palace forecourt and finishes back in the Palace Gardens, at the rear of the grounds. There is a 3-hour cut off, which we feel confident all our runners, including our Beginners, will be able to meet.

WRW Alums Can Participate Virtually.  Every year we have a group of alums who fly in to join our annual half marathon. As that may not be possible this year, the race organizers have agreed to allow our non-UK WRW alums to participate with us virtually. Alums can run 13.1 miles on March 21st anywhere in the world. We will collect your medal and shirt and mail it to you. If you would like to join us from outside the UK, just sign up for the race as a regular runner, then please email us to let us know so we can keep track of numbers. More details to come, but maybe it’s time to see if our East Coast US runners can really out-represent our strong West Coast contingent. Or maybe it is USA vs Rest of World?

What? No European city race?  For those of you who had been holding out hope for a European city half announcement, we would have loved this, too, but it is simply not possible this year. When organising a race for a group this size (140 of you were booked to come to Prague in March) we negotiate agreements with hotels and commit to restaurants in the fall, estimating numbers of attendees and putting down deposits well before we collect money from everyone. With the rapidly-changing UK travel corridor rules, very different individual appetites to travel or stay in hotels, and no guarantee that any of the currently scheduled half marathons in the first half of 2021 will proceed on schedule, we simply cannot plan now with the certainty and lead time required for a large group trip outside the UK.

COVID adjustments.  We think the Hampton Court Palace Half will be a really fun event for us all. It is one of very few in the UK in March/April that still has spots available, and it meets most of the criteria we have when choosing a race for our group. We are cautiously optimistic it will proceed as planned. Race organisers are anticipating and planning for a number of COVID safety modifications. We will receive more details on this early next year, though these may include staggered starts and changes to some of the normal race support. The advantage of a local race for us is that we can wait until well into the New Year before committing to more planning, and don’t need to commit to travel and accommodation. The only thing we each need to do now is register. 

The Nuts and Bolts
Race registration is now OPEN. Organisers expect the race will sell out before the end of the year – perhaps sooner given so many 2021 races in the UK are already full after rescheduling from 2020.The cost is £38 and includes a rather fabulous medal, a race tee, and free race photos. Registration is quick and straightforward – click here. Please note:

  1. For Club Name, use “Women Running the World” so we can keep track of our numbers.
  2. Expected time: This will determine your starting time and location. As starts may be staggered this year, you may wish to enter a time band that matches those of some members of your pace group, so you are in a similar wave.  If you are part of our Beginner Program, select an expected time of 2:30-2:40, so you will start near each other.
  3. Shirt Size – Race tee shirts are included in the registration fee. Sizing is unisex. Small will be close to a UK Women’s 8-10 and Medium close to a UK Women’s 12-14. Don’t sweat this too much as we’re told we can switch out on the day if needed.

Getting there – Hampton Court Palace is in East Molesey, easily reached by train from Waterloo station in under an hour. Depending on numbers, preferences, and the UK laws in March, we may arrange early morning mini-buses from St. John’s Wood to take us directly there. Some may choose to drive. Again, it’s wait and see.

Evening celebration – We would like to organise whatever post-race celebration UK regulations allow in March. This is hard to predict but we will stay in touch with our thinking on this and get your input as we get closer.

WRW runners only – As our veteran WRW runners know, traditionally the annual race trip has been for WRW runners only – no husbands, partners, kids, non-runner friends.  The trip and race have been all about you and the women in the running group.   We hope you will still respect the ethos of our 2021 race as an event to celebrate alongside the women you have been running and training with all year, and, if possible, join us just with your fellow WRW runners for the race itself. Since this race is local, however, friends, spouses and kids are very welcome and encouraged to attend as supporters.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please let us know at wrwlondon@gmail.com.

Please save the date of March 21st, 2021! We hope many of you will sign up and secure your race bib soon, as this event will sell out.  But we also respect and understand if you choose not to participate this year.  Like all aspects of WRW, you are all part of this incredible group, regardless of where and when you run, and whether or not you choose to race.  All that remains to be said for now is our favorite mantra…

Keep running!