The inaugural Royal Parks Ultra took place today on a sunny and warm day in the capital. London really is quite a beautiful place when the sun shines on it!
A misty cool morning gave away to blue skies and warm temperatures.
I was at the race with the very kind help and cooperation of Salomon who had two star athletes taking part;
Dimitrios Theodorakakos and Silvia Serafinii
They both won! Silvia running so quickly that she was 4th overall and this may very well have been a top 3 had she not been of course multiple times through poor course marking and complacent marshalling. Dimitrios ran 3:25:19 and Silvia 3:39:15.
Dimitrios almost lost the race due to errors from course marking and marshalling…. from a comfortable lead he ended up being neck and neck with 2nd place Julian Rendell and then pushed away again in the closing stages to secure victory!
Dimitrios said “the course markings are terrible and the marshals are too busy on phones… by the time they realised I was there it was too late… six times I went of course. The organisers seriously need to look at some significant improvements for next year!’
Silvia confirmed “I went off course so many times… it’s terrible! If I am running a ‘marked’ course I want it to be marked. Today was too stressful. It as all very well when running slower and you have the time to look around but if you are racing I just want to concentrate on speed and effort… not worrying if I am course”
Not great! Considering the ultra had a small field in comparison to the Half Marathon (12,000) the race had some great pluses. A wonderful course around the parks of London, post race massage, good food provisions post race and a great setting. If only they could get the course marking to that standard… in addition, each runner got a wooden medal; a nice touch!
This race has great potential and will be a perfect race for those venturing up from marathon distance. It includes road and easy trail and at 50k it is the perfect step up distance.
Here are images from the day.