A new women's course record was set at Sunday's Royal Parks Foundation Ultra, with Philippa Taylor covering the 50k course in 3:38:37. The Lincolnshire runner beat last year's best by less than a minute to take the record, as she crossed the finish line in Bushy Park. Graham Hedger from Notting Hill was the overall winner, finishing the event in 3:30:54, and achieving his ambition of completing 100 marathons before hitting 50 later this month.
A Royal Parks enthusiast, Graham ran on behalf of Team Squirrel, the squad that raises funds for the Royal Parks Foundation, protecting and supporting London's eight amazing Royal Parks. Both winners took one step up the podium having each finished as runner-up last year.
Philippa and Graham were awarded prize trophies crafted from naturally shed antlers from the Royal Parks' red and fallow deer, which had been turned into unique sculptures by award-winning designer, Mark Wilkinson. Crewroom founder, Kate Giles, awarded the prize to the fastest female runner.
Runners enjoyed warm and sunny conditions for Sunday's race, which took them on a course through five of London's Royal Parks, starting out from Hyde Park at 08:30 in the morning. The route covered some of the most scenic parts of the capital, moving through Green Park and St James's Park and then along the Thames towpath from Battersea Park to Kingston, before the finish at Bushy Park.
Sara Lom, chief executive of the Royal Parks Foundation, said: "We are so pleased to have seen such a surge in numbers for this year's race. It's a huge step up from a half marathon to an ultra, so hats off to all our runners who have made that leap - and to everyone who's been involved in this year's race."
The Royal Parks Foundation Ultra was introduced in 2012 to raise money for charity and to support London's Royal Parks. Last year, the race raised £100,000 for charity and is expected to top that this year.
To find out more about the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra and how to register for next year's race go to the website.