In short: Hidden gem of a race - kicking myself that I didn't discover it before! In full: They say the grass is always greener... and to think that I've been hopping on innumerable planes to run marathons abroad when I had this gem of a race literally on my doorstep! Organised by two marathon-mad runners, the Thames Meander is one of those races where everything is just perfect: fab race HQ with tea and coffee on tap (and a beaming baggage collection volunteer with her arm in a sling), amazing snacks served by super-friendly and chatty volunteers, a super-scenic, flat route that goes past riverside mansions, Kew and rowing clubs (and of course swans), and a medal that you could eat dinner off it's so large. I really loved this superbly organised race and am very peeved that I have something else on on the day of this year's winter version. Thanks too to all the other runners too who were so supportive. A real must-do, in fact it's the alternative 'London' marathon! Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: Friendly, challenging great scenary and real deer!!! In full: First time out with Capital Runners and not disappointed. Great atmosphere superbly organised and very friendly. Will be back in October!! Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: Undulating and mostly off road In full: This was a nice, local race with a friendly atmosphere. The marshalls were very encouarging and the organisation was good. The course was fairly challenging with several short, sharp hills. Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: Was a little apprehensive as this was my first half marathon, however despite very wet conditions the atmosphere and friendliness of fellow racers and encouragement from marshalls and spectators was great. I very much enjoyed the whole experience. Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: Very good! In full: This race was brilliant, very well organised and set in a beautiful environment. The organisers put in a lot of effort to make this event special for the runners. The free hot drinks and snacks at the end were a nice touch and we all received a generous goody bag. The hills were big. To say the least! I hope to be back to test myself on this course next year! Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: Great race, one that I hope becomes a fixture on the calendar. In full: A great run through Hornchurch Country Park (HCP) over 24 hours. Considering it was the first time it was run, went like clockwork, thanks to Danny the Organiser who did a great job! (always shows a well organised event if the main man gets called away during the event because his wife's gone into labour and the show goes on regardless!)
Also big thanks to Dave Keeley of Havering 90 Joggers who was there in the background marking the course, spraying the reflective paint, putting up the glowstix and was still there tidying up long after the 24 hours were up.
And to H90J who not only had two teams out there but ran and/or marshalled for the whole 24 hours
Course was good, might be better with more off road, but then more runners might take a wrong turn, and for those that might have taken a "wrong" turn, i.e. shortcut, well..........Its a course that can easily be shortened but with very limited supply of marshals, the emphasis has to be on making sure you don't get lost; its down to your conscience if you take a "wrong" turn in the dark!
Other matters - I'm afraid the catering was as if a burger van had pulled up, but without the quality, food selection or service that you'd normally get in a lay-by!
Insect bites - as a local (and H90J, vested interest here) I was expecting them, so was wearing full head to toe gear, sprayed with repellent, and still got bitten! Be warned if you enter next year!
Other than those 2 quibbles a great race, really enjoyed it. Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: Worth doing just the once In full: I wouldn't say I enjoyed this run. It was tough because it was undulating - I knew this already, but it's always a shock if you've not run a particular undulating course before.
The route is fairly scenic, although there are large parts of the route where you're just looking at tons of grass and nothing much else. I did see a herd of deer (is it "herd" or just "group"?), which made the run a little more pleasant.
Much of the route is narrow, so if you're looking for a PB then you really must get to the front or wait for everyone to start and then run from the back.
I'm glad it was sunny weather on the day, as I wouldn't want to run on soggy grass or mud. Maybe it's just my preference, but it's hard granite or concrete for me any day. If it had rained, I would've just walked the 10k... no point slipping and injuring yourself!
As for the entrance fee, it was very steep compared to other 10k runs. I did one at Greenwich Park that cost £12 (this one cost £19). The Greenwich run felt more "professional", hard to say why. This Richmond one felt amateur in its set up - although to be fair, I felt that most of the runners were from clubs or cliques.
All in all, I'd say go for it. Experience it once - see the deer, pray for a beautiful day so you don't get soggy and muddy, and forget trying for a PB. £19 is reasonable if you do it once in your life... it's only expensive if you compare with other 10k runs. Date of review: September 2, 2014
In short: So lucky this was my first Half Marathon experience! In full: Fantastic race with superb atmosphere, really supportive marshals, friendly fellow runners , strong organisation, stunning location and fab goody bag! Loved every minute of it and am now hooked! Big thank you to the organisers! Date of review: September 1, 2014
In short: Tough Course but beautiful In full: This was the inaugural event and was well organised and marshaled well. It had clear signage and instruction for the whole course. The marshals were very encouraging as were the locals there was support in places around the whole route. The course is really tough and undulating should really read hilly as hell, but the beautiful scenery and support gets you through. The finish was well organised and the goody bag was well filled with a great bit of bling, a banana, power cookie and some haribo sweets.
Overall I really enjoyed this race even though it was a tough one for me. Hats off to the organisers and volunteers Date of review: September 1, 2014