In short: Possibly London's most scenic race In full: This was my fifth half marathon of 2015 and certainly the prettiest I've done. Starting in Kew Gardens, the race moves along the Thames, through Richmond and back to the deer park where you'll find all manner of stalls and attractions. There were plenty of toilets at the start and also some midway along the course and at the end. Marshalling was energetic and spectators provided encouragement along the route. The only negative for me was that the drink stations were a bit chaotic. The first was fine, but the second comes at a very narrow section of tow path and I skipped it as it was mobbed when I ran past. By the time I got to the third, there was no water left. I was in the second to last wave sent off but I'd already overtaken a lot of people by that point so there were still many behind me. I could only find an isotonic drink at the fourth station but would have preferred water. Nonetheless, I had a good race and got a big PB. The course is flat (there are a couple of tiny inclines but nothing to slow you down, really) and starts on the hard paths of Kew before moving onto stony trail along the river. You have to watch your footing here as there are quite a lot of things to trip on, but signs do warn you of this. The deer park finish is grass and fortunately, despite the recent rain, not too muddy. Drink stations aside, it was very well organised and supported. The race is pricey but you the medal is very good (very bling!) and you also get a tech T-shirt. I'd definitely do it again for the setting and atmosphere. Hopefully they'll have enough water next year. Date of review: September 7, 2015
In short: Friendly race in a gorgeous setting In full: My second Half Marathon and it was very enjoyable. Perfect conditions which is just as well as the towpath would be very tricky to negotiate should it rain. It was quite bunched up at the start as we moved through the park. It didn't bother me as I was aiming at 2 hours but may not be ideal for the faster runners looking for clear space.
All in all it was very well organised and left me wanting to sign up again. Date of review: January 17, 2015
In short: Good fun run In full: Having been quite experienced at 10km and half marathons I found this race fun and quick. I started towards the back of the red numbers...even though I had a yellow number and had no problem with overtaking and bunching as in previous 10km. As previously ran the kew 10km last year improvements had been made where needed. The tshirt and medal are even better than last year and had I been in good fitness I definitely would have achieved a PB. Lovely atmosphere during and after the race. Would defo do it again Date of review: October 5, 2014
In short: Beautiful scenery, flat course, fun atmosphere In full: I'm quite an inexperienced 10km runner and wanted to improve my PB which this flat course enabled! The great atmosphere along the way and at the end made this the best 10km I have run. Can't wait to do it again next year! Date of review: October 5, 2014
In short: Race for all abilities and fantastic family fun day out! In full: I have run many races 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon around the country and beyond and found the Richmond Running Festival one of the most welcoming and encouraging of races. From the start with the beautiful Kew Gardens scenery to the finish with fantastic bands, beer and atmosphere. My highlight was watching the children's races at the end, watching children from reception class and above try as hard in their 500m/mile race as those adults running the half marathon...really inspiring to watch! Overall what I would say about this event?... 1. Awesome tshirt, 2. Great (flat) run 3. Fantastic atmosphere with amazing volunteers....would I do it again? Where do I sign up for next year?!?
In short: Scenic, fast, great freebies. In full: Fantastic scenary, very flat and well organised. Used the bag drop no problems. No chance of getting lost as the course is well marked and marshalled. The goodies at the end were fanastic; a quality medal, ace t-shirt and coconut water, ice cream and a beer. The best race I have ever done. Date of review: October 2, 2014
In short: Ugrent need for better organisation In full: Hopeless to have totally inadequate loos at start.. horrendous queues meaning loads and loads starting their races some 10 mins+ after the gun . Water .. Errr .. if in cups.. please fill a bit more than 1/3 full and please please have enough tables to grab from . Marshals .. They were very friendly and kind but knew nothing but nothing about running .. they are volunteers doing their best and do absol do need proper instruction . Course needs better marking to ENSURE you go in the right direction .. easy to get lost as one elite actually did . Tow Path .. a lovely idea .. but clearly itr cant be closed to the public .. so imperative to pre warn walkers esp with dogs that 4000 runners are `on their` way !! Cyclists too were surprised .. and certainly next year there is likely to be a nasty accident if this isn't addressed . I saw 2 runners fall due to the congestion on the tow path with runners/ walker/cyclist issue . Goody bag / T Shirt .. I got both and they were fab ..and the way they were handed out was great .. but clearly the organisers didn't `expect` so many of the people who entered to actually be running perhaps !!! No good to run out . Water on course for Half Mara .. Crucial to have enough .. actually negligent not to have enough .. So Come on Kew / Come on Richmond .. you CAN DO BETTER than this Date of review: September 22, 2014
In short: Good, but needs to address a few areas In full: As a nearby resident, I didn't have any problems with toilet queues as I could just jog to the start from home. Nor as a regular runner am I bothered with goody bags, medals, t-shirts or other post race offerings. tbh I'd rather have none of them and pay less, but appreciate that some runners take those things quite seriously! Likewise, I didn't take any drinks so no issues there. A start line, finish line, accurately measured course, and an exact time are all your really need; so it must be frustrating for organisers who have entrants who are expecting the London marathon at every local race for a cheap entry fee. Overall I think Tom and his team did a fine job, but can I suggest a couple of areas to look at for next year from a quicker runner.
Being in the top 10 throughout, we caught the back of the 10k after only 3 miles. Too many were running several abreast, wearing headphones, unaware of half marathoners coming through etc. Not sure how to resolve, but many of these would be beginners without much idea on race etiquette. Some form of pre-briefing to run on the left would have been useful, or signs up on the course to beware of runners coming through from behind (for their own safety as much as our convenience). Some "Caution Runners" signs would have been useful too for the public as they towpath was pretty cluttered at times. I hurdled several dogs and had to dodge a few bikes at times.
Miles 11-12 were run against the flow of runners who were still at miles 6-7. They simply weren't informed/advised to keep to the right (or there were just to many of them), which meant that the lead runners were constantly getting hit or having to jump into the bushes. I collided unintentionally with about half a dozen runners who were either not aware, not looking, or were zoned out in iPod world. I realise marshals are voluntary and give their time freely (I have done the job many times, so appreciate their efforts hugely), but they must be briefed to warn runners about the oncoming contraflow of runners. Either the route needs amending, or the segregation of runners going in both directions needs to be better. On a shared towpath, a no iPod rule really should be considered.
I knew the route, but as I was running alone without any other runner in sight most of the race, there were points where it wasn't obvious which way to go. I understand one of the leaders turned left at mile 11, rather than right, and basically ran himself out of a podium finish. There was nobody at that junction telling me which way to go; I only knew as I know the course well from training locally. Similarly at mile 12, there was no indication that I should turn right off the towpath, and I heard nothing from any marshal; luckily again I knew the route but would have carried straight on if I wasn't a local.
These are only small points from my own point of view and may not have affected many others, but hopefully they can be addressed for future editions. I'm sure I will run this again. Date of review: September 22, 2014
In short: Pretty, fast and pretty fast, but needs work In full: Overall this race was all right, but the organisation at the start really left a lot to be desired. 8.30 start for the 10k, insufficient toilet facilities (and no apparent signage) for 3000 runners meant I didn't have time to go, while there seemed to be slower runners ahead of faster competitors. I managed to get a PB so I shouldn't really complain, especially with a nice flapjack, good technical t-shirt, smart medal and a can of beer at the end, but the organisers need to think a bit more about the beginning of the race for next year. Date of review: September 22, 2014