In short: Great Race - Especially for an inaugral event In full: I really enjoyed this event. I was a little concerned in the run up as I knew the course quite well and wasn't sure how 2000 people would fit along the towpath. In actual fact, the half an hour betweent the 10k and half seemed to provide adequate time for runners to fan out along the course.
I actually thought the race did provide value for money. I signed up with the early bird price, and to get free entry to kew gardens, a nike technical t-shirt, a beer AND a medal for that? Pretty good value in my book.
I've done a few inaugral events in my time, and there's been absolute chaos, not the case here. there were a couple of minor glitches, leaving the starting pace boards at the finish, mile markers were questionable at times, but I had my garmin so this didn't bother me. It was also the first race I've ever done that was absolutely spot on on distance. mine said 13.10 miles!
Overall, I thought organisation and communication was really good, Big thumbs up to the organisors, and I would definitely do this again. Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: Enjoyable trek around leafy Richmond! In full: I really enjoyed this one. Flat as a pancake so PB potential there, although the mud and slippery areas in places didn't help this. Running through Kew was very enjoyable.
For a first race i thought the organisation, at the start and finish at least, was superb. A few gripes that others have mentioned, such as mile markers out of place, but nothing I would consider a serious issue. The race got off on time and ran smoothly throughout (compare and contrast with the farce that was run to the beat). The marshalls were very enthusiastic and clear in their instructions. T shirt looks great and London Pride goes down well after a 13 mile slog! Got to have a breif chat with one of my favourite runners (Sonia O Sullivan) afterwards too which capped a really enjoyable day.
Touch wood I'll be back. Well done to all involved. Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: Great first event In full: Really good course though the river flooding overnight didnt help the Thames path, beautiful scenery and the Kew Gardens start was great. It is a multi terrain course and some of the ground on the Thames Path is tricky to run on at the best of times. Despite that managed a 30 second PB just ducking under 92 mins. Good t-shirt and medal too - think i'll be back for more next year. Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: Nice flat mixed terrain course In full: Good first effort from Richmond. Need more people at water stations handing out and I suspect the last station may have run out before the end. To the announcer, either get a louder system for your announcements or stand to the side, as you couldn't be heard past 20m back. NB your site said 'race pace', but on the day that just seem to be a request for runners to line up in expected pace order and that didn't work. Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: Nice race but lots of room for improvement In full: Hard to know about this race in the future because if it gets any bigger it will be too congested in Kew gardens and the early parts of the Towpath. The price is too expensive for a non UKA run, i didnt mind the mile markers being hand written but i did mind the mile markers being in the wrong place, Mile Marke 2 was at 1.83 and mile 10 was also a lot out. But the others where ok so only a minor detail but still something that any race should get right. The race measured 13miles on my Garmin so came up short another runner also told me that theirs came up just short. Garmins arent 100% but ALL my race are always over the distance. The water stations were also under staffed, i had to pick up the cups from the table and i was towards the front of the field so it must have been worse further down. Not a big problem but a little annoying if you are chasing a PB. these issuses are easily fixable. Good atmosphere at the finish and a really nice T-shirt, this is a good fun run but not worth £34. Bring down the price, sort the these few issues and then i may well come back as the Route is lovely Date of review: September 22, 2013
In full: I did the half marathon and really enjoyed it - yes there were a few teething problems such as the mile markers being few and far between (& a tad amateur compared to the rest of the event) but I actually thought it was really good value, well marshalled, lovely course, great T shirt and medal and the bonus of starting in Kew Gardens (& apparently we are getting a discount voucher emailed to us for future entry to the gardens). I hope that it does not get too big as the towpath could get very crowded with any more runners. Very family friendly which is important for me as otherwise my family feels abandoned when I disappear off to yet another race, at least this way there was something for them too. Date of review: September 22, 2013
In short: Lovely Run In full: Overall a great 10k for the money. A lot are charging 16-17 Pounds for a tiny medal and a biscuit. The tee-shirt and Medal are both superb. This aside as the whole experience was to run in Kew Gardens and this is a very special place. The only small issue was the distance markers, I only saw the 1mile and normally over a 10k you get a marker every 1k. And at the end Great to have cold choco milk after, every runner should drink this post run.....and some music! Thanks for a lovely morning. Date of review: September 22, 2013
In short: Loved it - well done! In full: Well I loved this one. my 10th HM of the year and I am pleased it was this one. The course was splendid - a real lovely mix of terrains and just beautiful to run. The marshals were a joy - I didn't see any who were anything less than hugely encouraging and cheery - well done all of you, and heartfelt thanks. The finish festival was lovely, great music and a good range of local stands. Children's races well organised and run, my daughter loved it (10yo) Yes... I didn't get a black shirt, yes...it was too big, but heck, if I were to get stressed about that when the actual race was so good then I think I'd just have to give up! As it is.... it's not important to me whether I get a shirt that fits, it is more about the race itself, the atmosphere and the smiles achieved during the day. Well done to you all - from the facebook page, good comms and lovely race. I came in a car with 3 other runners, and we will all be back. Date of review: September 22, 2013
In short: Ok race but definitely not good value for money In full: It took me a while to decide to enter this race because of the price. It's more than I would normally pay for a half, but after getting a discount code via RealBuzz I decided to give it a go.
The route itself was quite pleasant although a bit narrow in places made it hard to overtake at times. Also as it had recently rained some parts were quite muddy (adds to the fun).
The issue I have with the race is the price & what you get for your money. When organisers are charging £30+ for a half then they need to deliver something special. I know the focus of the festival was at the finish but something at the start would have been nice too! Nothing, not even music playing over a PA.
Even the mile markers were a let down! Some of them seemed to be missing, most of the ones that were there were totally in the wrong place & didn't stand out at all (normally they are printed on a fluorescent yellow card, these were more home-made). Am I being too fussy? Maybe, but then the race cost more than the average half marathon so you would expect things to be better.
The finish area was a bit more lively, although still not an overly 'festival' feel to it. There were no bands playing but not sure on the timetable. A couple of stands but nothing that took my fancy. The medal was good & you get a Nike technical t-shirt. I got a small white t-shirt (they had run out of the small black ones). Still a tent on me as they're all men's sizes! Could they not do one colour but men & womens instead? You're given a goody bag but it just contains leaflets. Drinks are handed out; Lucozade & a protein recovery drink. I prefer water & managed to find an almost 'bootleg' operation going on at the side of the park filling up cups.
I know it seems like I've been quite harsh on the race but it comes back to the price. It was £10 cheaper then I would be saying yes it was a good race for the money but I don't think we got value for money. Putting it into perspective, it was more expensive to enter than the London marathon! I know VLM gets a lot of money from their sponsors but I get good value for money from it. I had done two halves the previous two weekends to this. They were both under £20 & very good. My point is, you don't need to charge a lot to give runners a good experience.
On the parking front, the organisers recommend a NCP by the station. I tried that first & not only was it quite a tight car park but also expensive. It would have cost £6-7 to park for a few hours. In the end I parked in a car park across the road from the finish at Old Deer Park. Plenty of spaces when I got there & £2 more than covered my time there. Plus my car was a stones throw from the finishing line!
It's not a bad race, it's just not value for money.