In short: Scenic, traffic free and well organised In full: This is the kind of race I usually dislike - low on club runners, high on ipods, big crowds. But I really liked it last year and again this year! The organisation is excellent and the route is very scenic and almost entirely off road. It is great to have the unique experience of running through Kew Gardens. We got more Kew Gardens and less Old Deer Park this year which was much appreciated. The medal is awesome and the t-shirt is the best one I have ever had in 30 years of racing - never before have I got an actual ladies t-shirt! Lots of goodies at the finish in general. Only improvement would have been more loos at the start. Date of review: September 21, 2014
In short: Take your own drink! In full: Toilet situation was absolutely awful, only toilets available were at Kew but no extras provided. I doubt many started the race on time. When I got to mile 11 they had run out of water, so I hadn't taken on fluid since mile 6. This is totally not acceptable, I'm not the fastest of runners but not the slowest either and on a hot day it's just not on. No time clock either. Course is narrow especially at the start so unless you are at the front of the pack, expect to be a bit slower. With all that said though the course has some stunning scenery and the t shirt and medal are some of the best I've been given. So if they can sort out toilets and water stations this could have been a near perfect half marathon. Date of review: September 21, 2014
In short: More of an event than a running race In full: If you want a start in iconic Kew Gardens and a finish village with lots of noise and spending opportunities than this is the event for you. If it is a running race you want, then there are plenty better.
I didn't see any portaloos at the start (perhaps Kew don't allow them) but I did see queues long enough to be sure that most wouldn't be able to go before the start. There were about 8 loos at 4 miles though (?!).
It is a lovely course although a bit rough underfoot and very congested, in Kew Gardens and along the towpath - there are simply too many runners for these sections and I wouldn't be surprised if other towpath users complained, as did many of the cars being held back on Richmond Green. How did the event get approval for those road crossings?
The worst part was the water stations, where they seemed to be pouring individual cups for each runner - slow and frustrating for many. The marshals also seemed to have little idea of distance or when the next water station was. "Only 2 miles to go" at 2.5 miles out. On the subject of mileage, 11 and 12 markers were spot on but 10 was at 10.25 and my Garmin finished at 13.3 instead of 13.2 - something quite wrong there.
For this price, you want a smoothly organised top quality event. Less than half the price will get you a much better race organised by runners with marshals that understand running - not that I would want to criticise anyone that gives their time (are they paid?) to support these races.
Another pet hate (I may be sounding hyper-critical here) is allowing headphones on races that cross roads and pass through narrow sections. This is really quite dangerous.
My advice would be to enter races that are organised and marshaled by runners. Date of review: September 21, 2014
In short: Great setting,early start,smooth running,terrific medal,great T-shirt,memorable! In full: The idea of running in one of my favourite places- Kew Gardens - made the 10k race unmissable. It certainly lived up to my expectations. The pre race organisation made it simple for me to be ready for the start despite arriving just 15mins before the off. I was quite worried as the race began as I was just getting over the Thames Meander but the gentle pace,fantastic scenery,and wide open space made for a very enjoyable run.The course continued around the Gardens and then left to follow the Thames Path which brought back memories of my previous run.This was a great part of the race as l passed the 4 mile marker with Old Father Thames to my right. Not long now and then the turn into the final run in and then a sprint(!?) to finish and share a high five with the Mayoress. She was great cheering everyone on as they crossed the line. Terrific medal , great T-shirt, food and drink at the end ensured my entry for next year. Date of review: October 18, 2013
In short: Great race, great atmosphere and lots of fun! In full: I ran the 10km and was apprehensive as due to an injured knee I hadn't been able to put in much training, but with great contact from the organisers I was assured the course was flat with minimal hills (my kind of course). The start was set in the beautiful Kew Gardens and was such a lovely run. As someone who loves running but is not very good I can sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by lots of serious runners together, that I will be at the back watching the race happen. But with this race there was something very inclusive about the whole atmosphere with lots of people doing their first 10k. Overall the course was lovely, people jotted all about cheering on. The markers were on the floor perhaps could have been brighter markers but were still visible and a nice count down in my head!
I loved the atmosphere after the race enjoyed a delicious freshly made pulled pork bun and sausage sandwich and after that also enjoyed a cider from the beer tent and listened to the fantastic live music.
The children's races captured the essence of the 2012 legacy and was so lovely to watch. All of them from reception to teenagers trying their best and finishing with a smile.
My only negative would be the early start but that's really because I am no early bird and generally do not favour mornings! Having said that it was then a nice feeling to have run 10k enjoyed beautiful scenery and get an awesome t shirt all before 10am on a Sunday!
Overall something I will definitely be doing again and will recommend to friends, beginners and those more experienced. Date of review: October 18, 2013
In short: Good fun, great atmosphere!! In full: Excellent race, even though I was in serious pain from running the great north run the previous week, luckily the beer and t-shirt at the end eased the pain. The bottle opener medal is fantastic as it's the medal that keeps on giving rather than gathering dust. The great variety for food stalls, live music and entertainment for the children added to a great day out. It even persuaded my sister, who is a beginner runner and came to watch, to aim for doing the 10km next year. Also quick mention about the t-shirt.....it's awesome!!!! Thanks for a great day! Date of review: October 16, 2013
In short: Much hyped, nice medal and t-shirt but should have focused on the race itself. In full: Beautiful start in Kew Gardens, rest of course was along the tow path so it was pretty. The odd dodgy mile marker, distinct lack of marshalls and the ones round Ham House were awful. Couldn't see the finish line when entering Old Deer Park, no "100m to go" nobody giving out medals - I helped myself, no announcements or encouragement at the finish. Race village was nice but very organic (no diet coke)long queues for beer and tea. Kids race was a nice touch. Too hyped and not enough attention paid to the actual race. Date of review: October 7, 2013
In short: a day to remember In full: had such a lovely day taking part! especially enjoyed starting in kew gardens, couldn't have planned it better. not only was the race enjoyable and challenging but the scenery was spontaneous! organisation was great everything went swimmingly and an overall positive atmosphere throughout the day!! Date of review: September 26, 2013