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
In short: Lovely sunday morning run along a scenic route In full: Small friendly and with some stunning backdrops, (Kew on a sunny Sunday morning). A varied terrain kept it interesting will be back next year. Date of review: September 22, 2014
In short: No water after mile 6 and no t-shirt In full: The water situation was rubbish, no water after the second water station (approx 6 miles) made for an unpleasant end to the race. For us out the back that's a long time running without a drink!
OK so the T-shirt will be sent out after, but they knew the numbers so easy to figure out how many you need. I know I should be quicker but you pay the same whether you finish in 1.30 or 2.30.
Nice to run through Kew though and along the river and nice medal.
Volunteers and Marshalls were great, although some towards the end were about it with their distances.
This was my first half marathon and it's a shame that my biggest lesson was that I have to be responsible to water no matter what is advertised pre-race.
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