In short: Fun race In full: Loads of effort had gone into organising this and for the most part it paid off. Good vibe, friendly and efficient marshalls, scenic route along Thames. There were loads of twists and turns so it was a pretty decent effort with the signage. However, there were one or two places where an extra marshall or sign would have helped increase my confidence that I was going the right way, especially at and just after the last bridge. The water bottles were massive and would have been nice to have somewhere to throw them – but better than plastic cups. If the organisers can somehow reduce the number of stairs on the course (at bridges and subway) that would be good, but not sure if this is realistic. Date of review: April 9, 2013
In short: Friendly and scenic In full: I really enjoyed this race. Very scenic and quick route and a good and friendly atmosphere. Easy to get to and free parking on site! Like others below I also would suggest some more loos, and some more signs on the second half of the route when you are tired and lonely. But definitely a race I would love to do again. Date of review: April 9, 2013
In short: Scenic run, easy to get to, definate potential In full: This race has great potential. It's a great starting spot with parking, and good links to public transport. Registration was simple, bag check was useful, though toilet availability could have been better. The route itself was surprisingly beautiful, and really flat. I do echo earlier comments that with adverse weather, this has potential to turn into a bit of a mud-fest, but so long as runners are forewarned, that could be part of the fun. The real dissapointment for me was signage all but dissapearing after crossing Chelsea bridge. I happened to be in a gap between runners, so there was no one to follow -or ask for directions! The last 2.5 miles were a bit of a guessing game with lots of potential places to turn the wrong way, which was a shame, because up until then, the marshalling had been great. At one point, I found myself running down the drive for a local sports ground, and encountered some angry drivers who were less than thrilled with a runner taking up any space on an already narrow lane.
A huge thank you to a few of the competitors who hung around applauding as some of the slower folk came to the finish. It was a real shame that there was no water at the end. As someone who brought their own sports drink for the race itself, I was really dissapointed with the lack of refreshment at the end.
So, a few suggestions for next year: -Brief the runners that some signage will apear as green spray-painted arrows on card, and that these are valid race markers and should be followed. - A big directional sign at the bottom of Chelsea Bridge. -A couple of "caution runners" signs and a marshall wouldn't go amiss when runners are using local sports ground drives. - a bottle of water and a piece of fruit at the end of the race.
Overall this was a nice race. With a bit of work on the kinks, this could be great. I look forward to next year. Date of review: April 8, 2013
In short: Few teething problems but a good first time effort. In full: This was a charming little race, that had a very friendly, intimate feel to it. They were certainly lucky with the weather. After 6 weeks of cold windy rubbish, finally the sun came out and you could almost describe the day as warm. This was extra lucky in a way because it doesn't take too much rain to turn part of this course along the south side of the river into a muddy nightmare! No such problems today though!
Scenery - For a run this close to central London you are not going to find a more idyllic route.
Course - It's flat so PB's are possible. Beware though that about half the race was on tracks rather than roads which were, especially between Hammersmith and Chiswick on the South side quite rutted and stony. It's harder work than running on roads, my legs suffered badly in the last few miles!
The start - no fancy celebrities or big hooters. It was just a bloke blowing a whistle. Keep it real!
Cons: A few more signs would have been welcome, especially around the bridges. I run round these parts quite regularly so had a rough idea where I was going. However towards the end of the race (from Chiswick bridge onwards) there were a number of paths, junctions and turnoffs that could have done with some extra signs just to reassure tired runners that they were still on the right track.
Water bottles - Big, put not a major problem. I certainly prefer them to the paper cups. What may have been useful would be some temporary bins to dispose of them after 100m or so. Maybe I was just knackered but certainly after the second stop at 9-10miles I struggled to see anywhere.
Loos: Few more at the start please.
Chip timing: Appreciate that this was meant to be happening but the organisers were let down by the chip company. Definitely a plus to have this in so you don't need to wait too long for the results!
In short: Poor organisation, lack of signs, no free refreshments at the end In full: Initially I was happy with the amateurish feel of this event but actually for the £20 entry fee I would have expected more. - No chip timing - No food and drink provided at the end - Poor marshalling and signs All in all very disappointing. Several times I wasn't sure I was even on the route due to the lack of signs for the half marathon. I think it would be a struggle to get a PB with the footpaths so packed with people, dogs and prams. I'll stick with well established races in future. Date of review: April 8, 2013
In short: A charming event with a few first-time glitches In full: My wife actually ran this one (I was just a spectator due to injury) but I am relaying her comments and mine as an observer. For an event in central London this was a really low key and enjoyable event. The start/ finish setting in the walled garden was a real peaceful oasis and the riverside route was flat and scenic. Obviously, as a first time event there were a few glitches, which we offer in in a constructive way, notably at at least least one point, near Chiswick bridge, the route signage seemed to go astray and a marshall would have been helpful to stop people getting lost. Also, for next year it would be helpful for the finish to be more clearly marked and to have water at the finish rather than some way away in the gazebo. Finally, while it was good for the water on the course to be given in bottles, the bottles were too big to either drink or to carry easily so it might be better to give smaller bottles. All these are minor comments as the race was a really good one and the organisation was much better than might be expected for a first time. Finally, a word of praise for the catering, a really nice selection and the Moroccan food in particular was excellent, healthy and really good value. All in all very enjoyable and we would both hope to do this again if it runs next year. Date of review: April 7, 2013