In short: Some good things, some bad things In full: There are some things that I really liked during this event but unluckily not everything was at the same level. I'll start from what I liked. A good scenario along one single lap on different surfaces made the course never boring. It was plenty of loos, there were a good number of pacers and the participants have been divided in different waves at the start. On the other side, I didn't like the unsupervised baggage area (apart from a single small table to leave valuables), the very narrow path in some sections, the open-traffic roads (we had to stop at a certain point to let a car go through), not enough marshals at some key points. The goody bag was barely sufficient (I've got more stuff at cheaper events) and they ran out of tech t-shirts very soon, when I completed the half there was only small size available. I'd run it again only if at a cheaper price (I've paid £30 in 2014). Possibly they should put the t-shirt (not remarkable at all) as optional during the registration process. Date of review: March 30, 2014
In short: very enjoyable half with great views along the river In full: well organised half with great views along the Thames, well supported along the way and a nice atmosphere in and around the race village, nice to see plenty of loo's at the start, oh and have to mention a nice technical t & medal, well done perseverance events. looking forward to the london enduro 12. :-) Date of review: March 24, 2014
In short: Nice location, but not a great experience In full: I thought for the £30 entrance fee there were a few issues with this race - the lack of security for leaving baggage - essentially just a couple of tables which had access too, running along a main road into Kew was awful with cars weaving in and out, few race marshalls, water stations that were literally just that - and there were only three of them en route. A very underwhelming beginning to the race, no atmosphere, just a bingo-caller style, chap on the tannoy telling us to have a good race, wasn't impressed with the medal, t-shirt or goody bag either. I love this part of the world but having also done half marathons in Bath and Cambridge this month, they were in a different league Date of review: March 24, 2014
In short: Scenic race, great goody bag! In full: A lovely half marathon along a flat and scenic route. The first three miles or so are a bit congested as it follows the (open) road alongside Kew Gardens but once you hit the tow path it's great. the tow path itself was a little slippery, but what would expect with the weather we've had!! Great goody bag with medal, technical t-shirt, running socks, water and banana and the running village area was good too. Would definately do it or the 10k again! Date of review: March 24, 2014
In short: Good race, slightly tricky course In full: Well-organised race with a good start village, decent number of toilets (always vital) and well-organised start with good division of waves, and a reasonable number of pacers.
The course itself is attractive, but often narrow with occasional very narrow areas either on pavements (as roads are not closed) or along the tow-path, which makes up much of the course. This wasn't a major problem for me as I was in the first wave but it may have been tricky for people in more crowded groups.
The course is pretty flat, and reasonably fast although the tow-path is slightly uneven and there were a couple of muddy and slippy areas, so probably not the fastest course in the world.
In my opinion, there weren't quite enough water stations, although I appreciate opinions will vary there. I think there were a total of four, which is not too bad on a half-marathon, but at each station all I got handed was about a third of a cup of water, so by the end was feeling a little under-hydrated. Also no en-route nutrition, but that's fair enough - it's really down to each runner to take the nutrition they need/want/like.
Finish area was good with reasonable goodies: the goody bag itself was mostly leaflets, plus a couple of random free samples. TBH all I want at the end of a race is a nice medal, a technical t-shirt and some food/drink to recover. I got that, so I was perfectly happy.
Surprisingly not a huge amount of support despite going through busy Richmond - I guess that may be down to the fact that most of the route was along tow-paths. Not really a big deal though.
Good race, and one I would do again as it's so easy for me to get to. Probably not one I'd travel miles for though. Date of review: March 24, 2014
In short: Good potential but let down by poor organisation In full: If you have read other reviews then you will see that the course had to be changed due to flooding - but I would like to point out that the Thames is a tidal river and flooding occurs here to the extent that the paths are impassable approximately every 3 weeks. Therefore the chances were quite high that the route would be flooded and I feel better provisions should have made for this eventuality. Hats off to the marshals, they did a difficult job, but the re-designing of the course was a unfortunate as it ended up with an obstacle course of jumping over walls, going up steps, doing a U-turn in a 1 metre space, climbing steps over a bridge, running down a steep verge and ending the final 600m in a marshy field with all energy dissipating into the mud. Unfortunately the planned parts of the route were often too narrow and a bit hazardous with the ice and verges off the path. Also as has been mentioned the ridiculous queue for the 'goody bag' - a bag of leaflets, and a t-shirt. A better system could and should have been improvised when it was apparent that we were queuing for half an hour in the increasingly cold weather - when the only thing anyone wanted was a t-shirt. Although I have put all the failings of this race I still did enjoy myself and did clock a good time - nice atmosphere and a lovely location. Date of review: April 30, 2013