Thames Meander Marathon

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31/10/2014 at 21:54

found a document that gives all the distance between the bridges so can have a rough idea - t's just over three miles home from Richmond Bridge and six from Kew.  20 mile warm up for a fast 10k!

 

I'm sticking with trail shoes - wore them on the thames path for a 20miler and no pain!

 

01/11/2014 at 21:14
I ran this today for the first time and I'm sorry say for me there was more negatives then positives:

Positives-
Nice medal
Very scenic
Decent price
Enjoyed the bagpipes at the start

Negatives-
absolutely no support there was dog walkers,cyclists, buggies and a boat race going on (I had to duck under one being carried across the path)

Not enough stations really for a marathon

Not a single mile marker anywhere

One steward told me only 4K to go more like 10k

I was looking for a strong finish but didn't have a clue as to the distance I was doing and then suddenly as I turned on the bend there was the finish (I left my gps in my bag )
02/11/2014 at 08:14

I also ran yesterday and have to agree with Mike.

 

I think the boat race made quite a diffierence, making it a lot busier oin the footpath than normal, especially up by Putneyy bridge.  Didn't think I'd mind lack of support but it really was poor.  Felt more likle a long painful training run - very lonely for most of the way.

 

I knew there weren't going to be mile markers - can't understand why they can't be there - there are direction signs.  That fact shoul dreally be made clearer on the website as most people, like Mike, would assume there would be and you should beable to have some info without relying on GPS.

 

Overall not bad but couple og things could easily imrpove it.

 

Definately not enough water stations and poorly placed.

02/11/2014 at 09:13

Agree with the point about the mile markers - especially towards the end. I know my Garmin can be up to half a mile out by the end of a marathon, so I had no idea how far I was from the finish until I turned the last corner and people were shouting '150m to go!'. In the last mile I had a guy without a Garmin asking me how far it was to the finish.

02/11/2014 at 10:26

I ran this yesterday too and echo what has been said about the mile markers. Especially as there were plenty of directional arrows on the course.  The race director was incredibly open to feedback however and I am sure if enough people let him know he might feel inclined to change his signs?

However, as far as the impediments on the course went, having marshalled and race directed I know it is really difficult to get it perfect, especially in London.  I found there were far fewer walkers, bikes, dogs and children than there typically are on a weekend as it was a Saturday race.  However, the timing with the boat race was just a really unfortunate clash.

I ran this race having had a long layoff through injury and welcomed the more discreet nature of it.  Additionally, having lived along part of the route I liked the fact it felt like a training run (albeit one where I had to run a bit harder and had people to chase).  I found the water stations spot on for me but then runners can really vary in their needs.  Likewise I am so glad I wore my road shoes!

Well raced all anyway!  That's another marathon under your belts which is more than most people get up to on a Saturday morning.  

02/11/2014 at 10:29

Forgot to add, I did wear a Garmin when I found out there were no mile markers.  I think that courses with lots of bends can be inclined to give unreliable readings so I assumed as it was an out and back course that the GPS reading would be fairly accurate and mine was almost exactly 26.2.

02/11/2014 at 10:43

Good comments MsE.  Good to hear other opinions - especially about the water stations etc - it is just preference most of the time and you can't please everyone.

 

Easy to complain about mile markers but are we just too pandered with the quality of events now?  I knew before becasue I checked on this forum and then worked out how far Kew and Richmond bridge were fdrom the end (6.5 and 3miles respectively).  I knew Teddington lock was about a half mile too - it justy didn;t help me one ht eday as my legs had gone by then and the imagined gazelle like finish never quite materialised!

I missed the good for age time by 26 secs but post race, somebody said it is still worth putting in - any thoughts on this anyone? (I'm 43 so was 3:15:26)

02/11/2014 at 10:51

Marcus - you were sooooo close! You did brilliantly for your first marathon.  Short of pretending you are over 50 or a 43 year old woman, I think you might have to try again or perhaps look at qualifying for a championship entry start with a fast HM?  I have no experience of how flexible they are on the times, although as it counts as a trail marathon you could argue that a road course would have given you a much faster time.

And don't forget to mention those boats! 

02/11/2014 at 11:35

LOL! Thanks MsE - agonisingly so! Migth be worth a try - although I think I want to beat that time now that I've aimed for it, rather than just to enter a race.

02/11/2014 at 12:32

Marcus - congrats on the time in your first marathon. Without doubt you'll get faster in the next few. Having done quite a few marathons, I'd also say that while the course was flat, the surface and number of people / dogs / things on the course meant that it wasn't as fast as a flat(ish) road marathon. 

The GFA entries for London 2015 have closed anyway (deadline is about July), so if you fancy having a shot at a GFA place for 2016, I'd pick a flat one (Manchester?) for spring 2015 and smash the target. I'm pretty sure that the London organisers are pretty strict about GFA times to the extent that sub-3:15 means 3:14:59 or less, and 3:15 doesn't count!

As others have said, it was a bit odd not to have any distance markers on the course, but it's also worth bearing in mind that this wasn't a large scale marathon. Ditto re the water stations - wasn't a problem as far as I was concerned.

Definitely a bit unfortunate about the timing of the boat race, but the biggest problem with this was the people who were cycling along the tow path yelling out instructions to rowers without looking where they were cycling.

02/11/2014 at 12:46

Thanks Lorenzo.  Live in winchester so Manchester is a bit far.  I've run Bournemouth half and 10k so may have a look at that.

02/11/2014 at 16:53

My OH asked the race director what the distance was from the start to the turn round at Kingston and he said he wasn't sure! I found that a bit odd, tbh.

Thought that the distances to the checkpoints for each race could have been put int the details so you could plan your race strategy and have some clue about where you were on the course.

Thing that irritated me was that the event details suggested there were showers but it turned out there were only men's showers. I don't mind if there aren't facilities for both butit'd I'd known I'd have packed baby wipes rather than justthrowing clothes on while still sweaty.

Edited: 02/11/2014 at 16:54
02/11/2014 at 16:58

Despite my whites above, I did enjoy the run itself. It's a shared path so expected to have to dodge other walkers, runners, bike, dog and kids...the boats were mildly amusing in the scheme of things.

I have run the Thames Path Ultra with the river in flood so it was nice to see another part of the path without wading through water. I was surprised at how rural that section felt and enjoyed the views.

02/11/2014 at 20:11

I had a great day I have to say. I don't mind not having markers just used my garmin to keep check of distance done / left to go. I checked the aid stations locations before which is why I chose to run with a pack. That way I was not solely reliant on the aid stations for water etc and just topped up when I came across one.

As for the boat race I agree not ideal, but hey, this is London and this is the Thames. The path is busy on most days and given the weather I reckon that added to the volume of people on the path. 

Thanks to the volunteers that ran the stations, especially the "Comrades Ladies" on aid station 1.

Thanks also to the man on the bike in the red jacket. I have no idea who you are but you kept popping up along the route with a massive smile on your face and a big cheer as we ran past.

Thanks Dave and all your staff for a great run!  

03/11/2014 at 21:09

Except for  slight return headwind it was perfect race day weather for Nov. Agree with some of the previous comments about lack of mile markers, but I had my Garmin with me and let a few fellow runners know the distance gone/ to go etc. Overall the event was extremely well organised and the marshals were really kind and helpful. Great aid stations too with ample fluids, gels and jelly babies etc, not too widely spread apart. Thanks again to all the volunteers and organisers, even plan to download one of the good value photos by R&R.  As a fellow cyclist I agree with above criticism that some (a minority) of those cyclists of the tow path were going too fast on the shared embankment!!

05/11/2014 at 09:32

I did this back in the summer when we headed past the finish area at 24 miles and then had to do a loop through a busy park/road and shopping area and back to the finish area. Was it the same on Saturday? Enjoy the low keyness of this event but won't do it again if there is still a horrible two mile loop at the end. 

05/11/2014 at 11:03

No - they listened to feedback and the loop is now at the beginning - which for me was fine.

05/11/2014 at 12:08

Another one that did the race last weekend.

A summary of my race:

  • Great organisation
  • well sign posted
  • Great aid stations
  • Well placed aid stations
  • Issues around putney bridge couldnt be helped.
  • Great comradery around the runners
  • RDs listened to the request to have the extra loop first and i think it made a good difference
  • Recommendation: move the half to start later so the faster half people arent negatively impacted by the slower marathoners
  • I dont care about mile markers (and i forgot my garmin). I guessed that it'd be half way to the turnaround so just worked on that.
  • Path seemed a little worse than august but i guess that it's due to the time of the year
  • Liked the medal
  • Car park was full VERY early this time.
  • Toilet issues again (only 2 toilets working inside)
  • No showers/changing. I ended up getting changed in the disabled toilet
  • Good baggage control and they already had my bag ready for me when i arrived at the tent (very alert and paying attention)
22/12/2014 at 23:53

Are there alternative parking facilities? I'm thinking of doing this next year but don't want the headache of parking problems.


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