In short: Not one that I would do again - if you do, carry your own water & nutrition, and leave early to get parking In full: Whilst the start was in the iconic entrance area of Hampton Court Palace and the medal of Henry VIII doing a Mobot was fun, this was not a race that I would do again. Although the 2 laps are mainly in the Palace grounds, there are very few views of the Palace. And the terrain includes a mile of running on slippery gravel, and a lot of off-road paths with only a few stretches on an even surface. Also it is narrow for most of the course, especially the beginning - so you need to start in the right place for your time and not be shy about getting ahead of the many charity runners if needed. The course is also very exposed, so the windy and rainy weather made a number of sections very hard work. It was windy enough to lose hats and at times to be blown off course.
This was the first running of this event - and they need to: 1) add an extra water station (the gap between 4.5 miles and 10.5 miles is too long and would be dangerous on a hot day - people were already begging passers-by for water on this cold & windy day) 2) get more marshals at the water stations (we had to unpack our own water bottles as they were over-run) 3) have a more systematic approach (they gave up on finding our labelled kitbags at the end and let 10 people in at a time to search for their kit because it had not been placed in order) 4) manage the numbers and logistics (eg they ran out of water at the finish at a couple of points and the flapjacks etc ran out completely half way through the field) 5) get the start signage and announcements clear - there were spectators with umbrellas mixed with runners at the start and the announcements could not be heard at all beyond the first few rows of people. There need to be signs of where the start is, and the approximate run times that people are aiming for 6) more marshals around the course - they were really only at the major turns and this meant that there were long sections with no-one: an issue in the case of an emergency 7) a changing tent/area would really help (especially when people were completely soaked through and had long walks back to their cars, as parking was difficult).
For me the lack of water was a real issue, and I have to say that just a normal T-shirt, a medal, a banana flapjack and water for a £31 entry fee feels steep, especially when you also need to pay £5 for parking since there are no trains early enough to come via public transport. That said, there were loads of charity runners and I hope that they raised a lot of money for good causes. Date of review: March 29, 2015
In short: Home made flapjacks and homely organisation through major Thames la darks - run the boat race and more! In full: Friendly run with refreshment stations just where you needed them - complete with homemade flapjacks and Brownies as well as Gu gels and bananas. Good organisation with support from the Army cadets and a Piper to play you home! Added bonus of being able to do Kingston parkrun before the start!! Make sure that you have a GPS as no markers on the course, and be ready to dodge dogs, bikes, walkers, rowers, boats, pub drinkers and bad surfaces - worth it for the landmarks and scenery In my view.. Date of review: March 19, 2015
In short: Terrible start packed into a narrow, muddy corrdior for inaudible start & unable to drop off kit after mile's walk from parking , but a fast race. At the end the showers were totally cold, and unable to find advertised massage. But a free cup of tea. In full: I really appreciate that these events take a lot of organising and would like to say a thank you to all of the organisers and marshalls and water station folks for turning out on a wet and cold day (as it usually is at this time of year). I found it really difficult when I arrived to work out where to go. I gueued for ages and ages to go to the toilets (and of course like any race no paper). But it did strike me that there needed to be some more women's toilets as this took 20 mins. Then the queue for the kit tent was just huge and there was no in/out system - just one massive mudslide to get in and out. This queueing seemed to take 30 mins or more and the line just didn't seem to move. It would be better to have an in door and out door at opposite ends of the tent. And then more people working inside to get a flow through. And if labels had been sent out in advance of the race we could have written our own numbers on them, saving more time. The start queue was the worst - so tighly packed into that narrow path. Nowhere to warm and and I was worried about my friend who seemed to be beoming hypothermic with the wet and cold. Then the guy in front of me in the line started doing knee flicks and kicked me so hard in the knee that I thought that I would not be able to race. It was agony. Luckily this wore off after 10 mins. I did not hear the start talk and hooter (I was stood at the 1h50 line). I thought that the race would be delayed given that theree was still a huge queue for the bags. And then as we moved forward I saw from my chip time that it took me 5 mins to cross the line. At the time, I did not realise that the flags were the start line - becuase you then ran in reverse through the finish ganrty I was left thinking that maybe the flags were for the Apex Sports kit sale tent. So a proper sign saying start would be good. I doubted even more as my Garmin said that the 1 mile and 2 mile markers were not quite in the right place - and I know that other people said the same. At the end I went for a shower but none of us could bring ourselves to go under as they were totally cold. And I could not find the massage tent, nor where other things were. I heard by word of mouth from other runners about the free cup of tea (great!) but again there was no signage. So a couple of signs and pointers would be great. And maybe a little more explanation in the leaflet sent out in advance. I did read it, but still was left all at sea. Date of review: February 24, 2010