RW Race Report - Whole Foods Market Breakfast Run

When: March 27
Where: Surrey
First man: 1:20:46
First woman: 1:37:42
Last finisher: 4:03:00
No. of finishers: 1,390
Type of race: Road
RW rating 2011: 69%

A school report of this race might read: 'Has potential but is falling short of its capabilities. Must try harder.'

This event is one of the venerable fixtures in the UK race calendar. Long renowned for its riverside route and early start (8:20am), the breakfast run always draws a big crowd, and this year total numbers topped the 3,000 mark for the first time.

Participants were fairly evenly split between the single-lap eight-mile run or the two-lap 16-mile option.

The race started and finished in central Kingston in the old market square. In between, runners were taken south along the towpath, with the Thames gurgling peacefully to their left and the perimeter of the gorgeous Bushy Park to their right.

After passing by the 500-year-old Hampton Court Palace, the route headed back north to Kingston through the streets of Surbiton. One-lappers were siphoned off to the finish line while two-lappers girded their loins and went again.

The route was flatter than a weight-conscious pancake and while the course was congested on the first lap there was considerably more space after the eight-milers had completed their exertions.

Running the two-lap version gave me time to mull over my race experience. The positives were that the riverside section of the route was sensational and the marshals were consistently excellent, issuing loud, clear instructions.

The finish area was pretty but chaotic, with runners forced to queue at stalls to put their goody bags together themselves, and dip their commemorative mugs into buckets for post-race water.

Add to this the £1 fee for checking bags in, £10 for a massage and a £25 entry fee, and the overall feeling was one of being slightly short-changed. Tweaks would make this race the event it deserves to be, but in the meantime it's a decent spring run for those who are prepared to overlook its limitations.

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Starting and finishing at Denbies Wine Estate, this course loops around the foot of the Surrey Hills, passing through Norbury Park.