We’ve said it before and we’ll no doubt say it again. South West London is a hell of a nice place to go running. You’ve got some of the best parks in London, arguably the nicest bit of the Thames, amazing buildings, and if it’s a post run-run brunch you’re looking for then you’re spoilt for choice. So you can kind of see why we were so excited when this new race popped up in the race listings. The fact it’s not far from where we’re based is just a bonus. So yeah, we were quite looking forward to this race.
In a race’s inaugural year you kind of expect a few problems, especially when it takes place in a busy town centre, and to be honest a large issue was down to a number of trains being cancelled from Central London; the upshot being that people turned up pretty close to the start time. That alone would have been okay, however twin that with a lack of available toilets close to the start line and you end up with a pretty long queue – and you know how important we think toilets are for the success of a race.
But enough about toilets. The major problem we found with the event was space. The race village was situated on a relatively thin road, with the course running either side of it, not an issue in the later stages of the race as the field spread out, however at the start and in the first lap it meant a noticeable amount of bottle-necking, made worse by the fact that a lot of the faster runners that needed the toilet were quite far back.
The course itself was lapped, which we’re never that keen on, but if you are going to do a lapped race then there are less scenic places to do it. A nice surprise popped up when we realised that the third lap took us out from the first two onto the other side of the river. A welcome touch that made a big difference in any monotony (note:- laps aren’t necessarily a bad thing, just not our bag).
Yeah, there were a lot nice bits to the race. A lapped event in a town centre means crowds can easily access the course. The roads were lined with the smiling, waving faces of supporters – really nice supporters in fact. The marshals were a great bunch, one even bounced around the road dancing as we went past. There were loads of water stations, and the final section taking us past the Thames is a damn fine place to end a race. Add to that one of the most impressive goody bags we’ve ever seen and you can kind of forget some of the earlier problems.
As we said, the first year of any race is a chance to fine-tune the details, and with a few updates the Run The Streets Kingston Half could be a really nice addition to the race calendar. If you’re fast, just make sure you plan to get there early though, just in case.
The quick review:
Terrain: Road (about a kilometere of track beside the Thames)
Route: Mainly town centre and roads
Supporters: A few hundred
Goody Bag: Juice, protein balls, dried fruit, water, Popchips
How many runners: Over 1,100
For more information about the event or to find out the results from the 2016 race, nip over to the website here.
Picture credit: The Kingston Half Marathon (map)