If you live in South West London, you’re pretty spoilt when it comes to 10ks and half marathons. We know because we’ve done most of them. Strangely we didn’t get a chance to take part in the inaugural Salomon event last year though, no idea why. But ho-hum, we were free this year, and based on the response from the 2015 event we were looking forward to it quite a bit.
Richmond, as we’ve probably said on more than one occasion, is our favourite spot for running in London. You’ve got the river, you’ve got the parks, you’ve got the architecture – it’s pretty much a runner’s dream location. Not a bad place to get a bite to eat and a pint afterwards either.
Half marathons around London can be a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes you end up winding in and out of industrial areas, or waiting to cross roads as marshals attempt to halt the traffic. Richmond is a bit of an exception though, rarely have we had anything bad to say about a race there.
So yeah, we had quite high hopes for this one.
The start time was pretty early, with the 10k route of the course kicking of at 8am and the half following at 8.30. Sure, it means you have to get up a bit earlier, but to be honest finishing a half marathon by 10.30 on a Sunday is a really nice treat. Not only have you done a race, but you have the whole day ahead of you. Hell, unless we’re running we’re pretty much in bed until lunchtime on a Sunday, eating biscuits and watching Beverly Hills Cop, more often than not.
The weather was perfect, considering the day before had gone from an idyllic spring morning to an endless downpour. The upshot did however mean that the course was strewn with mud and puddles, something we didn’t think about when we decided to wear our fancy new trainers.
The route was very nicely planned out. A full 13.1 mile course taking runners past Kew Gardens, Richmond, Twickenham and Ham before heading back to Old Deer Park along the Thames. If, like us, you’re the kind of runner that likes nice scenery and things to look at along the way, you’re in for a treat with this one. No boring laps or double-backs across car packs. Just greenery and damn nice views across the river.
It was a largely flat race, save for a few undulating areas which caused only a slight bit of pain. As we said the difficulty was based on the muddy riverside tracks which meant keeping an eye on the ground to make sure we didn’t slip over as we swerved in and out of pedestrians and cyclists coming in the opposite direction. The only really tricky bit was the relentless last kilometre which saw runners making their way across the grass in Old Deer Park; the finish line a deceptively long way into the distance.
Organisation for the race was spot on. There were loads of toilets, the baggage and race collection areas were well manned and they even had a little secure area for putting your phone and wallet in. As for the goody bag at the end, it was an absolute beast. Supplied mainly by the team over at Whole Foods Market Richmond – we almost didn’t have a full English breakfast afterwards. Almost.
The quick review:
Terrain: Road/Trails (muddy)
Supporters: A hundred or so at the finish line. The majority of the course was empty.
Goody Bag: Technical T-shirt, medal, popcorn, Bounce Ball, an Aloe Vera drink, some cucumber flavoured water, Pip & Nut, flavoured soya nuts (mostly from Whole Foods Market)
For more information about the Salomon Half Marathon and 10k, nip over to the website here.
Picture Credits: Perseverance Events (map)