A unique race that starts in Kew Gardens, you zig-zag through the park and even pass the famous Great Pagoda. After this you continue on the towpath along the Thames. The course follows the towpath until Teddington Lock and then turns around to pass Ham house and to end in the Old Deer Park.
The half marathon start at 9, so you need to get one of the first tube trains to get to Kew Gardens with still some time to spare for bag drop and loo queues. Picking up my bib was very easy and fast and so was bag drop off. Loo queues took a bit longer, but we managed to get to the start on time.
At the start it was a bit chaotic and it wasn’t very clear which starting wave was about to start, so Moosenshoes and I missed our starting wave and just decided to take the next one. The first three miles or so goes through Kew Gardens. The path there isn’t that wide, so it’s a bit crowded and I often had to run on the grass (yes, I did make sure to avoid all other plants).
When you get onto the towpath there isn’t that much space either and the surface is uneven, so you have to pay attention to where you put your feet. Plus, the towpath is still open to other traffic. And the last mile is a loop over the grass of the Old Deer Park, which is frustrating because you can already see the finish festival while you still need to do that loop! With all this in mind, you really shouldn’t be aiming for a PB during this race, but the course and the atmosphere are great.
The first 10k went pretty well for me, although my 10k time was 5 minutes slower than my current PB, because I had to watch my footing and it is hard to pass people on the towpath, especially when there also is the occasional cyclist to take into account. I was happy with the Lucozade I got around the 11k mark, because by then it became harder for me to eat energy bloks, so I really needed some sugar. The last 5k were tough, because I was having stomach pains and was running out of energy. Since this was my first half marathon race, I didn’t really know how my body would cope. I did run the distance before in training, but that just isn’t the same as racing the distance. Since I also did not have a race time to compare it to, I set a goal of sub 3 hours. I finished in 2:55:47! Not bad for a course that isn’t very fast.