Sunday March 3rd, 2019
I will admit from the start of this report that this wasn’t one of my best or favourite runs so I’ll apologise now if I put people off from running it. I will try to be as objective as possible, but it’s hard when you really didn’t enjoy it.
Race numbers were not sent out before the day and runners needed to arrive at the race HQ between 7 and 7.30am to collect them with the race then starting at 8am. The race HQ consisted of a couple of gazebos for race number collection and a couple for baggage drop and nothing else. No changing facilities or anywhere to get hot drinks. There were a small amount of porta loos and luckily the park itself had pretty good toilet facilities about ½ mile away.
The Thames Riverside 20 is run by Eventrac on behalf of the Clapham Chasers running club. It starts and finishes at Bishops Park between Putney Bridge and Fulham football ground in London and you run along the Thames Towpath to Richmond and back. The route is flat and when I say flat it’s even flatter than running around Peterborough if you can believe it! But the paths are at times very uneven. The route, although traffic free is not closed to other users so we had to get past; walkers, dogs (for some reason no-one seemed to have dogs on leads?) other runners, cyclists and rowers. The route takes you past a lot of rowing clubs, it’s where the annual boat race takes place. Due to rain the going was rather muddy, you probably could have worn trail shoes and been fine.
Clapham Chasers had provided pacers but only up to 10 minute miles, so any slower than that you were on your own. The pacers weren’t a bad idea, but did mean you ended up with large clumps of runners on what was sometimes a narrow footpath. Once past the 3 to 4 mile mark the runners had spread out more and it ended up at times feeling like a solo training run.
Once over the finish line, we were given a race bag which had a Clapham Chasers fleecy headband (which was miles too big!), a water bottle and some gels. They did have a rather large table of home-made cakes and for a change actually had a number of GF free ones, yum yum! But once baggage was picked up I ended up getting changed in the park toilets as there were no other facilities. It was also starting to get really busy as the park is on route to Fulham football club who were hosting Chelsea that day.
Not so good Points
All in all, I personally wouldn’t do that race again and came away feeling that I might as well have done my own training run from home. The start was really early and necessitated an overnight stay in London which wasn’t cheap and there were no facilities at the Race HQ and for those of us who like our bling those wasn’t a medal. Plus no pacers for those of us over 10 minute miles. Also some people may like the fact that the course was really flat but my hamstrings don’t particularly like long flat runs and tend to cramp up.