I completed the Richmond RunFest Half Marathon in 2017 and enjoyed it, despite my terrible race-day organisation and then losing my pacing.
I wanted to try again but the Half Marathon takes place early on a Sunday, with no public transport available to get me there on time. However the Kids Mile, Family Mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon take place over two days, with the Kew Gardens 10K scheduled for the Saturday – much easier.
I signed up for the Kew Gardens 10K online for £38 and bought a Nike technical event t-shirt at the same time for just £7.99. My shoe timing chip and bib number with baggage tag arrived in the post a few weeks prior to the event, and there were plenty of informative emails and an online guide to refer to.
So on Saturday 14th September I caught the 6:09am train from Tonbridge to Kew Bridge, arriving at around 7:30. I made my way to Kew Gardens and joined a small queue to the entrance of Elizabeth Gate, where security personnel were checking bags. The queue moved quickly and once inside Kew Gardens it was a short walk to the clearly-marked baggage conservatory. It was arranged by surname initial, so I attached my tag to my bag and handed my belongings over to a volunteer under letter P. The process was quick and easy with no queuing, and then it was back out towards the start line. I saw plenty of signs for toilets but luckily didn’t need to make use of any.
The starting pens were clearly labelled, and I joined the second wave pen at around 8am. There was an event warm-up before the first wave set off at 8:30, and then my wave followed three minutes later.
I was wearing USA Pro lycra shorts under Nike Dry-Fit shorts, Nike technical event t-shirt, USA Pro sports bra, Nike headband, and black 1000 Mile trainer socks with Brooks Launch 5s, resulting in a comfortable outfit. It was about 20C I think – warm but not too muggy, so good running conditions. I’d consumed a Beanies coffee, Oat So Simple porridge, banana, Fibre One cereal bar and a Chai Latte, and felt good and ready to go.
I really enjoyed this event. I started off on top form, running well and feeling strong, but then started to flag a little and felt like I was running slowly in the second half. The 50-minute pacer overtook me and then I lost sight of it, but tried not to let that affect me and just enjoyed the run. I can finish a 10K in anywhere between 51-58minutes and timing doesn’t really bother me too much. The route was varied, interesting, and the scenery was beautiful.
I had a Rasperry Ripple Torq energy gel around mile 7 which was delicious, and there was a water station en route. There were groups of supporters at various points on the course, along with friendly marshals, and the finish line was rammed with spectators, which was lovely. Overall there was a nice, bustling atmosphere and I crossed the finish line feeling good.
The finish funnel was well organised with volunteers handing out heavy bespoke medals and snipping the timing tag from all runners’ shoes. I was handed a goody bag and bottle of water, and picked up a bespoke Nike finishers’ t-shirt in my size from a row of tables. The goody bag contained a bottle of Lucozade, Graze Box, Kind cereal bar, Ariel washing tablet, Lenor laundry scents, and vouchers for various companies.
Photographers offered to take pictures of runners with their medals against a bespoke backdrop, and there were various charity stations dotted around. I made my way back to the baggage conservatory and picked up my bag quickly without queuing, then exited the event and made my way home with ease.
An automatic text message came through to confirm that I had crossed the finish line in 50minutes, which is an all-time personal best! I was really happy – and surprised! It’s the quickest I’ve ever run 6.2miles. As I’ve said many times before, it’s never been about time for me, but this year I’ve been collecting PBs left right and centre, and it’s a really good feeling. Seven years of running and hard work is finally paying off!
I’m really glad I took part in the Kew Gardens 10K. The price was definitely worth it and it’s another event crossed off the list! I’d recommend it to anyone and would take part again. 😊
NEXT UP – Tunbridge Wells Hospice In The Weald 10K, Sunday 22 September