• Cost: £35

  • Terrain: Flat Paths

  • Course Map: Strava

  • Entries: 3,696

  • 2019 Results: CLICK HERE

  • Start: TW9 3AB

Organisation 100%
Route 100%
Atmosphere 90%
PB Potential 90%
Value 85%

Kew Gardens 10K

Review by Simon Linklater

The perfect race!

If I’m being honest, which I’m sure you know by now, I always am, it wasn’t my intention to run the Kew Gardens 10K. I’d booked a nearby hotel in the hope to run the Richmond Marathon on the Sunday. It was sold out! I’m glad it was.

It was an early start on a beautiful September morning, not a cloud in the sky and the sunshine keeping us warm pre race. I made the short trip from my hotel to the Elizabeth Gate entrance where the runners and spectators were flocking in, making the most of the free entrance to Kew Gardens.

I had plenty of time to warm up before my wave got going at 8.33am. This was a new experience for me. The Richmond Runfest had grouped runners in waves based on their projected starting times. So anyone expecting to run sub 50 went off at 8.30am in the first wave. Then 50 – 55 minutes in Wave 2 and so on. From my own experience this worked perfectly and was organised with precision. Great work!!

It was also crucial to the success of the race as the paths around Kew Gardens are probably only wide enough for 4 runners, often making over taking tricky. But surrounded by runners going at your pace it wasn’t an issue.

The course itself was great. What a stunning location to run. Weaving around the gardens taking in the sites. Visiting giant greenhouses, if that’s what they are (forgive my ignorance), isn’t really my thing, but they make a nice backdrop when you’re grinding away for a decent time.

There were quite a few twists and turns but again nothing to really slow you down. It was almost dead flat. In fact there were times we ran down a gentle slope and I was expecting a hill later on to compensate. Bizarrely it never came.

The support on the course was excellent. Given the way it was set up you pass the start area again around 2km offering spectators the perfect opportunity to cheer on their loved ones. Plus my favourite addition to a race, drummers. I bloody love them. Chuck in a couple of dudes (or dudettes) dressed up in bear costumes, dishing out hi fives and what more could you ask for in terms of support?

There’s no denying we were lucky with the weather. Hardly a breath of wind, still nice and cool given the time of day and the sun lifting our spirits. Had it been pissing with rain and blowing a hoolie perhaps my enthusiasm would have wilted a little, but who’s to say.

My own performance was the icing on the cake. I hadn’t turned up expecting, or even hoping for a PB, but as the race progressed and my splits were decent, I knew I had a chance. Striding alongside runners my pace and with the support of the crowd really spurred me on and I was ecstatic when I crossed the line in 52:07, 22 seconds quicker than my previous best.

So what of the medal? After the disappointment of the cheap tat given to me at Battle 2 weeks ago, the medal here was excellent, one of the best I’ve received. We also got handed a goody bag and a race t-shirt, nike of course. Only the best here at Richmond.

I’ve told myself whenever I have a bad race, or the weather is grim, just remember this day and how great running can make me feel.

The Kew Gardens 10K rockets to the top of my list and is now my favourite race!

I’ll be back, perhaps next year less selfies and some actual photos of the gardens. #nobhead

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