This saturday gone was the first ‘proper’ running of the Thames Meander, (last year they ran a test event). So I decided to enter as there are not many marathons around in August and it was local, it started in a private school on the private Coombe estate near Kingston Hill.
The race is organised by Hermes Running who are a couple that run for Collingwood or Sutton, not 100% sure but they are local and many people would probably recognise them. They are both 100 Club members, there seems to be quite a trend of 100 club members setting up their own marathons at the moment. I had to send a begging email two weeks ago as they were sold out, thankfully they said they would help me out.
There was free tea and coffee at the start with good changing facilities. Unfortunately as it’s a girls school the men got to understand how long the women have to wait in the bathroom line as there were no urinals to keep the mens line down.
Race started a little late as happy birthdays were done and a few other announcements. My plan for the day was the same as Sailsbury, kick in around 7:30’s as a supported training run. When we did start we went out of the school and made our way through ladderstile gate into Richmond park, heading towards Petersham gate. As these were down hill miles I wasn’t too concerned at my pace being more 6:30 than 7:30 but then when we hit the flat by the river I fell into stride with another guy and we chatted away at about 7:05-7:10’s ish. I was enjoying it and not really looking at my watch much at this stage, the route once at the river was out to Putney bridge and then turn round and back again. After a quick nip behind a tree for a toilet break a fell into step with another guy who was a bit of an expert on nutrition so we had a good chat from about mile 6 through to mile 17. Unfortunately I needed to nip behind a tree again so lost my chatty friend as he went on and two others passed by me. At this stage, although already knowing that I was going a little quicker than I had planned I knew I was in 7th spot so I got a little bit excited and decided to put my foot down a little. Didn’t take long to catch up the two that had passed me and then I saw the guy I was chatting to ahead, so continued on with roughly 6:45-6:50 miling to catch him up too. I now knew I was in 4th place once I had taken him with a pleasent hello.
I knew the guy in third place was wearing a flourescent yellow top and I could see someone ahead in that colour just before a corner and then they were out of sight. Unfortunately it turned out to be a guy on a bike but it wasn’t long after that that I did see him in the distance. I decided to run hard to catch him quickly as I knew there were prizes for the top three. By mile 21 I had overtaken him but needed to pop into the public toilets in Richmond which meant he overtook me again. He had clearly gone out too quickly and it didn’t take me long to catch him when we got back into Richmond park. Then by about mile 24 I saw a chap wearing a grey sleveless top and I knew the fella in second was wearing a similar top, I didn’t think this could be him as he would have had to had crashed pretty hard for me to catch him and with the amount of joggers out I assumed it was just a jogger. However as I got on his shoulder and had a look at his front he was wearing a number and I had therefore moved into second place. I then toddled home for the last two miles feeling pretty good and happy about a second place finish. I knew first was well ahead and had heard him at the start talking about his aim for a sub 2:40 marathon this year!
2nd prize was a little trophy, some home made brownies and a £10 voucher for run to live in Ashtead. Not bad.
The entry fee was, I think, £26 and that was great value for money! Free tea, coffee and squash at the start. Loads of aid stations with water, squash, jelly babies, bananas and buddles of GU gels! Then at the finish showers, more tea, coffee, squash or milk (first time I’ve had milk straight after a race but it was fantastic and really hit the spot as it was ice cold!). If that wasn’t enough also included was free spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread and sponge pudding to finish, unusaul for me but I skipped the food as don’t like eating too soon after running.
Overall a really good race, good value and I’d do it again. A great medal too.