On Sunday I ran the Richmond Marathon. The event starts at 8 am with a 5 mile loop through Kew Gardens, before heading onto the Thames Path through Richmond to Kingston upon Thames for an out and back stretch before crossing the river for another out and back to Hampton Court Palace, and then finishing in Richmond Old Deer Park.
There had been weather warnings all week, and the race organisers were encouraging people to adjust their targets or drop down to the half marathon distance. As we assembled on the start line for the race briefing the Race Director again encouraged runners to assess their condition at the 10 mile point, where there is an opportunity to take a short loop back to Richmond on the HM route. He assured people if they did this they could still collect a Half Marathon medal rather than a marathon DNF. The briefing also mentioned extra water and aid stations were on the course, with sprinkler / showers etc.
We set off at 8, and it was relatively cool for the first few miles, running under the tree cover, so i settled into a comfortable pace. My main goal was to use the event as a final long run before Spartathlon on 30 September, so the heat was a welcome addition as it would better simulate conditions in Athens. I had no real target in mind, other than to practice my nutrition plan, but thought 3:20 should be possible.
At Richmond, the Thames Path loses it’s shady cover, and i was now running in the sun, and it was warming up nicely. The half way point is in Kingston upon Thames, and i went through in 1:39, feeling fine and hitting my nutrition target (100g carbs per hour). After crossing the river, from mile 15 to 20 you run on the Thames Path to Hampton Court and back in full sun, and the temperature had climbed from warm to hot. It was 27C in the shade, but there was no shade. Runners were struggling in the heat, and the pace around me noticeably dropped.
While I felt fine it also seemed sensible to slow a little, as this was not about running a PB.
At mile 22 the HM and marathon routes merge, so the path was a lot busier, and i was stuck behind the 2:15 pace bus for a while. We also got held up by a couple of medical emergencies – runners collapsing in the heat and being attended to by paramedics and the ambulance service.
I crossed the line in 3:26:18. The finish area looked like a field hospital, with a lot of people struggling with heat exhaustion. The race was later stopped on the advice of the emergency services who were nearly overwhelmed by the number of collapsed runners. I believe the temperature hit 30C again, but by then i was drinking an iced coffee and heading home.
If you remember London Marathon in 2018, Richmond was hotter, and the organisers less able to cope.
Nonetheless there were some impressive times:
p.s. If you’ve made it this far, well done. Perhaps you’d consider sponsoring my Spartathlon. I’m running for a Ukrainian charity, to help those affected by the war.
page/david-barker- 1692543846611?utm_medium= fundraising&utm_content=page% 2Fdavid-barker-1692543846611& utm_source=copyLink&utm_ campaign=pfp-share