Thames Meander

Next Race: 12/03/2022

Tom Sheldon Published: 11/11/2021
Title: Compares poorly to other half marathons

I also wrote a review but it hasn't appeared yet.

Basically I agree with everything the reviewer says in the post entitled 'GREAT ROUTE, REALLY POOR FACILITIES AND SUPPORT'

I've done about 8 half marathons and this was by far the worst of them. The organisation at the start was pretty good with plenty of pins and labels and pens etc.  And the scenery was nice, along the Thames for almost the whole thing.  But there's not much else good to say. Hardly any water stations. No mile markers! Not enough toilets which meant lots of runners were late to start the race as they were still queuing. Poor PA system with a half-hearted announcer meant there was no pre-race atmosphere. Very few stewards until the halfway point where there was a Captain Mainwairing type shouting 'turn round now' - gee thanks for the encouragement! Cheap lightweight medal and no t-shirt. At the finish line there were no refreshments, literally nothing! - eventually someone told me I could go and get something from a table on the route the other side of the trees. And maybe worst of all, the route wasn't even properly measured and it clocked in at 13.45 miles. Several others have corroborated that. 

A good race has - at the very least - a marker at every mile, hot drinks and food at the finish, more marshalls/loos, a water/ribena station every 3-4 miles and a correctly calculated distance. A really good race has atmosphere to begin with and t-shirt to show off until you do the next one.

All told it was a bit anti-climax and I didn't feel well looked after. It just felt a bit amateurish and cheap - yet we paid full price for entry.  Maybe there's a reason for that but it didn't seem fair. I won't take part in this one again.

Published: 09/11/2021
Title: Great route, really poor facilities and support

I wrote a review but it hasn't appeared, presumably because it was negative. Hopefully this will get by the moderators. 

The Thames Meander Nov 2021 was my first marathon but while I don't have any other marathons to compare it to I've run plenty of shorter distances that were all significantly better organised. The route is great - scenic and flat - but other than that there's not much positive to say unfortunately. 

- Marshalling was limited and for long stretches of the route non-existent. Some people who I *think* were marshals because they were giving directions weren't wearing anything at all that identified them as race officials, no hi-viz vest, badge, hat, nothing. 

- signage was pretty basic / minimal with no mile markers and fairly awful in the Canbury garden turnaround section, the route there was just confusing, especially because we had to run a figure of eight which meant runners having to take evasive action so as not to collide. 

- aid stations were 5/6 miles apart at least for some sections. The emails beforehand did at least warn us of that so I wore a hydration pack and carried several gels with me - I felt really sorry for anyone who'd missed that info and was relying on stations for fuel though.

- the PA system at the start was totally inadequate. I wasn't even at the back of the pack and couldn't hear a word.

- there were seven toilets plus some urinals to cover several hundred runners which is just ridiculous - no toilets along the route either. The queue meant loads of people missed the start time. 

- some of the food at the end was past its best-before date. That's pretty gross.

- the "bag drop" was just some tarpaulins on the ground with no-one manning it or checking numbers and no protection from rain (fortunately it was dry but if it'd rained then everyone's change of clothes would have got soaked)

- medal was fairly underwhelming and there were no other freebies whatsoever, no T-shirt, no bag, nothing. 

- race photography was minimal or non-existent. I saw one person with a camera once, but it's several days after the event and I've had no emails about it. I didn't even get an email with my result either! 

- finally the last section of the route, where you have to run past the finish line for a mile for the final Canbury garden loop, is just cruel. I knew it was coming so was at least prepared but it's still psychologically horrible to be running *away* from the finish line at mile 24. Why not just extend the route down the river a bit further so that section isn't necessary on the return? 

That's probably enough. Quite honestly I've got no idea what my entrance fee went on. Wouldn't recommend this event to anyone.

 

Josh Harrison Published: 08/11/2021
Title: Health and safety

At 36km we noticed a runner collapsing and struggling to breathe.  We sat with him and gave our water, food, gels and extra layers to help him to raise his temperature and get back to normal.

We called the organiser for first aid 3 times and had to wait a full hour before anyone arrived. When the paramedic arrived they were ill equipped, had no electrolytes or even a foil blanket. They did nothing to help the athlete besides help him to stand up after a passerby happened to have a bottle of lucasade which brought him back to normal. Because we had to wait over an hour, our muscles were then too sore and there was not enough time to complete the marathon. 

We later found out that the athlete had called for first aid 30 minutes before we arrived and in total waited 1.5 hours for professional  help. 

We spoke with the organiser after the event who said he didn't think he would need to hire more paramedics as this "hadn't happened  for a while", I could only assume that this has happened  before? 

This is a huge health and safety issue and also cost my and my wife's opportunity  to complete the event.

 

Published: 08/11/2021
Title: Frustrating lack of food or calorie laden drink at the end

I was very surprised there was no food or drink (besides water) offered at the end. I refused to use the coffee van out of principle and walked a mile to the nearest shop. My 32st marathon. First time there's been nothing on offer at the end.

Andy Stringer Published: 08/11/2021
Title: thames meander

hi yes very good race nice n flat. well manned and enough water stations  

steve Smith Published: 08/11/2021
Title: Thames Meander

Good course but woefully inadequate water stations. I appreciate that this is noted in the race instructions, but why so few? The first station was at 6 miles, and the second station at the turnaround point poorly signed and badly positioned (do you want runners to stop on the hair pin?) A bottle ow water at the end is a basic requirement, but nothing unless you walk back to the course 50 meters from the finish to collect a cup! Not sure I saw any medical support either?

Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: Fantastic time
This is now the 4th time I have run this race. It's becoming on of my favourite half's of the year. Friendly runners and I always love the set up by hermes running. A bit of a mud bath at some points in the race, I learned from my 2 nd race to wear trail running shoes. Overall loved it and have already booked for the "tri series" and to finish off I got a pb.
Paul Forsyth 
Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: Flat but not my favourite
we travelled from Wales on the day for this race, well organised and on time the course was nice and flat.
however, due to the weather it was pretty muddy and slippery which slowed you down. The worst part of the race had to be the last 1.9 miles. Despite knowing you had to do it, arriving back at the start line and then passing it and having to run back is not nice. Surely the extra distance could be made up going out. Aid stations not overly stocked compared to many races we have been on. Not a race I would do again
Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: Thanks but one suggestion!
Thanks, day was great, I would only say it would have been improved if the cup bins had been like 50m down the track so people didn't have to choose between carrying the cup for a few km or waiting til it was finished to throw it away I appreciate it would have made emptying them a bit more effort, but it would have improved things notably for me. Thanks anyway, what were those Trailwind Chia bars you had on the stalls?

Kind regards,
Laurie 
Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: 21st marathon!
I enjoyed the course up & down the river, lovely to see the boats. There were lots of very friendly fellow runners! If I could change one thing it would be the last 2 miles. Would it be possible to extend the run further up the river to avoid the last loop? Overall a great event
Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: A Half-Marathon for Runners who love running!!
I absolutely love this super relaxed and friendly Half-Marathon. This is my second time of running the Thames Meander Half Marathon and it was better than ever! Great organisation and a gorgeous route right along the beautiful River Thames and a fabulous atmosphere! This really is a Marathon for people who love running! Totally unpretentious, flat, muddy as hell and a great bit of silverware to add to the collection!  What's not to love!
Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: Fantastic Run, well organised, great atmosphere!
Thanks to Hermes running - This was a very well organised race! Great support and lovely medal (could have done with more finish line goodies for the price of the run). Plenty of drink stops along the way with very friendly and encouraging volunteers.

The route was clearly sign posted and the course was flat making it a PB potential run. It was pretty muddy (can't be helped with a downfall the night before) and narrow for some of it and it was unfortunate that there was a regatta on at the same time causing a bit of congestion. I had a near miss of tripping over a dog but fortunately we all came out alive! All the other runners were fantastic with everyone egging and cheering each other on along the way!

I managed my goal of getting a good for age time for London Marathon 2019 so overall, thanks a million for a great race!

Kathryn :)
Anonymous Published: 12/12/2017
Title: Always a top race
Lovely race, as always, a very slick well organised event, fantastic aid stations. Super medal. Highly recommend this in any season.
Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: Not an ideal one for a PB
This is the third time I race in a hm. I felt there weren’t enough water stations and that bottles would have been better than cups. There were not mile markings and it was very disappointing at the end when you thought you were arriving at the finish line but then you had to go pass it and back again. Too many runners in a narrow route and also having to navigate through rowing boats stopping you, cars driving way too close to you, etc.. I won’t be doing this one again. 
Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: Thames meander
Was hoping for a PB on this race but unfortunately due to feeling incredibly sick at almost half way I struggled.  This had never happened in previous marathons. Luckily the route was so beautiful as I had to walk a lot,  something I never do in races or when training.


I would have liked toilets en route as I had to take in more water to try and help my sickness.
I would do this marathon again despite my saying "never again". 
The other competitors were amazing and looked out for each other, encouraging each other along the way.
Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: Friendly low-key but well organised
This was the 3rd time I've taken part in the Half Marathon of the Thames Meander and I have to say it's one of the friendliest events I've had the pleasure of taking part in. 
David Ross the race director a runner himself caters for all your running  needs he's spot on with health and safety and the Aid stations have everything from water to gels and all sorts of tasty treats to keep you going.
This is my local event and I know the route well so I don't really need to pay to run there but there's nothing like a bit of race bling to reward you for your efforts and I have to say the medal I got from Hermes Running was spectacular.
Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: Great race
A really good race as always from Hermes Running. I missed a bottle of water at the end to put into my recovery drink though. Bit annoyed that the on line results are still not up more than 24 hours after the end.
Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: Race review
Was running to support a colleague on her first Half marathon as  our club motto is 'no one runs alone ' - aim was just to finish  so time irrelevant - objective achieved !
Ideal terrain for her first one - loved the route - although we did feel it was always us who were moving over to allow oncoming runners to pass - not all runners have the same ethos! 
The volunteers at the water stations were great - very encouraging and friendly.

Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: A great run
Fantastic, friendly race. Wonderfully organised. Great value for money. Towpath being a quagmire added to the fun. Couple of downsides: scheduled against a Head race so towpath filled with parents and boats making it difficult to get through at times and the last section is soul destroying as you run back passing the finish at 24 miles for another mile before coming back to it again.
Anonymous Published: 16/08/2017
Title: Thames Meander Marathon (Spring `18)
This was the second event I have taken part in, organised by Hermes Running.
As before, my experience of the race was all and all really positive.

The positives:

- very well stocked aid stations
- fantastic marshal support
- great pre/after race atmosphere
- good communication from the organisers
- adequate toilets/changing facilities  

The negatives:

- 10am start, this time seems a little too late for a marathon start, but I realise that an earlier start is not always possible
- Plastic cups. Why do you need to make use of plastic, when there are so many fantastic other options are available? Sadly i have seen a lot of people discarding their plastic next to the river, which undoubtedly will end up in the river. I would suggest banning the use of cups and encouraging people to use their own bottles, hydration packs, soft cups just like most trail races do.
- Not sure where to find my results. It's been almost 48 hours and I still can't access my results.

I will certainly sign up for more of these events, due to its size and atmosphere. 




Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: Thames Meander with a dolphin
Great run organised by Dave Ross out along the banks of the River Thames from Kingston towards Fulham and back - when you see Fulham FC across the river that’s half way with all the friendly marshals usually Donna and Richard !
We were treated to an unusual visitor on Saturday when a dolphin decided to swim upstream with the runners heading back past Richmond - it brought lots of people to rush and photograph this very rare sight !

Good race atmosphere and stocked aid stations with gels were a fantastic part of the day 

I’ll be back !

gaz


Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: For my first marathon it was an excellent experience
I must admit I was very apprehensive as I was not well before the race . This had an impact on my training . I went into the race not sure whether I would finish or not . I felt very supported by the other runners who were also finding the last 10 km hard as I did . I knew then I would just get on with it knowing I had to walk some of it . The stations were fabulous so supportive and eager to ensure I was well hydrated . This race has inspired me to do further marathons in the future 
Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: My amazing 1st half
I started running just over a year ago with mates and became hooked and yes a week before my 53rd birthday I ran my 1st half in two hours 41 mins ... quicker then my training times ... I was so happy and chuffed that I achieved something so hard in a short time and my fellow runners Diane, Adele and Siobhan supported me all the way and helped me so much with my training and there encouragement kept me going ... for someone who drove her car everywhere and smoked I now feel running is a big part of my life ... paula chillingworth 
Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: The Thames half
it was a good race although it was at least  0.5 km long.
I would suggest they stage the runners to avoid bunching at start of the race
Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: Possibly a PB (almost)
I enjoyed this flat, well-organised trot alongside the Thames yesterday. However I would really have valued mile markers for pacing and motivation. I understand that this would be complex with an out-and-back course and a marathon running at the same time. I am also not sure about the accuracy of the distance total. My GPS overestimated it which took away the PB that my device gave me. So although I enjoyed the run, my satisfaction is a mixed bag overall.
Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: Husband and wife ran in the Thames Meander event.
Graham Webster ran the half Marathon and Andrea ran the full Marathon on 4th November. This was the first trail event we had done as previously we had done road events. Andrea came first in her age category W55 (4.17.01) and Graham came first in his age category M60 (1.51.16). So a husband and wife double, not bad for our first Hermes event.
Our overall feedback for the organisation of the event was very positive. Great venue. Efficient registration. We were disappointed that our fellow athletes didn't give more respect to the race director at the start of the races, where there was constant chatter and little attention paid to the important pre race instructions.
Great that you could get the chip time print out straight away. We will be back in 2018.
Anonymous Published: 02/09/2016
Title: Lane's Second Marathon at Thames Meander
Having completed the Manchester Marathon in April this year; followed by text book 'reverse taper' followed by good training I entered the Thames Marathon, as I wanted a new challenge, and looked forward to running by the Thames as I studied in London when a school boy, many years ago.
Following a DNF at the Lacock Abbey on a very hot day in June 2017 I changed the plan to the 'Half' but after good support at my Running Club in Bournemouth (Harriers) and a successful Long Half in Bath with Relish Running I reverted to the 'Full' thanks to the lovely flexibility shown by the Race Director.
Having stayed nearby on the Friday evening, my good friend gave me a lift to the YMCA Hawker Start, nervous about whether I would finish the Run. I was well hydrated and 'carb loaded, and, following a prayer (being brought up Irish Catholic), the run started.  I intended to run at 10 minute miles and then 'smash' it, as runners say, in the last 5K.  These plans were jettisoned, as the increasing heat, the demanding surface, a mixture of stones, mud, tree roots, took their toll.
However, I was able to keep going and London was a beautiful sight in the sun; the bridges, houses, pubs and rowing HQ's.  The Food Stations were brilliant, very well staffed by the Purley Cadets and the crisps helped me to keep salt levels up.
As the Run continued I noticed many runners had been forced by falls to walk the route, and I kept saying : 'Lane: watch the Floor.  since I am quite clumsy, being 6 foot three inches tall, with dyspraxia and age 62.  The 'Ave Maria' was a good mantra to recite, along with the old MUFC chant: 'Attack, attack, attack attack, attack' to drive me home
Mile 23 and Mile 26 were very hard, but i managed a good time of 4:45, so it was a good training run for the October Marathon in my home town of Bournemouth.  When the finish was completed a sign of the cross was made, then back to my friends house and then dinner in a Brazilian Restaurant in Wimbledon.  It was a great day, proud and emotional.