Thames Meander Marathon

Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

I have run this race a couple of years ago. But they have now changed the route so it is all along the river.

I am not sure of this as 10 o'clock on Saturday morning is quite busy with cyclists and walkers anyway. It is a small field of 300 though.  What do people think? Who is signing up for this one?



  • Never run a marathon before and after a few half's scheduled for Aug/Sept am looking for a beginner friendly 1.  This sounds good except for the last little bit all uphill.  Seems nice and relaxed as well which is appealing. 

    I think this one goes in the "if halfs go very well category". Fingers crossed.

  • I did it last year and the worst section of the course was the half-way point which was on a bridge across the river - the paths alongside the river had been fine up to then, but the bridge itself was a nightmare with tourists and football fans and the like. If having more of the race beside the river cures this then I'd be in favour of it!

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the replies. It does seem a good marathon; but very different to the two I have run. And it is at the time of year I would like to run another marathon, and it is local to me.

    How have people found a small marathon as opposed to a 'big' marathon? Both of the ones I have run have been well-supported. Does it make a lot of difference running without the crowds? I really got a boost from the well-wishers and don't know if I could do as well as I did without them.

  • Hi Kathy H

    I am doing this as a training run for an ultra along the Thames path but I have not done it before.  If you need the crowds you might struggle but you will not know until you tried it as its a very personal thing.  I hated every second of the London Marathon but many people think it is one of the best in the world.

    I find the constant noise tiring and distracting.  I  prefer the occasional encouragement of smaller events - you do get some normally.  My biggest worries about this one are the dogs, children on scooters, texting pedestrians you may have to run around.  If the sun shines it could be busy (glad shazza 3 found it ok on the path) but I will still be hoping for light occasional drizzle.

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    Hi Jucumari

    Thanks for your reply; you made some good points. You are right that I will just have to try it and see.image

  • Hi there, I am thinking of running this too. It would be my second marathon - though my first was over seven years ago so I feel like a newbie. 

    I am a bit worried about the smallness of the field. And also the bit in the FAQ recommending trail shoes if the weather means the course might be muddy. I don't own any and only ever run on road. Does anyone have any experience running the route in November?

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    I have entered the marathon, and it is about in 16 weeks time. So I should start a training plan soon.

    It is definitely going to be a challenge, harder than my previous marathons. My two marathons have been big, well-supported by crowds, and in the Spring.

    But part of the attraction is that it will be different. And I am fairly certain that I will beat the cut-off time of six hours. image

  • Hi!

    I have entered the Summer (August) version of this and may also do the Winter version too (November). I wouldn't worry too much about trail shoes. It's mainly along the Thames Towpath, which is predominantly hard gravel. There are a few spots where it can get wet, but I would just expect it would mean running around puddles and not through them.

    I ran this race in 2012 and even with a small field and a slow time, you don't really feel by yourself. There were both slow and quick people running so I doubt anyone will be left completely alone. Plus because it's an out and back course, you have even more people around running back pass you for the first half at least.

    As it's flat, it's a fast course as well.

  • For what its worth I used the Thames Path between Richmond and Putney Bridge for marathon training in the spring, and its ok, but the path can flood a bit when tide is high. There was one section last time I did it where I had to actually leave the path and find another route around some pretty deep water.

  • Kathy we have about 400 runners for the full marathon and 350 for the half so IRO 750 in total. We've had to start the marathon at 10am as there is a Park Run scheduled for 9am starting at the YMCA too thus the later start time. All said and done the field should spread out and we'll get the racing snakes to set off at the start of the field. It'll be a great event mark my works - we're almost full now. In respect of re-route I have already got contingency measures in place. Near the Ship Pub (Thames Bank) we have an alternative route going along the pedestrian path to where the White Hart Pub is just before Barnes Bridge this will be well marshalled at both ends and marked with fixed signage. We have done everything possible to cover all eventualities.     

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    Hi David. Good to know that it is going to well organised. image

    Looking forward to the day.

  • We'll do the best we can to ensure that you all have a great experience and we have some entertainment planned at the start but you'll have to wait and find out what that is. See you all in a few weeks time.
  • This is a brilliant event and that's why the summer marathon is full up. I would deffo recommend it and am doing the summer version and reason I am on here is that I am toying with the winter run....decisions, decisions. Ahh who am I kidding.....I WILL enter !! image

  • Guys we're hoping the Summer race is nice and toasty for you this year, though the Winter one could well be rainy (though hopefully not). You can rest assured if you're doing the Summer or Winter ones (or both) that you won;t be on your own, we are at 200 + runners for the Winter one already and have nearly 800 runners for the Summer one so no more entries for this! The CP's will be very well stocked with homemade flapjacks, jelly babies, GU Gels, crisps, banana's and there will be water, fruit cordial in abundance. It's much flatter / faster this year as we won't be running through Richmond Park as per course description so all you racing snakes will be able to run like gazelles !!! See some of you in just over 2 weeks time we're really excited !!! Road shoes will be fine as long as it hasn't rained in the days leading up to the event, if so wear a less aggressive trail shoe.            

  • What is the race cut-off time? Looking to do a first marathon but worried about entering one with a short cut-off time in case it all goes wrong!

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    There is a six-hour limit. This is quite generous as most people who intend to run (or run most of the way) 26 miles can do it in that time. image

  • Hello,  if you or you know anyone who cannot use their space anymore please let me know. I need 2 places for myself and partner. Will pay the full face value. The organisers for this race are happy to transfer spaces as per their website. Many thanks for any help

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    Seventy days to the Winter Thames Meander. But best wishes to those who are running the Summer one. Hope all your times are PBs.image


  • Hi Kathy H

    thanks.  I could not get my battered feet to do sub 4h.  There is a lot of concrete, cobbles, and the gravel path is actually broken tarmac and quite rocky in places. The Richmond section around mile 20 was hot and crowded. I had near miss with a boris bike. It should be nicer in winter- less busy with meandering tourists.

    knowing the course I would wear the most cushioned shoe you are comfortable in bearing in mind that there are sections of uneven ground.  Nothing that in my mind would justify a trail shoe even the less aggressive kind.  Many trail shoes would be lethal on wet cobbles. I own several so this comment is based on experience.

    You do get to see plenty of runners due to the out and back course. I high fived several kids, cheered marathon man, chatted to various other runners.  The worst section is the last 3 miles. You run past the finish and hit a twisty narrow section of the path. However, everybody was hating it so much that we were cheering each other along.

    A London friend wants to run the winter one but I am not sure I can face another pounding.  The organisation was great and the facilities at the start/finish very comfortable. I might post a review tomorrow once my feet are less sore!

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    Hi Jucumari

    Hope your battered feet heal soon. image

    Thanks for the brief review. I thought that the course would be difficult especially in August when there are plenty of walkers/runners/cyclists to avoid. And it is cruel to have to run past the finish!

    So, despite the hardships, would you do this one again next year?

  • I ran this yesterday as a training run for Abingdon in a couple of months.

    It's pancake flat and for most of the route it was nice scenery. I didn't find the crowds too annoying but I wasn't racing all out which made it easier to dodge and weave! The organisation was generally good and all who were involved were very friendly indeed with all marshalls being very encouraging.

    My only minor gripe was the finish - it got pretty hot from Midday on and there was no water available at the finish line. There was a water station about 50yds from the finish but you had to cross back over the marathon route which resulted in a few very thirsty finishers narrowly avoiding very tired people still running. There was a lady trying to direct traffic but she was also trying to direct the people coming the other way at about mile 24 so had a lot on her plate. The station itself was struggling to keep up as their primary concern was giving water to the runners still going at mile 24. I think that an August marathon probably needs water available right at the finish.

    It didn't detract from a good, well organised race but is maybe something to think about for next time image

  • Hi Kathy H

    Mmmm probably not the summer one but I think I would like the winter one more.  With less crowds it would be easier to pick the smoother bits and hot feet are alway more sensitive.

    I have read the other reviews and it is always such a personal thing. I can't even decide which shoes would be best. Do they do a road shoe with rock plate?

    If you are anywhere near London I would do an early recce (train assisted run one way?) to test your shoe choice and so you can train on similar terrain for some of your other runs. This is assuming this is a target race for you and not a training run.

    I run with a bottle, energy powder and gels as part of the ultra training thing but if I had been aiming for a marathon pb i would have found the drink stations frustrating.  The gu gels are very thick so they need a lot of water to go with them.  The only provide water in cups although I saw bottles at the finish.  Flapjack and cake may be ideal for the back of the pack shufflers but I find it a bit of a choke hazard when racing. On a hot august day you could get yourself into a lot of trouble with either dehydration or electrolyte issues.

    However, it is all so personal. it was a harder than I needed at this stage and I did a 50k two weeks before so maybe that might have been an issue. The feet and legs seem back to normal now although I did skip the 5 mile run and went for a walk instead. I was in a very good mood at the finish despite the pain and slow time so it cannot have been that bad. Back to training tomorrow.

    Good luck with yours. You will probably post a pb and love every second of it. I might be getting fussy with age.

  • Hi,

    I would definitely recommend this race.

    I love the fact it is 10am on a Saturday so I can to it by public transport. If you don't drive Sunday races are a nightmare to get to. And it's twice a year! Not so long to wait for the next one.

    I did this race on Sunny Saturday and there was very little problems with other path users, of course there are people out and about but it didn't cause me any problems at all since the path is wide almost all the way. And it was a nice day (and bank hol weekend) so I think the winter one will also be fine since less people will be out and about.

    It's a lovely route, mixed terrain (which is always good in my book - less chance of injury), varied from gravel, tarmac, woodchip, (dry) mud, cobbles, bricks... I wore normal trainers and think these would be best unless rainy/ tidal for the winter one. A lot of the route was shady so I didn't find it too hot (I normally feel the heat).

    My only gripe was not knowing how far I had gone - there were no mile markers and the bridge wasn't halfway as I assumed. At one point I was told I had 10k to go, did 3 miles to the next water station, then they said I still had 5 miles to go so thought I had gone the wrong way and discovered the half marathon runners had 10k to go, I actually had 9.5 miles, all this was a bit demoralising since I convinced myself I had gone the wrong way and went back to check. Mile markers would be great, if possible please?

    Still, after all that I still bagged a pb so it must be a fast course.

    Someone commented there was only water, no squash at the aid stations. They did have squash (orange and blackcurrant). However, they didn't have much squash mixed but I spied a bottle of concentrate on the table and mixed my own. They also had jelly babies and gels, as well as lots of cakes and stuff which looked tasty. I think salt would be good on the table too, I normally add a pinch to dilute orange juice.

    I would recommend it, I've signed up for the winter one now.

    Charley image

  • I did the half on Saturday and really enjoyed it! I've never done a race where it's not been on closed roads with a large field of runners so after about half a mile I wrote it off as a PB course, but actually it was completely flat, mostly shaded and whilst there were walkers, cyclists and dogs I didn't find them to be a real issue - in fact I smashed my PB! I didn't avail myself of any of the aid stations because I take my own drink and gels, I'm always quite shocked to see people complaining about aid stations because (particularly in a marathon) in my mind you shouldn't be putting your health and nutrition into someone else's hands, the aid stations should really just be back-up in case you've run out.

  • It did this last year and this year. I much preferred the finish last year. It was very hard to pass the finish just before 24 miles still knowing you had over 2 miles to go. I would have preferred to do the extra loop at the start of the race. I wish I had

    carried water with me as there wasn't enough on the course for the conditions. Parking was also an issue.

    All of that said it was a great race well organised and I would do it again.

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the reviews, everyone. image It does sound a good one and I am looking forward to November.

    A lot of the route is on my training runs. So I hope that gives me an advantage.image

  • I signed up several months ago for this as my first full marathon. Really nervous about making the distance as I've only raced at 1/2 distance before. Terrified of the last 10 miles . I've been out to 18 miles in my long runs and feel my legs go after that ... So watch out for me .. I'll be the one eating flapjacks on the start line and leaving a trail of crumbs all the way through the course. I've bought a camel hydro pack with side pockets to load up with snacks to keep me fueled ..

  • Hope everyone's training is going well. I bruised my toes on a walking holiday at the end of July (!) leaving me with a black toenail. image

    So I am way behind on my training plan, as I felt that I should take it easy. So I am not expecting a PB, but just hope to finish.

  • I think that my hopes were too high. I am going to reluctantly back out, and maybe run next year.

  • Does anyone know when advance entries for the Winter Meander close? I can't see it on their website or on RW. Cheers.

Sign In or Register to comment.