Believe it or not, the Kew Gardens 10k was my first running race of 2018! I’ve mainly focused on cycling this year, and haven’t actually managed to fit in many events on my weekends due to being so busy. However, I was really excited about giving the Kew Gardens 10k a go – part of the Richmond Runfest weekend, it’s an event entirely inside the gardens, allowing you to run through the beautiful landscape before the venue opens to the public.
With a start time of around 8:30am, it was an early morning so we opted to stay overnight in a local Premier Inn and walk to the event. I wouldn’t say the start process was particularly well organised with the bag drop before the toilets (with massive queues), and no real start pens despite people being given staggered wave times.
James and I made it across the start line together with little ceremony – he headed off pretty quickly on his goal for a sub 1hr 10k, and I bounced round taking photos and enjoying the lovely views.
If you’ve never been to Kew Gardens before, it’s definitely worth making the effort to head over for a visit! A world heritage site of global scientific significance, its a place with so much to see – from the newly refurbished Temperate House (the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world) to the 18m high Treetop Walkway, you could fill a whole day with exploring.
The Kew Gardens 10k had a pretty wiggly course which went out and back along the different paths, and there was plenty to distract yourself with whilst running. From the Great Pagoda to the natural woodland, the Palm House to the Great Broad Walk borders packed full of colourful flowers, I loved turning each corner to see something new.
The event had a rather interesting theme of Peter Pan and pirates this year, due to the partnership with Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. I have to say it was a bit tenuous and didn’t really add much to the run, apart from some rather great drummers out on the course and the chunky medal with a spinning gold coin at the end!
Speaking of the finish line, I managed to complete the 10k in a pretty sedate 1:19:09 with a smile on my face. In fact, in all of the official race photos I’m looking quite happy! Testament to the fact that I enjoyed the race despite the few organisational issues – I got my medal and t-shirt after completing the course, but the promised goody bags had run out by the time I came across the line which was a bit disappointing. I wouldn’t have minded so much about the leaflets and random snacks, but the bags had the only bottles of water and Lucozade Sport in them, so when they ran out there was nothing to drink at the finish – not great! Fortunately James shared his with me, and the organisers did say they’d had logistical issues and more were arriving but I never saw any evidence of this.
Instead, we headed off to take some photos in the gardens and enjoy the opportunity to explore the new Temperate House which reopened in May following a huge refurbishment – it’s absolutely incredible and the views from the walkway around the top were stunning!
Brunch in Richmond followed by a train home, and another medal to add to my hanger on the wall. This was the start of my autumn of running races with the Maverick Oxfordshire Trail race and then the Great South Run coming up next. I’ve been testing out the new Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo as part of my training, and am really impressed. They’re a more neutral shoe than those I’ve run in previously, so I was apprehensive about building up the mileage too quickly but (touch wood) I’ve had no problems at all. In fact they feel really comfortable and springy when running, whilst being supportive enough to take on canal paths and mild off-road running without worrying about twisting an ankle.
There is a ‘spur’ on the heel which is meant to eliminate pressure on the Achilles tendon and it can feel a little strange to start with. However, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo are also ridiculously lightweight which is definitely a change for me from more chunky stability shoes, and I didn’t feel like my legs tired as quickly. I’ve run in the rain in them a couple of times and despite the knitted upper I didn’t get soggy wet feet or slip over, so fingers crossed they will stand up to October weather, whatever that may be!
Have you visit Kew Gardens? Do you like a more lightweight or supportive shoe?
NB: I was sent the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo shoes to review as part of the Intersport Test Lab with Freestak. As always all opinions are my own. r