Over 1,000 runners took part in the annual Garmin Kingston Run Challenge in south west London on Sunday 12 October. The event was returning to its traditional home in the Ancient Market following its comprehensive redevelopment which finished earlier this year.
The run followed a mainly Thames-based route through Hampton Court and Thames Ditton before returning back to the heart of Kingston. Some chose to run one lap of 8.2 miles, whilst others were determined enough to go complete two (16 miles) or even three gruelling circuits (24 miles).
Thanks to sponsors Garmin, many took the opportunity to borrow a free timing watch that would help them pace themselves appropriately throughout the race.
Along with these state-of-the-art gadgets, organisers Human Race also provided highly visible pacers running at six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve minutes per mile, meaning the runners had no excuses when it came to keeping to their desired speed.
As the eager participants lined up in their attractive surroundings they were treated to some words of wisdom by BBC presenter, and Sparks ambassador, John Inverdale - starter for the day. It wasn’t long after John started the race that a flood of runners could be seen stampeding across Kingston Bridge, which was still hazy in the early morning light.
From there it was a scenic stretch down the Thames Towpath which had truly turned to autumn with the brown and red foliage of the surrounding trees leading the way down to Hampton Court. This regal location offered a stunning backdrop before runners continued their route further east, through Thames Ditton, before eventually returning to the Thames for a final stretch back to the historical Market Place.
The fluctuating weather of the past week was nowhere to be seen, as runners were treated to cool and dry conditions all through the course. As competitors reached the final stretch into the town centre they were greeted by the tantalising smell of goodies from various bakeries being taken fresh out of the oven, before crossing the finishing line.
The first person to return from the route spanning just over 13km was Luke Pikett who completed the course in an impressive 46:49, just piping Chris Cameron. The first female finisher Sophie Horsburgh was not far behind finishing in 54:28.
The runners soon began streaming past the finish line in greater numbers, with the team from Vita Coco doing all they could to ensure that everyone received a refreshing coconut drink to help them refuel. It seemed making the choice between the four different flavours was just as tough as the run. For many though the sight of the finishing line was not the end, it was on to a second, or even third lap of the mainly flat but testing course.
Winner of the 16 mile discipline was Richard Marriott (1:33:20) with Lucie Custance (1:39:31) the first female home. Edward Catmur completed the leg shattering 24 mile course in 2:21:29 making him first, with Lara Werrett the first female in 3:13:53. The final winners to be crowned were those who took part in the relay. Three members of 'Team London Front Runners A' took turns completing 8 miles of the course and were the first relay team to finish in a total time of 2:28:36.
Smiling, if slightly exhausted, faces were to be seen all round the Market Place after another successful year for the Garmin Kingston Run Challenge. Many said they would be back for the Lidl Breakfast Run on 15 March. However before that it will be the long awaited launch of this year’s Off-Road Series, with Wildman on 22 November.
Check out all Human Race events at their website.