Kew Gardens 10K is a COVID-secure trend setter
Richmond RUNFEST's slimmed down format is a hit with 3,500
With Richmond RUNFEST's usual weekend race programme furloughed until next year, the Kew Gardens 10K followed a brand new format that enabled 3,500 runners to participate in the largest socially-distanced event to take place in the UK since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A raft of COVID-secure measures included holding two identical races on Saturday and Sunday (12 &13 September); allocated arrival times; holding zones; starting in groups of four and a course that was wholly inside the fully enclosed Royal Botanic Gardens, with the public excluded until after the event.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, raised an outstanding £12,500 for charity, whilst running a fantastic time of 53:44 to finish 762nd before collecting his rainbow-themed medal.
Daniel Mulryan (Thames Valley Harriers, 30:51) – running just one second outside his 2018 PB – and GB international and 2019 Richmond RUNFEST Half Marathon champion Tracy Barlow (TVH, 34:54) laid down the gauntlet with the fastest times on Saturday morning.
The following day, London Heathside's 16-year-old 10K record fell to Seyfu Jamaal (30:14 PB) – pictured finishing above – while W40 Lesley Locks (Aldershot, 36:05) missed her 2019 best by a single second on this obviously quick course.
Over the weekend there were 3,514 finishers in 1:51:59. A total of 2,296 runners beat the hour for 10K, with 1,093 of those running 50 minutes or faster. Mass running is officially back!
Race Director, Tom Bedford said: “With so many mass participation sporting events cancelled since February, there were a lot of eyes on us as many people didn’t believe that we could put on a socially-distanced running event, but I am pleased to say it was a success and that all the hard work from our team during lockdown paid off. A lot of the feedback we have received so far is that people felt safe and socially-distanced throughout the event and I would like to thank our runners for cooperating under our strict COVID-19 rules, whilst still having fun”.
Tom added: “I thank the runners but I would also like to thank all of the staff, amazing volunteers, and Kew Gardens for coming together to get this event over the start line and I hope it paves the way for other safe running events and parkruns to return as soon as possible.”
The race charity for 2020 was Children with Cancer UK. The postponed Richmond Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, and Kids’ events will return in April 2021.
Results available via runABC South race listing here
Image of Seyfu Jamaal courtesy Richmond Running Festival