26 March 2015

Richmond Half Marathon // Jackson + Rye

I like to think that training and eating go hand in hand. Which is just as well really, as they are the two things that I enjoy doing most. When I've got a race scheduled, my race-day prep not only includes running through a mental checklist of essentials (race number, face wipes, safety pins) but also involves taking into consideration post-race refueling (aka stuffing your face). Running a race is generally a pretty good way to justify having a slap up meal. Last Sunday, I ran Richmond Half Marathon and then headed to Jackson + Rye for a meal.

I arrived at Old Deer Park at around 8.15am to run the Salomon Citytrail Richmond Half Marathon. The race was much bigger than I expected, with hundreds of people already milling around the event village when I got there, and queuing for the substantial number of portaloos (one of the most important utilities at any race, as fellow runners will appreciate). I watched the 10k race set off at 8.30am, which was quite a small field. Then I went to drop my bag off (the bag drop was self-service so no queuing necessary - thumbs up!), after which I lined up for the half marathon, which was setting off in waves from 9am. I followed the 2 hour pacer into their pen as I was planning on taking it fairly easy. Then I noticed that the pacer went over to another pen and that the 1.50 pacer had appeared ahead of me. I knew I wouldn't be going at that pace but I couldn't be bothered to change pens at the last minute, so stayed put!

It was pretty chilly to start, but the sun decided to come out just as we headed across the starting line. After a quick loop around Old Deer Park we were off onto the streets of Richmond and followed a course that took us along mixed terrain including pavements, tow paths, and across fields, in a loop that passed Kew Gardens, Richmond bridge, Teddington lock and Ham. It's a lovely, scenic and flat route, parts of which will be familiar to those who have run races such as the Towpath 10, Cabbage Patch 10 and Richmond Running Festival. About 6.5 miles in, I saw the lead runner racing back, covering the last couple of miles to the finish. When I reached that point myself later on, I saw a girl running in the opposite direction, just about to reach the half way point. I felt fer her - she must have been the last person in the race. I hope she made it in the end!

Course map

About 2 hours and 7 minutes after crossing the start line, I made it to the finish. Finishers were awarded with a load of goodies - I could barely carry it all! The medal was pretty cool, the goody bag, sponsored by Whole Foods, was top notch, and we also got a finisher's t-shirt and a number of drinks to quench our thirst (water, Vita Coco and juice). 

Once I'd collected my bag, I walked (rather gingerly) towards Richmond town centre where I was meeting my parents, who were in London for the weekend. We had a booking at Jackson + Rye for lunch and, having run past it earlier, I knew exactly where it was: in a lovely spot right on the waterfront.

Jackson + Rye has an American diner-style menu with a Southern twist, and cool New York style interior decor to boot. When choosing this restaurant, I'd initially made my decision based on the brunch offerings on the menu, including American style pancakes and a number of appealing egg dishes. However, once I'd sat down and realised I quite fancied a post-race beer, the lunch options began to look more attractive. I ended up ordering crab cakes with radish slaw & chipotle mayo with a side of what was probably the most Southern-sounding dish on the menu, creamed corn grits & parmesan. And a Brooklyn lager to drink.

Will run for beer.
I really enjoyed the food - it was wholesome but had enough of a twist to ensure it steered clear of boring. The chipotle mayo really brought the crab cakes to life, and the radish slaw had a pleasantly surprising pickled tang to it. I loved the texture of the grits, they were beautifully creamy, with a handful of sweetcorn kernels thrown in for a textural contrast and extra sweetness. However, I couldn't really taste the parmesan and the grits were quite bland in flavour. I think with some extra seasoning and a generous sprinkling of parmesan these would have been divine.

Crab cakes & creamed corn grits

As it was a beautiful, sunny day, we decided to go for a wander on the hunt for dessert rather than stay in the restaurant (even though the dessert options looked tempting - peanut butter cookies with grape jelly, yum!). We went to the well-established Italian ice cream shop, Gelateria Danieli which is now in its tenth year. The ice cream is the great traditional Italian style you know and love - rich and creamy - but they also have some rather unusual and innovative flavours, including walnut & maple syrup, strawberry cheesecake and banana & salted peanut. I decided to go for one relatively traditional flavour (tiramisu) and one more unusual one (bakewell tart).

Beautifully thick, creamy ice cream!

The bakewell tart flavour was sensational - the perfect balance of sweet marzipan and tart cherries. I think the tiramisu flavour suffered next to these big flavours, as it tasted fairly bland in comparison. It probably would have been delicious on its own but it couldn't stand up to its bold partner. I should have chosen a more compatible pair of flavours! The prices here are incredibly reasonable given the location and the quality of the ice cream: 2 scoops cost £3.50. Gelatria Danieli also have a shop on Shaftesbury Avenue, and one in Kingston. Go and give them a try on a sunny day!

Having savoured the last bite of my ice cream, I realised that I was probably no longer in a calorie deficit and so called it a day.

What's your favourite post-race or post-workout indulgence?


  1. Replies
    1. YES. This is the gold standard for post-race cake. If Frosty Fancies are available then all the better.

  2. Congratulations on the half mara - that's an amazing time! I don't usually like races where the course loops back but do love Richmond Park so might do this one next year. I had falafel after the Semi Paris and they were so good!

    1. Thank you! This race doesn't actually go through richmond park surprisingly, just old deer park (which isn't nearly as interesting) but the bits by the river make up for it. I think RunThrough organise a half in richmond park if you're interested. I bet falafel really hit the spot after Paris - good choice!