The Thames Challenge
The Cotswold Ultra
The Oxford Ultra
The Windsor Ultra.
Day One, 13th September 2012 – The Cotswold Ultra
From Kemble Train Station to the Source then along the Thames Path to CP1 which is a grass area at 8.4 miles. From CP1 to CP2 at the Red Lion is 9.4 miles. From CP2 to CP3 at the Swan Hotel is 12.9 miles. Ffom CP3 to CP4 at the Rose & Revived is 10.1 miles. The final leg to the finish at The Ferryman is 3.7, giving a total days race distance of 44.5 miles.
Sunshine all the way, well nearly! Amazingly the heavy flooding of the Thames a few months ago lingers on, and some early sections were still knee high in water. Well done to everybody who battled through this.
Mark Thompson started the day off strong, reaching the Thames Head in 21 minutes, just ahead of Simon Reeve and the rest of the pack, only 5 minutes separating all ten runners.
By CP1 Mark had extended his lead to 7 minutes, with Mathew Moroz, Simon Reeve, and Jay MacDonald all in joint second place. Close behind them was Naomi Tier and Barry Briggs 18 minutes off the pace. Carlos & Denzil were going steady not too far away and David Cranwell & Susan Buckley sensibly bringing up the rear at their own pace.
Then unfortunately Mark Thompson tweaked his hamstring and slowly fell down the pack finishing fourth on the day.
Simone Reeve came home first to become the Mens Cotswold Ultra Champion. Closing by the minute was Naomi Tier and Mathew Moroz – Naomi taking the Ladies title. A solid performance by David Cranwell earned him the Veteran’s trophy.
Pleasingly all competitors finish day one of the challenge.
Apollo Massage were there to give much need assistance at Camp 1 and hot food was waiting inside the Ferryman Inn. Lets see what tomorrow brings!
Day Two, 14th September 2012 – The Oxford Ultra
From The Ferryman to CP1 at Isis Farmhouse pub is 12.1 miles. From CP1 to CP2 at the Barley Mow Pub is 12.4 miles. From CP2 to CP3 at the Boat House Pub is 8.1 miles. From CP3 to CP4 at the Greyhound Pub is 11.5 miles. From CP4 to CP5 at Wokingham Waterside Centre is 8.6 miles. From CP5 to CP6 at Mill Meadows car park is 7.1 miles. From CP6 to the finish at Hurley Caravan Park is 5.9 miles, giving a total days race distance of 65.7 miles.
Today was the most testing of the Thames day challenges, covering nearly 66 miles. In addition it was almost guaranteed that you would finish in the dark.
Susan Buckley, Carlos Glencairn-Campbell, David Cranwell & Denzil Martin had all opted for an early start, setting off at 6.00am. The remainder including newbee competitors Oliver Hill and Michael Allum, were somewhat later at 8.10am.
A slightly overcast morning turned into another warm and sunny day.
Early casualty for the day was Simon Reeve, the winner of day one’s race. He could still feel yesterdays miles and decided to take the opportunity of retiring when he neared a relatives house.
Carlos, having left at 6.00am set the pace ahead determined not to be caught by the later starters. And he did a good job. Arriving first at Hurley camping & caravan park which then created the biggest challenge – find the ultra running tents. The site is enormous and our allocated location, after some debate, was somewhat navigational challenging.
Soon finishing also was overall race leader Mathew Moroz who was pushing really hard, as he was a later starter, Matt won the race, and became champion of the Oxford Ultra, with a time of 12hr 50min.
David Cranwell was making steady progress but after a short discussion at CP4 on his calculated arrival time at the camp-site he elected to save his enery for the last day and pulled out of the race.
It was all going on and Denzil had a serious aggrevation to his shin which he had banged a few weeks earlier. It made it almost impossible for him to stand on the leg, let alone run or walk on it. Paramedics arrived and decided to take him to the A&E where he was x-rayed and given a set of crutches, retuning to the camp in the early hours of the morning to continue supporting the race.
Jay MacDonald also had to pull out, suffering from sickness and nose bleads at CP3
Oliver Hill had to pull out with a knee injury.
Mark Thompson, still being niggled by his hamstring came safely into camp, followed resiliently by Susan Buckley. Susan taking the ladies Oxford Ultra title with a time of 19hr 17min.
Michael Allum decided to complete half of CP6 to the finish and then return back to his friends car, so effectively not finishing the race, but knowing that he had completed 66 miles anyway.
Day Three, 15th September 2012 – The Windsor Ultra
The Route – From Hurley Caravan Park to CP1 at Boultons Lock is 9.9 miles. From CP1 to CP2 at the Old Windsor Lock is 11.7 miles. From CP2 to CP3 at the Thames Court Pub is 10.3 miles. FRom CP3 to the finish at Albany Canoe & Sailing Centre is 11.5 miles, giving a total days race distance of 43.4 miles.
Another beautiful sunny day. We had lost Denzil, Mark, Jay & Stuart from the race. But the remaining four Thames Challenge competitors we were joined by Nick McKenzie, Thomas Alfry, Catherine Adamson, Melissa Arkinstall, David Jorden, Andrew Masi, Robert Kerr and Kristian Tierney.
The newbies set a good pace with Nick, Robert & Kristian leading the way. Melissa was ahead for the girls with Catherine in chase. Susan Buckley, having covered 66 miles the day before was playing the long game, objective to just finish.
Robert Kerr crossing the line in an impressive 6hr 2min to secure the Windsor 2012 Ultra tiltle and Melissa Arkinstall the ladies tiltle with 7hr 47min.
Day Four, 16th September – Final leg of The Thames Challenge
The Route – From Albany Canoe & Sailing Centre to CP1 at a ‘white arch’ leading to Riverside Walk is 12.4 miles. From CP1 to CP2 at The Town of Ramsgate Pub is 9.3 miles. From CP2 to the Finish at View Cafe is 7.1 miles, giving a total race days distance of 28.8 miles and an overall Thames Challenge distance of 182.4 miles
Only three competitors left for the final day – Race leader Mathew Moroz, Carlos Glencairn-Campbell and Susan Buckley.
Credit to David Cranwell who had asked to complete the final leg, making four runners on the day.
As yesterday, Matt and Carlos had decided to run together and enjoy the commaradery and scenery as they made their way through the Sunday bussle of London City.
Matt & Carlos arrived at the finish at The Thames Barrier in 5hr 48min. Matt securing the title of Mens Thames Challenge Champion 2012.
Susan arrived in 7hr 49min to be crowned Ladies Thames Challenge Champion 2012.
David came in 8hr 16 min.