The Thames Challenge Races are postponed for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 issues.
We will return in 2021 and the date will be made available soon.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe, Follow Government Guidlines – and Keep Running
Part of the URL Challenger Series…
Fancy the “DOUBLE” ? – Take on and complete the Thames Challenge and the Severn Challenge in the same year to be awarded the “Severn & Thames Buckle”. Entry option for this is through the Severn Challenge web page.
More about the event:
England’s longest river path; Commencing from the source of The Thames in the Cotswold’s, before finally reaching the mouth at Thames Barrier in Greenwich, a distance of 184 miles. The challenge is to complete the entire length over a four day period.
The Thames Challenge is the ‘Sister’ event of The Severn Challenge, one of our other multi-day events.
The Thames Challenge is split into four stages, over a four day period. Within the four stages are four unique races in their own right – The Cotswold Ultra, The Oxford Ultra, The Windsor Ultra, and The Richmond Ultra. To enter any of the single day races, or for route directions, maps and gpx files on each of these stages click on the relevant race below.
The Cotswold, Oxford, Windsor and Richmond Ultras all have bespoke winner’s medals and trophies. Complete all four stages and you get four jigsaw finishers medals, three original Buffs and a Thames Challenge t-shirt.
For Thames Challenge Photos please see our Gallery
For Thames Challenge Results click HereFinishing the Thames Challenge is a great achievement. Here is our Hall of Fame gallery of the current finishers and their times.
We want every competitor to enjoy this challenge and at each Check-Point Station along the route, water, cola, sandwiches etc will be available.
Immediately following completion of each stage, race results and ‘Thames Challenge’ competitor positions will be posted on our web-site prior to commencement of the following day’s race, with a brief race report, so that family and friends can get a glimpse of each competitor’s progress. At the end of each stage Ultra Running provide camping facilities and will serve an evening meal and toast/porridge for breakfast. Please see the list of mandatory items that competitors must carry.
The course distance is very challenging and for competitors own safety and fairness the event rules must be adhered to. Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification from this and future events.
The four stages
Stage 1 – The Cotswold Ultra
Thursday 1st October 2020 – 44.2 miles.
Stage 2 – The Oxford Ultra
Friday 2nd October 2020 – 59.5 miles
Stage 3 – The Windsor Ultra
Saturday 3rd October 2020 – 48.3 miles
Stage 4 – The Richmond Ultra
Sunday 4th October 2020 – 31.9 miles
Ultra Running Limited will give as much support to everyone to achieve their goals in whichever challenge they choose. Our named check-points will provide water and some nutrition, but it is each individual competitor’s responsibility to ensure they are fit enough or well enough to compete in or complete a stage or full race distance. Any special requirements a competitor has must be catered for by themselves.
It is strongly recommended that you seek your own doctor’s advice prior to signing up for these ultra challenges; which are incredibly demanding both mentally and physically. Our support vehicle will also assist in the transferring of one kit bag per competitor to the following days Camp Facility; although this is only done with the acceptance by that competitor that they take sole responsibility for these items whilst in transit, and by requesting this service, automatically indemnify Ultra Running Limited or any of its employees in liability for any loss or damage in transit whatsoever.
Accommodation and Food
Ultra Running Ltd provides Camping Facilities at the end of Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3.
- Stage 1 Camp – Evening meal, breakfast and unlimited water, tea & coffee
- Stage 2 Camp – Evening meal, breakfast and unlimited water, tea & coffee
- Stage 3 Camp – Evening meal, breakfast and unlimited water, tea & coffee
Competitors must be self-sufficient in their transportation to the start of the race and also at completion of the event.
Trophy presentations will take place at the View Cafe, south side of the Thames, for The Thames Challenge competitors & Richmond Ultra competitors. The Cotswold Ultra, The Oxford Ultra and The Windsor Ultra presentations will take place on the completion of each respective race.
Thames Challenge Race Rules
The Thames Challenge, The Cotswold Ultra, The Oxford Ultra, and The Windsor Ultra are all organised by Ultra Running Limited and are open to runners who must achieve a minimum 4 mph in order to continue with the challenge. All entrants must be 18 years of age or over at the start of the race. Each competitor must ensure that they carry with them all of their individual requirements needed to complete the race.
If you fail to maintain at anytime the minimum 4 mph requirement you will not be allowed to continue with the challenge and any remaining days will be forfeited.
By entering you accept that you will abide by these rules and other event information and therefore understand the nature of the event and that participation is at your own risk.
Competitors must register at the noted registration points as detailed within the particular Ultra Race description at least one hour before the start of the race and present their kit for examination on request.
Each participant will be given a race number which must be clearly attached by safety pins to the front chest. If this is not clearly visible you may be delayed at checkpoints.
Competitors must be self sufficient, and carry the following mandatory items:
- Backpack or equivalent
- Head Torch with spare batteries
- OS Map or our downloadable maps are acceptable
- Compass or GPS device
- Mobile phone
- First Aid Kit
Checkpoints & Water Stations
Competitors must go through all check points and it is their sole responsibility to ensure that the check point attendant has recorded their race number; failure to do so at any check point will mean the competitor has failed to complete the race and will be disqualified.
Any competitor found to not follow the pre determined race route will be disqualified.
If any competitor has to retire for whatever reason they must contact the race organisers immediately, either by advising a checkpoint attendant or telephoning the emergency number given at the start of the race. The emergency number is also printed on your race Bib.
The organisers have set a cut off time for each checkpoint for Health and Safety reasons; the allowance should give an average pace of minimum 4 mph. Outside this time you will not be allowed to continue.
Accommodation & Food
Thames event competitors will be provided with free camping facilities, (which include the pitch cost and the tent only) arranged by Ultra Running Limited.
At the end of day one competitors will eat at The Ferryman restaurant with a hot meal and a drink. The food is excellent.
At the end of day two competitors will camp and eat at the Eyot Centre, with a hot meal provided by URL in Henley.
At the end of day three you will eat inside the Albany Centre, with a chilli dish or similar will be available.
Showers and charging facilities are available at all camping locations.
It is requested that all camping facilities are respected and all litter etc is removed by the responsible competitor. Abuse of facilities (as deemed by Ultra Running Limited) will result in removal and disqualification from the race.
The organisers are more than happy to source alternative accommodation such as B&B or hotel, subject to availability and cost, for any family member or supporter who wishes to attend any or all of the events.
Registration & Entry Fees
All deposits and payments are on a non refundable basis. However, during the check-out stage you will have an option to upgrade to a refundable booking.
The Thames Challenge:
- Individual entries are £395.00 per person (this is a discounted price if fully paid at time of booking). It includes all, camping & meals as described.
- Deferring can be done through the entry system, but this option will close four weeks prior to the event date.
Take on the DOUBLE – enter both the Thames Challenge and the Severn Challenge (both events in the same calendar year) at a discounted rate of £725.00 – enter this option through the Severn Challenge Web page
Places for The Thames Challenge are limited and on a non-refundable basis. We advise anybody who has an interest to secure their place by booking early. Instalment options are available when you come to enter. It is important to note that all entry fees are not refundable and failure to make instalment payment on or before the due date will render the entry place forfeited and we will offer the place to a competitor on the waiting list. These terms are non-negotiable.
- emailed photograph of competitor which may be uplifted onto the site for promotional reasons.
- Brief description of your reasons for doing the Thames Challenge event which may be uplifted onto the site for promotional reasons.
Ultra Running Ltd. reserves all exclusive rights for photo coverage of The Thames Series of Races, as hereby described. Participants agree that Ultra Running Limited may use exclusively their individual or collective names and pictures for anything related directly or indirectly to their participation in this event.
Finisher Medals & Trophies
All finishers will receive a bespoke medal and a T-Shirt applicable to the event. Each days medal is unique and shows at a reduced scale the exact course of the Thames run that day. The four medals are recessed to overlap each other and once overlapped they show the complete Thames River Route from Source to Mouth.
The following trophies are applicable to all four races: (1) The Thames Challenge, (2) The Cotswold Ultra, (3) The Oxford Ultra, (4) The Windsor Ultra, (5) The Richmond Ultra.
- Men’s individual winner trophy
- Ladies individual winner trophy
- Men’s veteran individual winner trophy (over 55)
- Ladies veteran individual winner trophy (over 55)
- All Thames Challenge finishers will receive a trophy.
It is recommended that you take out your own personal and cancellation insurance that covers you for the activities undertaken. All deposit / payments are on a non refundable basis.
Terms and Conditions: Please ensure you have read and understood our Terms and Conditions before entering.