Thames Challenge 2019

Enviromental Policy Update:

Please note that ALL our races are now cup-free which means we will not be supplying cups and you will need to bring your own. We will provide water and squash dispensers and cola bottles for you to pour into your own cup.

Very soon we will have our own branded foldable and reusable cups for sale in our web-shop. You can either get these posted out to you in advance or collect them at registration on race day.

The Thames Challenge

8th – 11th August 2019

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”


More about the event:

England’s longest river path; Commencing from the source of The Thames in the BUFF® logo+ FLAT IS BORING vertical for sports line CMYKCotswolds, 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 Here


Finishing 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 8th August 2019 – 44.2 miles.

Stage 2 – The Oxford Ultra
Friday 9th August 2019 – 59.5 miles

Stage 3 – The Windsor Ultra
Saturday 10th August 2019 – 48.3 miles

Stage 4 – The Richmond Ultra
Sunday 11th August 2019 – 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
  • End of stage 4 – Food is provided in the View Cafe prior to trophy presentations


Competitors must be self-sufficient in their transportation to the start of the race and also at completion of the event.


Race Presentations

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 Event

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.

Every entrant must confirm that they have read these rules and other event information and therefore understand the nature of the event and that participation is at their own risk.


Race Entries

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
  • Whistle
  • Mobile phone
  • Emergency food pack consisting of a two chocolate bars, Mars or similar
  • 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.

Competitor Retirement

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.

Time Restraints

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 4mph. Outside this time you will not be allowed to continue.

Accommodation & Food

Thames event competitors will be provided with free camping facilities, 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 eat home cooked food provided by the Townhouse we are staying at in Henley. Again, the quality of food and hospitality is superb.

At the end of day three you will eat inside the Albany Centre and a chilli & rice 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

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.
  • Team Relay entries (min 3, max 4 people) are £245.00 per person and this assumes they make their own transport arrangements between checkpoints for team members.

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

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. Installment 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. If cancellation takes place upto four weeks before the race URL will offer a referral to the following years race. Within four weeks of the event no deferral is possible.

To complete your entry into any of the above Thames Series Races, the applicant must submit the following documents:

  • Online registration form
  • Full payment (see above) payable to ‘Ultra Running Limited’


  • 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.


Competitor cancellations are non refundable but may be deferred to the following year, providing you are not within four weeks or less to the event.

Photo coverage

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 (90mm x 90mm) 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)
  • Team Relay trophies
  • 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 deposite / payments are on a non refundable basis.

The organisers reserve the right to change or amend any part of the event.