A Race to the Stones – what have I let myself in for?
In a little over 36hrs, at 8am on Saturday 13th July, I’ll be setting off from Chinnor in Oxfordshire to run 100kms along the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest footpath, in a Race to the Stones at Avebury. Masterminded by fellow adventure athlete James Cracknell and organised by Threshold Sports, this is the third in a trilogy of their events I’ve taken part in this year – the others being the Mitie London Revolution and the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.
Although I’ve clearly competed in some fairly epic events, from the Marathon des Sables and Transalpine Run to the Norseman triathlon and Devizes to Westminster, I’ve never actually run 100kms before, with the closest being 90kms in the 2008 London to Brighton Trail run. So it’s somewhat strange that I’ve kind of forgotten this small fact, resulting in a rather lackadaisical approach to my training.
The race has sold all its 800 places, which means that this is officially the biggest ultra marathon in the UK – a fairly impressive fact considering this is the first edition of the event.
45% of the entrants have opted for the 100km non-stop event, with 36% choosing to tackle it over 2 days, staying at an overnight base camp along the way. What’s even more impressive is that the vast majority of entrants, this will be their first ultra distance challenge!
The event follows 100km of the legendary Ridgeway; the oldest and one of the most beautiful footpaths in Britain. Steeped in history, the Ridgeway has history going back 5,000 years to neolithic man and features some of Britain’s most historic sites from the Uffington Chalk Horse to the iron-age Barbury Castle and the finish at the stunning 3,000 year old stone circle in Avebury.
I shall have the pleasure of racing against Danny Kendal, who this year performed amazingly by coming 10th overall and Top Brit in this year’s Marathon des Sables. He’s on cracking form, so I fully expect him to kick my ass all over the place.
I’m really pleased as there are quite a few fellow Marathon des Sables competitors taking part, so it shall be a bit of a reunion!
Threshold have created a live event page, so you can follow our progress on the day, feeding updates from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.