Four members of the club ditched their bikes and wet suits for the weekend to take on an extreme running challenge.
Neville Breach, Nick Wall, Peter Whent and Paul Venus all took part in this year’s “Race to the Stones”. The challenge is straight forward – starting from Wallingford in Oxfordshire, run 100km (62 miles) along the Ridgeway, the oldest Ancient or Pre-Roman Road in the country, to a finish line several counties away at the Avebury Ring near Marlborough. Jacqui Taylor from the club kindly gave up her day to support the runners.
Conditions were perfect to start with but as the day went on the temperature rose into the mid 20s which just added to the challenge.
Progress was slow to start with as several thousand runners tried to negotiate the bottlenecks at stiles and feed stations. Unfortunatley, Paul had to drop out of the race early on with a knee injury. The others all made it to the halfway checkpoint in good time. Here they were able to regroup with a meal and change of clothing.
The second half was challenging. Part of it had to be run in the dark which made negotiating the rugged Ridgeway track difficult especially on tired legs and blistered feet. It was a case of negotiating one feed station at a time where runners can regroup and feast on the incredible selection of food. The last three feed stations even had hot food on offer.
Finally after a whole day and part of the night on the move, the finish line was in sight. Nev lead the way crossing the line in an impressive 14.51 hours which placed him 276th out of 1,164 runners. Peter and Nick finished together in 17.56hrs placing 566th – so all in the top half of the field.
Neville commented: “This is a great event. It is not just for hardened ultra-runners, all kinds of people took part. The atmosphere is great and the scenery that you run through in stunning. But it is certainly a challenging course and the hot weather didn’t help and we were all just pleased to finish”