The race first begun in 2009 and is the brainchild of Anthony Taylor, Dick Kearn and the Trail Running Association.

The race only runs every two years and has run three times now, with around a 30-40% finishing rate, this is despite the calibre of runner that step onto the start line.

'The Thames Ring 250 is a 250mile trail race starting in Streatley-on-Thames and following the route on the map in a anti-clockwise direction. The route is mainly on canal and riverside paths and relatively flat. 
Runners have 100 hours  (4 days 4 hours) to complete the run, navigating using maps and being supported by checkpoints every 25 miles or so. 
Its an extremely tough run testing runners endurance to the limit along with long hours with little sleep and long dark nights'

I run the South Downs Way 100 just ten days ago, which went extremely well, much better than I planned. Although I raced it to my best on feel and smashed my best 100 miler time by hours, coming in second position overall.

So already I am going into this huge challenge of trying to finish the 250 miles, on perhaps, an unrested body and legs. Although I feel recovered enough, I am not sure how this will go until I get out there and after a day of running...

Energy Blends 
(mixture of fats, seeds and raw cacao)

I prepped the best I could, eating well with high, dense, nutrient rich foods and lots of fats and collagen (I eat a high fat lower carb diet). 

I kept my mileage low but enough to keep my legs active. I still have a slight hamstring strain so focused on that area with the foam roller. 

My race fuel for the event was already prepared before hand, I just needed to keep it cool before and during the run. 

Energy Blends
made up two tubs of melted ghee, goose fat, tahini with salt, linseed, pine nuts and maca powder. 

Then melted dripping, coconut oil, butter, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, raw cacao, salt, splash maple syrup and flaxseed in the other two tubs.

Other race fuel will consist of cheeses, black olives, avocado, bottles of olive oil, chocolate coffee beans, coffee with cream, macadamia nuts, salted almonds, cashew and brazil nuts.

Scout Hut registration

I stayed overnight just a few miles from Reading station in a Travelodge, so arriving for the start was not too difficult or expensive by taxi. 

Goring and Streatley station is 14 minutes by train, which was slightly delayed, left just 30 minutes until the race briefing at 9:30. 

I met other runners including Martin Bacon, whilst waiting for the train and it was nice to ease any nerves chatting about our crazy adventure ahead. 

We all walked together following Martin, as he knows the way, (power walked with our big bags) to the scout hut one mile away from the station.

Map One

Just after 9am we reach the scout hut in time for registration.

I collect my number, GPS tracker and first map of the route. It is good to meet Lindley rather than when I have been at a check point at a Centurion event. Two bags dropped, one for my change of running clothes and food supplies. The other for the finish or if I do not reach. Both bags will be transported to each checkpoint along the route. 

GPS Open Tracker

After the race briefing we head out for the start at the Thames Path Way, Goring. The sun is already warming up the air and it feels dry and intense on the skin. 

This could start to get tough this afternoon...

Not so lucky number...

Walking to the start at Goring

I borrowed my friend Shawn's Garmin Finex watch today, as battery life should last approx 30hours on ultra track mode. It also has the added feature of being able to recharge whilst on the move.

I had the display on and ready but cannot remember how to start the track. I press all the buttons and even scan the group around me for similar watches. Nobody seems to have this model. With Lindley counting down for the start I give up and just start my runkeeper for now.

Anticipation of 39 Ultra Runners

START 10:00
On the go, we plod along the footpath to the river then turn left onto the Thames Path Way. I stay with the front group and still try pressing and holding all the control buttons on the watch. 

Finally after holding the top right button the track begins.... about 0.50 mile late, but lesson learnt to read the manual the night before, which I did pack...

MILES 0-27
Chatting to nearby runners Allan Rumbles and then Javed Bhatti (who has already completed the complete ring finishing yesterday) who is running a double Thames Ring. So that's 500 miles in total if completed by the 100 hour cut off come Sunday night!

Once the track opens out to grass and the river bank I find my comfortable pace and settled into my run.

I am aiming to keep no quicker than 9-9:30min/mile for the first day and see how my body holds up. Sleep breaks when required later and hope my legs can keep it up for the entire journey...

I stay within seconds to the front runners which includes Andy Horsley, we chat about the recent South Downs and I double check the route with their map, as I dropped mine without realising after five miles...

Reading Mile 10

First Lady Karen Hathaway is close behind us once reaching the borough of Reading. Looking strong she is adopting a run/walk strategy by the looks of it.

Near Wokingham at ten miles and passing familiar checkpoints from other events I spot Paul Ali, who works nearby, supporting and taking photos as we pass him. Always good to see another runner routing for us.


The sun is strong now and it is feeling very warm already. The temperature is to reach 25C and above in London. There is very little breeze along this section so I take an S!Cap and drink plenty of water, I am very thirsty, more so than usual.

There are a few water taps along the way, which can be hard to spot at first, I refill where I can and ask at the locks to be let across to the water tap. I am refilling my carry bottle every hour.

Henley (Aston)

I enjoy the long stretch through Henley-On-Thames, taking in all the sights and activities from the local rowing clubs. So many are out training on the river in the stunning sunshine.

A shout out 'go Luke' when I run over one of the decking bridges into Henley. Which I later discover from text by Helen, that it was Susie Irvin, a mutual running friend of ours.

Once off the river bank and cutting through the estate grounds at Aston, meeting flocks of young Deer as I go.

This is a section I forgot about when running the Thames in the other direction.

Once reaching checkpoint one at Hurley, I am already topped up with water so just refuel from my supplies.

A warm welcome greets me here. Lindley checks I am well and says Martin is in the lead and only ten minutes ahead from here.

I tuck into my avocado, some olives and pack some cheese with me for later. I feel satisfied already and the breakfast of bulletproof coffee has kept me going until here. All I needed was a gulp of olive oil at 20 miles.

I'm aware of the time spent stopping and plan to stop longer at the later stages, so thank the team and carry on the pathway.

MILES 27-55


Windsor Castle


MILES 55-83

Hampton Court Palace 

Dusk on Thames Path Way

Meeting Grand Union Canal


Yiewsley with the girls

MILES 83-106

Water Lock

Dawn Break


MILES 106-130

Halfway through


MILES 130-156

Picture by Mark Cockbain

The sun is scorching and I can feel the heat through my cap on my head. Headache and the feeling of dizziness is usually a sign I am suffering heat stroke. Being so fair I've never coped too well under the hot sun in the summer months. 

The temperature is at its hottest this afternoon and I remember when checking the forecast how boiling it will get. As the Canal is so flat and open on this leg, without any breeze it feels much hotter than it is...

The sore ankles


Wonder Woman Karen Hathaway

Enjoying the left over energy blend, just add eggs to make my special no grain porridge

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