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Five tips for the Thames Path

by Robert Britton
Tuesday 5th May 2015
Tags  Thames Path   |   Centurion Running   |   Robbie Britton   |   Profeet   |   Thames Path 100

Run247 columnist Robbie Britton shares his knowledge of trail running in the South of England with five top tips from runners who have raced along this picturesque British route

Photos © Stuart March

Have you ever wanted to run 184 miles in one effort and not known where to go? Do not distress, London, the city that has everything, has the Thames Path, stretching right through her midst.

Starting at the source of the mighty Thames near Kemble, Gloucestershire and running all the way to the Thames Barrier, this National Trail may actually be on your doorstep, such is the route she takes through one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

As well as easy access for all there are also a number of races along the route, including last weekend's Thames Path 100 (HERE), the Thames Meander, Thames Trot, T184 and the Thames Trout Tickler... I may have made that last one up but all the rest are races and they range from 5k to 184 miles.

Continuing along the theme of trail running in the South of England here are the five top tips I could gather from runners who have raced along this picturesque British route.

1) Flat is boring

Flat is boring, or so they say, but whilst there are no cols to pass or mountain tops along route, Karen Hathaway, outright winner of the T184, says "don't be fooled and expect it to be totally flat." Check what section you're running and be ready for those mighty climbs. That said, it's great for long runs with some speed, as Profeet's Rich Felton does most of his marathon pace work on the riverside.

2) Mud, glorious mud

James Adams, author of "Running and Stuff" reckons you can "add distance by puddle dancing" so just get stuck straight in. It can be notoriously muddy for the February Thames Trot and multiple winner Craig Holgate uses the La Sportiva Helios SR to combat the super slippy trail between Oxford and Henley. My race today I did this and then fell in a river, so it was wasted mileage!

3) "We just follow the river, right?"

It may seem like an easy route alongside one of the UK's biggest water ways but Scott Running's Dan Doherty points out that "it's not a simple trail so do your research". Flooding can cause diversions and if you miss the right time to cross the river you may be a solid swim away from your competitors!

4) It's not in the Arctic circle but you can still get cold

James Elson, Centurion Running RD and 14:47 100 miler, says "Don’t underestimate how cold it can be at night by the river especially when you are moving slower". Rick Ashton had first hand experience of this in 2013 when finishing third at the TP100 in conditions that saw the race moved from March to May the following year. "My tip would be to not under estimate the trail in bad weather" which saw a churned up and flooded path slowing everyone down and stopping them from keeping warm at night.

5) Take some pocket money and make a day of it

If you're training along this beauty of a trail then take a bit of cash for lunch or a cheeky pint. There are so many lovely spots along the way with riverside pubs and cafés, it always seems a shame just to race along there. Just don't go into Reading. It's easily done, I should know, but on a weekend it'll take you straight into the pub district and Lycra does not go down too well.

Photos © Stuart March

You don't have to run 100s of miles or out into the countryside to try out this trail, it goes straight through the centre of town and you'll often see plenty of runners on there. You can even come down to Profeet in Fulham (HERE) for a group run along there next time I do a talk and I'll show you how great it is myself!

You can read Robbie's Five tips for the South Downs Way (HERE)


About The Author

Robert Britton

Robbie is a 100 mile runner who is a member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad and Team Centurion and likes to run ridiculous distances as quickly as possible.

To provide enough food to feed a monster running habit, Robbie coaches other ultra marathon runners through www.robbiebritton.co.uk and is also a member of the coaching team at Centurion Running. He likes to dabble with a bit of writing so that others can learn from his mistakes and enjoy the sport as much as he does.

Robbie is also a is a Profeet ambassador.


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is just part of the fun"


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