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Race to the Stones 2017

by Reborn Runner
Friday 4th August 2017
The Dixons Carphone Warehouse Race to the Stones is definitely a discovery that ‘more is in you’.  The event provides an epic adventure from start to finish along Britain’s oldest footpath.  It is incredibly well organised with clear instructions and detailed information provided.  Commendably, queues to register were non-existent and even toilet queues at the start were minimal.  Starting times were prompt and the waves appeared to work well as everyone had space to quickly get into their own pace.  

RTTS start
Nervous runners at the start

Although a trail running event Race to the Stones differs from others I have previously participated in.  Some have compared it it to ‘glamping’ at a festival, it was definitely a first for ‘going posh’ on the trails with all of the facilities the organisers had provided.  Many checkpoints had toilets and the offer of KT tape, alongside an array of goodies to aid runners and walkers in their hydration and fuelling throughout whichever challenge they were participating in .  Photos from various points of the course were also included in the entry fee.  Unfortunately at 7am I’d sleepily pinned my number too far on the side of my shorts so missed out on these.  
The checkpoints were plentiful and well stocked, catering for all: gel junkies, sugar addicts and real food eaters, offering  a selection of various flavoured gels, a range of high sugar treats and some real food such as bananas and cereal bars.  Water supplies were more than sufficient at each point with alternative drinks  such as coke and hot drinks also on offer at some.  The chocolate at Barbury Castle was definitely very well received and perfectly timed.   

RTTS Charlie
Cheer squad leader Charlie helps Mum to refuel

As to be expected with running this distance there were high and low points along the 100km.  High points included passing through Goring, Bury Down and Waylands Smithy as these are places I have run before and am familiar with. In addition I also met my amazing support team at these points among others which was a great boost.  One of the best moments was hearing my little boy shouting ‘Go Mumma’ as I approached Bury Down and receiving a big cuddle from him.  Due to the lack of training imposed by injuries before Race to the Stones the last third of the race was definitely a case of digging deep and staying mentally positive to get to the end.  Seeing the 5km to go sign brought on a replenished high and  stronger determination, being a parkrun Run Director ‘just one parkrun’ to go held particular significance for me.  The stones at Avebury were certainly a welcome sight, as was the finish line!  Turning the final bend for an emotional finish,  I discovered more really was in me as I sprinted along the home straight to complete the furthest distance I’d ever run in an ok time too, receiving a medal I will feel proud of for a long time to come.  The proudness emotion was repeated the next day as my mum and our great running buddy Sue did exceptionally well by completing the 50km in a day, along with Sarah, another Harwell Harriers team mate.

RTTS Carol Sue Sarah
Left to right: Carol, Sue and Sarah finish their 50k (official finisher photos by Race to the Stones)

The excellent facilities and organisation continued way beyond the finish line as all participants were offered a selection of hot food and drinks, I even took the opportunity to enjoy a much needed shower before the trip home.  If you’d like to experience going posh on the trails then I’d definitely recommend entering Race to the Stones or another of the Threshold Ultra events. 

RTTS Lisa Medal
Lisa toughs it out to the finish for the much-coveted medal 


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