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Race Review: The Thames Path Challenge (100km)

‘Walk it, jog it or run it’ is the Ultra Challenge series slogan, and at this event you will see everyone at both ends of the scale. From those walking the route over 24-36 hours, to those running it in 9-16 hours, you will come across people entering this for all manner of reasons. With its central London location, incredible support, shuttle buses AND free champagne at the finish – this is the ideal event for many.

Elevation: 350m 

Number of Participants: 3000

Options for Races

  • 100km Full
  • 100km 2-Day
  • First Half 50km
  • Second Half 50km
  • First (28km), second (22km), third (28km) or fourth quarter (22km)
  • 25km Thames Bridge Trek
  • The Henley 10k

Verdict: As mentioned in my previous review of the now defunct ‘Grand Union Challenge’ – this is an extremely flat race! Similar to the Grand Union, it is also on predominantly solid ground, and is only marginally more interesting and varied than that route. That said, I did really enjoy this race and managed to get a 100km PB at the time due to the flat and fast nature of the course. It’s certainly a big ultra (in terms of participants and support), so you do have that feeling that you’re part of something special. I would say that this is an ideal first 100km or if you are trying to chase an elusive PB. 

Dave’s Tips

I would ensure that some of your training encompasses speed work for this one. Similar to other long and flat races, you want to be comfortable that you can pull into those higher gears, as in theory you will be able to cruise for long stretches. Due to the constant pounding on the knees from the hard ground, I would also suggest getting extremely comfortable with road running, and that you incorporate some ‘prehab’ style strength work to make those tendons and ligaments bulletproof.

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