Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Off to the UK in June


I'm so pumped up! I have awarded myself a tour in the UK. It's one on foot. The organizers have seen fit to label it a race but I have chosen to call it a vacation!!

I leave SFO on June 20 for the inaugural 260-mile Thames Ring Ultra which begins at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24. I have 100 hours, until 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, to finish. More details about the race are on http://www.tra-uk.org/downloads/thames_ring_update.doc.

The organizers are the same ones who put on the existing GUCR 145 mile race held in May every year.

The Thames Ring race has aid stations about 26 miles apart so I will have to be self sufficient for at least the marathon distance. That should not pose a problem during the day since I will have access to shops in the little villages I will pass through. Nights will be a different matter altogether. I will have to ensure that I put enough stuff in my backpack to meet most "emergencies" at night.

The Thames or Great Ring is actually formed of 3 canals - the River Thames canal, the Oxford Canal Ring and the Grand Union Canal Ring(GUCR).

For more information:
Thames River
Oxford Canal
Grand Union Canal

To say that I am excited is an understatement. As a child growing up in India reading children's books by the famous author, Enid Blyton, I yearned to see the English countryside the stories depicted. Come June, I get to be a child again! I will run or walk through places steeped in history and lore. Charming little villages with even more charming names like Goring (race Start/Finish), Mapledurham, Caversham, Reading, Marlow, Chertsey, Stoke Bruerne ...

Images of some villages in the first 50 or so miles can be viewed at http://www.map-reading.co.uk/localimages/HTML%20files/LocalImagesGallery.html.

A few more images, taken from the above site (thank you Clive Ormond!), below.

(Grand Union Canal at Braunston)

(River Thames wending its way through Caversham)