Thames Path 100k (Part 1) Sept 9-10, 2017

Package pickup (or registration as they call it in the UK) happens at the race start area so we head out to Putney Bridge the evening before to minimize next day panic.  We are given an event pass (which contains the timing chip to be scanned at each rest stop), bibs, a guide with maps to each leg and a TPC buff.  Behold the swag.....

I bought the middle tech shirt, the UC one was for signing up and the pale blue is the finisher shirt, all very nice.

5am Sept 9

We're waiting outside the apartment for the Uber we booked when I get a message (right on our pickup time) that it's all been cancelled due to some credit card issue.  Brilliant, just bloody brilliant.  We no longer have time to deal with transit (2 underground lines and a bus) so as a last resort we head up to Tower Bridge in the dark to try for a cab.  Eventually we get one to stop - what an ordeal.

We're safely deposited at the park entrance a good hour before our start time.  There's a lovely layout of biscuits and tea, marvelous! 

Bags are dropped, loos are visited and we scan into the start area for a warm up before being set free at 6:45. 

It's pretty wet and muddy from the get go, it seems the Thames has just had a very high tide.  Some parts of the road are flooded.  The paved stretches we pass through are extremely muddy and a little slippy.  The parts on the pathway are lovely though, the sun has just come up and the river is gorgeous.  

We pass many interesting things on our way to the first rest point by Kew Gardens.  I don't feel very good having had basically no sleep for 3 days, jet lag and feeling generally crappy so it's wonderful to have little diversions.

All the rowing clubs are getting organized and out onto the river, we pass a lot of these.

The little acorn!

Everything is very green, we spot a few greenhouses and crane our necks to catch as much of Kew as we can.   There's a channel of boggy water around it then a sturdy wall, definitely not the way in.

It is simply a gorgeous sunny morning.  There are a number of boat teams on the Thames accompanied by their coaches in motor boats yelling at them.  Reminds me of Ferris Bueller's gym class.

Richmond mid point stop 14 km

This is a glorious sight, it's our first rest stop.  We scan into these but not back out.  

Nothing makes me happier than seeing Coke.  Because of jet lag (I think) I really don't feel like eating anything, so Coke and fruit works pretty well. 

I didn't even want to eat these which is a crime.

Back out again after a minimal break, it's very busy by the waterfront.  I have literally no idea what's going on here?

Kev basically drags me through this leg, I just try to run as much as I can and keep moving.  

Hampton Court Palace - very grand. 

Hurst Park major stop 28 km

We come into our first major stop as the first 1/4 race is finishing.  Since I feel dreadful I figure I'll go and have a look for a medal.  As luck would have it I find a puppy wearing one and get not only a look at it but a huge bonus cuddle.  That definitely helps.

There's so much amazing food but all I can deal with is half a banana and more Coke.  My feet are doing pretty well on thinner socks, so I just add a thicker pair on top.  Surprisingly I start to feel a lot better after we leave and mange to keep running.  That's the thing with long races, you'll always have rough spells - you just have to believe they will pass, even if they're 28km long.

It's only 8.5 km to the next rest stop which sounds very manageable.  Then this happens.

We miss a turn away from the path and add a magnificent 4 km on to our journey.  We don't even realize we're on the wrong path until the guy in front turns around.  Maps out, Google on.  We collect 2 other strays on the way back.  This is the bit where my sense of humour returns for a brief period, because 100 km is apparently not enough?


Manor Park mid point stop 36.5 km (actually 40.5 km)

More bananas and Coke.  We don't stay long at all.  

Highlights over this leg include crossing fields with cows, ominous clouds and going under the M25.  There are quite a few towns to navigate through and we're extra careful to look for signs.  We get caught in a thundershower around 44 km (ponchos out) and I have a FML phase which gets worse at 46 km because reasons.  Don't make me say it.

We've used and discarded the ponchos so it's just great when we're caught in yet another heavy rainstorm approaching the midway point.  Kev's been in a much better mood than me all day FYI.  Evidence:

Runnymede major stop (midway point) 50 km  actually 54...I know

None of the various (and really very good) hot food options interest me so I take my umbrella and go off to change into dry tights and a warm pullover.  Runners can access their drop bags here and at the finish, hurrah.  Kev picks up a baked potato with cheese to share. 

When I get back one of the Action Challenge people sends me to the medical tent to have my feet looked at and I discover these magical gel blister pads to attach to all my hot spots.  At every stop there are race people making sure you're okay and doing what you need to in order to finish, it's really amazing.  After great advice here I can visit the self-care foot station and deal with any issues at every other rest stop.

I picked a good bracelet today, it really sums up the journey so far.

Part two is right here.


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