With the Thames Trot just three weeks away, and having had some assurances that the tow path was not actually flooded at present, I set off by train yesterday to run the second half of the route, from Streatley to Henley-on-Thames.
Although the Thames Trot follows the Thames Path, so you’d think navigation would be a doddle, there ARE areas where the Path wanders some distance from the Thames, for example due to private property fronting onto the river, producing opportunities to get lost. A recce run therefore seemed like a very good investment, even with 2.5 hours of train travel each way.
The weather was chilly but otherwise near-ideal (not raining!). The conditions underfoot were less ideal – mostly slippery, sticky mud of the kind that gives almost zero traction for running on, which clogging up your shoes until they’re twice normal size and three times normal weight.
I’d been given some indications, by someone who had run it previously, of the places that might be tricky to navigate, so I had printed out extra-detailed map sections for those areas, and was looking very carefully for the permanent arrows and signs marking the Thames Path. One sign was missing at a potentially problematic point, but a couple of locals headed me in the correct direction. What with the mud slowing me down (and slightly tired muscles from an 8 km cross-country on Saturday), stops to check my navigation, to fish out and eat my sandwich, to increase or decrease clothing layers and to remove a stone from inside my shoe, I reached Henley-on-Thames railway station a bit under five hours after I’d left Goring & Streatley railway station – and just in time to catch the train taking me the first part of the way home.
This morning I started at 7am and fitted in a 10-mile run before work. It was slow, but was my first proper “back-to-back” (or B2B for short) in about two months, so I’m pleased to have managed it.
Next weekend: Winter Tanners!