On a dark and dreary evening in February I did what most keen club enthusiast do - go into a mild fit of panic and binge book events to fill their sporting calendar for the summer ahead.
Having dates in the diary is a great motivator. It gives you a reason to push through the long and dark winter months in the hope of going that little bit faster and further than the previous year.
The highlight of my sporting calendar was the Thames Ultra - a one day event with a choice of two distances - 45km challenge starting at Bray or the 75km endurance challenge starting in Henley and finishing at Teddington in London. Without hesitation I opted for the 75km for the simple reason it's my home stretch of water and I liked the idea that I’d paddle from home to London. Besides how hard could it be - the race travelled in the direction of the flow and I had months to prepare.
Unfortunately, the start of the year didn’t pan out as expected, so getting to the start line fit enough to participate was a challenge enough. I succeeded in my aim and surpassed my expectations finishing in a time of 8hrs 59min - feeling ecstatic to be greeted at the finish line by fellow club members who had also participated (Sam, Hugh, Tom and Silvia) and supported along the route (Candice, Eugenie, Gill and Adrian). Paddlers were also helped by conducive weather conditions, plus the fact that we’d had a significant amount of rainfall the week prior meant that the flow on the river offered some assistance …until a stiff an persistent headwind kicked in for the final 25km!
The Thames Ultra certainly lived-up to its label of a ‘challenge’ but with the support of friends and family along the route, plentiful words of encouragement from fellow Both have agreed to send something through by Monday!
Date posted: Fri, 26 Jul 2019