84 Miles, 3 Day, Multistage Ultra November 9th -11th
If it's going to be daylight then I don't think you need a recce at all, unless you're really going for a time and don't want to think about navigation at all. Having said that there are a few places you need to be aware of but provided you spend a bit of time with a map beforehand you'll be fine.
Starting from Ivinghoe the first half has more opportunities to take a wrong turn. I've got my map out and will point out where I think you need to take care:
1m in, Ridgeway comes off to the right out of the woods and downhill through a field.
Running through Tring be aware the Ridgeway comes out on the left. Easy.
Right turn just before Hastoe. you pop out of a wood and turn left, then are greeted with a road bending round to the left and a sharp right hander on the corner. You want to go right. This cost me about 2.5 miles
Fairly easy until Wendover. Once you pop out onto the high street go left and follow straight out of town over the railway bridge. No signs on the high street so it's good to know that you just need to keep going straight. Ridgeway appears again once you cross the bridge.
At the top of the hill after Wendover you want to bear left behind the monument.
Just before Princes Risborough you cross a road and come to a gate. There is a track straight on down a hill parallel to the road, or a left turn, you want the left turn.
Out of Princes Risborough you turn left onto a road for ~800m, then turn right and continue on road for another 500m before picking the trail up again.
Easy for quite a while now, just keep going straight basically. When you cross the A4130 at Nuffield there is a pub over the road and a golf course behind it. I got a bit lost here and went to the left of the pub, I think the correct route is to the right of the pub. Either way, remember that you need to run through the golf course and into Nuffield.
Doddle from here to Goring. Cross the Thames and turn right at the top, signposted I think. Left turn shortly after, again should be signposted but just be aware you will be on road for 2.5k so don't panic that you're lost!
Again, it's simple for a good while now. There are lots of paths crossing the Ridgeway but essentially you keep going straight and it's all well signposted. You will run alongside some gallops and then meet another trail like a T junction, go right here. It is signposted but the sign isn't completely obvious.
When you get to the A34 you take the trail to the right which goes under the road. Simples. Then back to going straight.
There is a road crossing after Wantage monument. In that section there is a fairly sharp left hander with a smaller trail going straight on. Should be ok in daylight but you want to follow round to the left.
Super easy for 10m or so until the trail drops down hill and hits a road (there are lots of these before hand but this is the first one you don't just cross over and carry on). Go left here and follow the road straight for about 1m or so, crossing over the M4. Left at the junction and trail will pick up again on your right.
Straightforward until you get to the A346 at Ogbourne St George. Cross the road and follow the lane down and round the the right then left. You'll come to another T and you want to go right, should be signposted.
After a brief spell on road you turn left up a hill and come to a couple of gates next to each other. You want the on on the left which goes up the hill. Long hill
The rest should be easy.
As for hills, there is definitely more up and down towards the start, especially into and out of towns. Nothing too scary though. The middle is mostly flat then it picks up again after Wantage. Not as steep as earl
thank you Shawk!! im going to print all that out !!
Shawk - thanks for the above information, points to be aware of will be marked on my map. Looking at the map it appears that there is a checkpoint close to most of the areas you have mentioned, so thats added reassurance. I haven't run the first half but I have found navigation from Streatley to avebury relatively easy and well sign posted, and I haven't had to refer to my map yet.
Looking forward to it
charlotte i thought the last bit was pretty straightforward too looks like im gettingthe hilly bit at the start then
loulabell - when I did the Ridgeway 40 I looked forward to the hills as it was my excuse to start walking, are you doing the Thames Trot 50 as well?
yes!! i was thinking that the other day and discussing it with Rocker - i actually look forward to some inclines and hills now as its a natural pointer to walk/eat etc!
yes im doing TT50 as well, are you?
i will see you at Abingdon wont i? if i can find you-havnt felt too well these last 2/3 weeks if im honest and have been on/off /on /off about running Abingdon as i dont want to trash myself for Druids as im really looking forward to it.
Loulabell - yes i am doing Abingdon and Thames Trot, hope you start to feel better soon. I am starting to feel tired now, its been an exhausting, but succesful year, having started ultras and triathlon this year as well as the marathon running.
Charlotte - I'll see you at all of the above too then!!
hi charlotte, yes for me too its been an exciting year of new things , i did my first marathon and first 2 ultras too,both of increasing distance . so its been fun and a lot of learning,but like you say tiring too with all the new demands put on our bodies. still, we can say we have achieved a lot and learnt a lot and will be stronger and better in 2013
Shawk thanks so much for all that info – that’s amazing and very useful. I’ll print off and have take it along with me when I recce or at least sit down with a map and mark out each place. Hoping that it’ll all be fairly straight-forward, as you say, coz I bloody hate getting lost, but thanks anyway.
Good luck Charlotte, Ultrarocker and Loula for Abingdon – hope you can all make it and achieve what you’re hoping for. I’m looking forward to this one, though feeling pretty unprepared. I have a one hour tempo session planned for tomorrow and a 2 hour relaxed run on Sunday. Hoping to get up to the course next weekend and do a couple of longer days before winding it down for a couple of weeks. Seems ridiculous to taper when I haven't trained hard…I may just keep building and taper after the race!
Apart from the Abingdon crew, what else is one everyone else’s schedule for this weekend in prep for the Druid? James
thank you James! hope you enjoy your runs this weekend
i prob wint be able to make it the following weekend for a recce so druids will be run without a preview for me-but ive never recced anything before now so why break the habit of a lifetime
I'm doing Beachy next Saturday so this is a bit of a rest for me. I did a few miles round the Box Hill area yesterday checking out shoes and other gear. At one point had to crawl on all fours up a particularly steep hill - fortunately found another way down so did not have to come down on not so bare behind!
Julian - Abingdon marathon for me tomorrow. Have fun on your 20 miles tomorrow. I do most of my off road running along the Kennet and Avon canal, between Aldermaston and Kintbury and sometimes incorporating Greenham Common.
Bear - good luck for Beachy next week.
Many thanks charlotte,
All the best for tomorow .
Thankyou for the good wishes for Abingdon. I finished in 3:38:21, which is a p.b by over a minute . Didn't spot the others on here running, and as I was cold I didn't take my jumper of until the last minute so it was unlikely they spotted my number!
Julian - how did your back to back 20 milers go?
Well done Charlotte and congrats on your PB. I bet you're over the moon?
Back to backs went well, thanks for asking. The Druid will be my first ultra so my target was 10 min miles which I nailed on Saturday. Halfway was Kintbury in 1:40 and got back to Thatcham in 3:20 so I was spot on. Sunday was V hard. I was eating breakfast in the dark and the thought of going out and doing the same was tough. I did and ran the same route in 3:30, a bit slower but confirmed my target pace for the Druid will by 10 min ish miles. I have never run 2 days in a row and 26.2 is my longest ever run, so I was suprised that my body coped. I think day 3 will be intersting... but I am looking forward to the challenge.
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