Over 2,000 runners take part in Race to the Stones 2016

Image: Race to the Stones Facebook page

This weekend saw over 2,000 participants take on the 100K Race to the Stones, the UK’s 'most popular' ultra marathon which heads along the oldest path in Britain. The path runs from the Chilterns in Oxfordshire to the Thames Crossing at Goring, which then rises up onto the North Wessex Downs.

Wyclef Forbes was the first male to finish with a time of 8:19:13, breaking the course record by almost a minute having previously coming second place in the 2014 Race to the Stones. First female place went to Hannah Turner, who crossed the line in 10:41:14.

The event, sponsored by Dixons Carphone, put up a base camp for those such as Kieran who took an overnight stop between legs. This provided the participants with rest, food and a massage to prepare for the next day ahead. Others chose to run the race non-stop, such as 40-year-old artistic director Tony Trigwell-Jones who finished the event in 13:44:44. Tony found running with company was the way to tackle the colossal challenge. "You can pull each other through the darker moments when you feel you've nothing left. I was broken by 80K, my ears wouldn't stop popping and I barely had the energy wipe away the sweat but my running partner, who I think now was equally struggling, was brutal. He pulled me through those last miles," Tony told Runner's World. "Except for finally crossing the finish line, unable to fully comprehend what we'd done, the high point was the the 5K to go sign - which coincided with a long, steady drop into Avebury."

For many participants the ultra experience was a first. Runner Kieran Dale completed the race in two 50K legs over Saturday and Sunday in 14:16:26. “Myself and my friend run marathons and we’re always looking for the next bigger challenge. This was my first ultra experience. Two in two days is maybe a bit crazy but it’s a great feeling when you cross the line.”

24-year-old Esther Carter, a digital marketing consultant and another first-time ultra runner, said "When I first began running, completing the couch to 5K seemed like a huge challenge. Flash forward two years and there I was at the start of a 100K non-stop ultra marathon, totally terrified. Race to the Stones was physically and mentally the toughest thing I have ever done but also so rewarding. There were incredible views, an electric atmosphere and well-stocked, supportive pit stops every 10K along the way."

To take on next year’s Race to the Stones, apply here: www.racetothestones.com