Race to the Stones 2015

I've been wanting to do an ultra for years and have made tentative plans for working toward one a few times, but now (having gained permission from my Wife!) is the time to take the plunge and I think Race to the Stones is the one for me (if it's on, as I heard somewhere that Carphone Warehouse are out and they're still after a sponsor.) It's about ten months away so plenty of time for preparation, it looks like decent terrain (not too flat or too hilly) and it's a good, challenging distance.

It probably won't actually be my first Ultra as I would likely do at least a 40 miler during training, but it would definitely be my A race for the year. I've run two marathons in the past year and do a weekly base mileage of around 20 miles, plus around 30 miles on the bike. I won't be able to go huge on the training as I'm quite busy, but I will definitely be giving it a lot of focus. My two marathons became total and utter obsessions leading up to them!

Anyway, does anybody have any thoughts on this race as a choice for a first 100k? I see there's a two day option but my thinking is that I'd be better pushing on and getting the whole thing done as I never sleep well in a tent and that would make starting again the next day seriously difficult.



  • Gotta say, the Ridgeway Challenge that I failed to complete this year is pretty much all the ridgeway so around 138km and costs about 1/3rd of the price and has very friendly check points, and takes place over a bank holiday weekend so convenient (possibly), so same course I presume as I think the race to the stones is over the same course isn't it?

  • Sounds good. My only concern (and it's a big one!) is the additional distance. 60 miles sounds doable (although a massive challenge) but put an extra marathon on top and I'd worry I was setting myself up for a failure. My guess is that training for and starting a race with that attitude makes it almost a foregone conclusion.

    Might be a distance I could work towards (I would love to do a one 100 miler in my life) but as a first big race, I'm not sure.

  • image sensible answer image

    I did an expensive one the Wall this year, and that was a real disappointment, not because anything was wrong with it, but at that price I don't know what you expect but it's almost like i felt i was expecting something more than if you pay say £40 for a race, and in reality it's no different. So as long as you bear that in mind then good luck.

    That probably makes no sense at all image


  • I know what you mean. It is expensive and you might expect a bit more in terms of support etc, but I guess the big difference is that at these big sponsored events, the marshalls etc are paid, rather than being volunteers. Whether or not that makes an overall difference to the experience, who knows. Obviously not a big enough one at The Wall!

    How far did you get at the Ridgeway then? Back for another go next year?

  • Went in with an injured hip and it's it hurt to much wimped out after about 21m image 

    yes will be back next year, loved it and really looking forward to beating the distance next year. 

  • I did the Race to the Stones this year as my first 100k. Here's some of the thing I liked and didn't like:


    - regular checkpoints, well stocked and you get a free warm meal (pasta/soup)  at halfway and the finish

    - well organized overall (shuttle buses to the start/finish, baggage transport etc.)

    - lots of people participating so you usually had someone to chat 

    - scenic course on trails


    - quite expensive compared to some other races

    - start/finish locations are in the middle of nowhere so can be hard to get there and back, I think a few finishers had to wait quite a while to get the bus shuttle back to the start, which is another 2 hour ride, not ideal after running 100k

    So overall I think it's not the worst event for your first longer ultra as the course is not too difficult (a few steep hills in the first half but all manageable) assuming that you'll be willing to pay a bit extra knowing that there's plenty of support along the way and because there's also a non-stop walking option you shouldn't be in trouble with cut-offs

  • Agree with what you say FWo - the transport to start and from finish are the real problems, they just add unecessary stress to the whole event which - apart from a few minor quibbles - is well organised but expensive.

  • Thanks FWo. I quite like the idea of doing a big event for my first as it should be well supported and organised as you say and I'm willing to pay for that. I certainly wouldn't do events like that regularly. Not too worried about start and finish locations as hopefully I will be able to get dropped off and picked up.

    The elevation looks reasonable. I like an undulating course, but didn't want anything too mountainous. Didn't know about the generous cut offs, so that's good to know!

  • Personally, i'd go for the SVP100. Whilst not as big as the race to the stones, it's no where near as expensive. i ran it this year and found it to be one of the best organised events i've ever done. the route was well marked (and very scenic) with the added bonus of having no major hills to contend with, the aid stations were fantastic (didn't even have to fill my water bottle, they did everything for me) and there was always someone to chat with on the route image

  • Thanks Bear and way2slow.

    SVP100 looks good but it's quite a bit further away from me. Race to the Stones finish at Avebury is only just over an hour from my house, whereas the finish for SVP100 is more like four hours. After running 100K, I reckon that's going to be very important!

    Actually, the chatting to other runners thing isn't that big a sell for me. I'm quite happy having short chats and a bit of cameraderie but would definitely not want to have to make small talk for hours on end. I got chatting to someone near the start of my last marathon and, although she was very nice, I couldn't face chatting for the duration as I really felt I needed to focus inwards a bit. I had to make an excuse to go off to the portaloos to avoid awkwardness!

    Anybody else planning a crack at Race to the Stones this year?

  • @way2slow, glad you enjoyed the SVP100 aid stations, I was helping out at the 40 mile one image

  • I come from a similar background to yourself, having done a couple of marathons earlier this year and i do a similar weekly mileage. I done r2ts's this year as my first Ultra (other than a couple of long training runs) and really enjoyed it..... And completed it in a time I was pretty happy with.

    If you are prepared to swallow the entry cost it is definitely a well organised event and a good choice for your first Ultra. The pit stops are all well stocked and break the course up well into manageable bite size pieces, and the terrain underfoot is pretty easy going. The showers at the end were also a nice touch.

    And I would definitely do it in one go. If you have done marathon distance previously then by the time you get half way you will still be feeling pretty good. Like you say a night in a tent will only stiffen you up for the following day and that will be no fun. Doing it in one hit will also give you an extra day to recover before having to go back to work/normal life.

    Just one word of warning for you though...... when you finish the race you will say never again. Then before you know it you WILL be looking at the 100 milers! lol

  • Thanks Vincent. I just want registration to open so I can sign up. I don't feel I can focus on it until I'm officially in!

  • Also thinking about this for my first ultra - it appeals to me because of scenery and location (not too far from where I live).

    I did the London Marathon this year and an iron-distance triathlon, so looking for a new challenge for next year! image

  • I am also looking at RTTS as my first Ultra.  I've done a couple of marathons, but never gone longer.  It is a scary but challenging thought.

    At the minute, my preference is for the 2 day option .  This is totally down to me not really wanting to run into / through the night with a head torch. 

    Also, I think the camping might be a laugh.

    My one big concern is getting home afterwards.


  • Considering this also.  Th eonly donside i can see if the transport at the end.  Planning for the non stop option.

  • Here is a useful list of the best value ultra marathons in the UK: http://climbers.net/race/value-ultras.php as I know a number of people have complained about cost.

    There are write ups about RTTS, SVP100 and many other races in this months Ultra Tales, which might help:


  • That's my weekend reading sorted - thanks Matthew !

  • I did the stones this year, great event , I did the 2 day option and the evening atmosphere was great, day 2 was far harder as the ground was more cobble and hard ground so really took its toll on the old knees! Checkpoints gotta give them 9/10 fully manned and stocked, few dubious items available though! (Curly wurlys) etc???? yes its  pricey but it's also a very memorable event, the ONLY negative against this race personally for me was that the official photographer was on a "Pee" break when myself and my buddy ran over the finish line, hence no finish picture!!! 

  • Chris - I'm still considering this event.  As you did the 2 day option last year, can you shed a bit more light on what's available at the overnight stop. 

    If Day 1 starts at 0900ish, then aren't people arriving at the overnight stop in the middle of the afternoon / early evening ?  That seems like a long lay-over.  What time did Day 2 start ?

  • Is this race a definited 2 point allocation towards the UTMB?   The RTTS says it is but looking at the UTMB webpage this race is not listed.

    Can anyone shed light on this?





  • Snapdragon - Day 2 was a staggered start and you were able to choose when, more or less.  I did the 2 day but stayed in a hotel rather than camped.  Didn't seem to help the legs much for day 2 though!

    It was a long stopover - think I finished day 1 around 1.00pm.

  • Where did you hear that IGIT? Website is still saying dates TBC.

    I did see on Twitter about three weeks ago that they were going to announce dates within a fortnight, but not heard anything since. Starting to wonder if it's definitely on as I did hear rumours of Carphone Warehouse pulling sponsorship.

  • Their Facebook page said they were having a little delay to announcing dates because they were exploring some new possibilities....( Autumn maybe).    Sounds like it's by no means nailed down yet.

  • Thanks, just checked the Facebook page. Looks like that's where they put all of the updates and do nothing on Twitter, Website or email!

  • I hope they get a wiggle on and get a date set. 

  • Sorry to get peoples hopes up there - I was excited about the dates being announced and then....nothing. HURRY UP.

    They originally said they would announce by end of October and we're nearly at the end of November now!

  • It's pretty piss poor really. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't happen. If it does, I hope all this arsing around isn't indicative of the way the actual event runs. I think that if they haven't sorted it out this week, I'll start thinking about a different event.

  • It would be good if they updated their web page with the latest. 


    CotswoldRunner- are you after the 2 UTMB points?

    Have been looking at The Oner which is interesting, kind of local to me

Sign In or Register to comment.