Thames Path 100

Hi everyone! I’ve entered my first 100 miler this year, does anyone have any tips for moving up to this distance or for completing the Thames Path 100 please? I’ve done a couple of 50 milers and have covered 74 miles in a 24 hour race last year. I’m getting over the overwhelming fear that wakes me up in the middle of the night, ‘what have I done!’😱 but my biggest worry is how to stay awake and run through night, any suggestions very gratefully received!


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Hi MR2.  I've done three 100s and DNFd at mile 72 of this one in 2014.

    Have you built up good mileage over the winter?  Have you perhaps got a couple of marathons or a shorter ultra booked between now and this one?  If you have, treat them as long training runs with no heroics.  Your last long run should be 3 weeks before your 100 to allow a taper.

    Centurionrunning cutoffs are reasonably generous but do not allow time for dithering at checkpoints.  This is where a lot of inexperienced runners lose a lot of time.  You've just got to keep moving forward, and you may find a lot of it in the latter stages is at or not much faster than walking pace.

    I'll be coming back to complete a TP100, perhaps in 2019.

    The course is very attractive (on a nice day!) but always make sure you are on the right side of the river or you could end up with a long backtrack to the bridge you should have crossed, or a tricky swim.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Staying awake at night isn't an issue, I've found.  You just carry on as normal - although you often are not moving as quickly as you think you are!  At night one of the great features of long ultras is the tendency to buddy up, totally unintentionally, into happy groups of complete strangers.  And there is the feeling of hunting and being hunted with headtorches in front and behind.  Less of a factor in TP100 than others because you are following a linear feature, there is still the need to navigate accurately.  Nothing worse than doing a few extra miles in a 100! 

    In other words there is plenty to occupy yourself with to not feel sleepy.

    I usually have a low at sunrise - I feel rubbish, especially when you meet local runners out for their early morning training run looking clean and fresh, and I'm dirty, stinking, and shuffling.  I get past it, usually, and manage a reasonably strong finish.  I didn't in 2014 due to the onset of a dangerous medical condition - one of the ones described on the race website!

    All the best with your preparation.  I or others on here will try to answer any questions you might have.
  • T Rex thank you so much! ? Fab advice, I hadn’t thought about the time wasted at checkpoints, over that distance I can see how it would add up. I did the Thames Path 50 last month so at least I’m a little familiar with part of the route (although it was horrendously muddy this year!) and have a 3-day ultra next week. Although the TP50 was tiring (mainly due to the mud and rain!) I didn’t feel completely broken at the end although the thought of doing another 50 miles wasn’t very inviting ? So glad to hear that the overnight running isn’t the complete nightmare I have been imagining (although I’m not expecting to enjoy it) ? Do you have any tips for combatting the sunrise low? Will certainly look out for runners that know the way, not very trusting if my swimming skills ?I love the friendships that develop along the way in ultras, I should imagine this is even deeper running through the night!

    Dangerous medical condition! ? oh no! Hope you managed to fully recover ? A 3 week taper sounds like a good idea, I have only ever done a 10 day one before but I can see that you need to build up your energy reserves for 100 miles.

    Oh and drop bags are completely new to me, I’m thinking fresh sock and either fresh shoes or fresh clothes, do you have any tips or things which you might not think you need untill you’re 70 miles in?
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Yes, if there are 13 checkpoints and you spend just 10 minutes at each, that's over two hours!  Target a few CPs for longer stays and others you just breeze through giving in your number only.

    A useful thing is to carry a supply of small food bags.  Put some goodies in from the CPs and then you can eat them at leisure after leaving the CP.  This is better for your digestion (which needs to be slow) rather than stuffing your face at the food table.

    Nutrition is one of the hardest things in long events.  By all means start off with gels and energy bars, etc but after a while you will need 'normal' food, often savoury.  An important thing is to start eating from the very first CP onwards - don't give your stomach chance to empty, which leads to nausea and difficult progress involving a lot of throwing up and walking.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Believe me, you will enjoy the night section - it will be memorable.  You will be surprised how well you can keep awake, especially if you are in a cheerful group.  Yes, groups can be very friendly overnight.  It seems to happen impromptu, without planning it.  You rarely get solo runners doing their own thing at night.

    It is difficult to keep going longer than 24 hours - you'll just have to plod on and hope you feel better nearer the finish.  You think to yourself, "I started this race this time yesterday.  What on earth am I still doing out here?"  You'll begin to question why you're doing it.  You may even have to walk the last 10,15, 20 miles but you'll get there.  And get your fabulous T-shirt and buckle for which you'll need to buy a buckleless belt.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Drop bags.  It is a good idea to have a change of shoes and socks at halfway.  The Henley CP is only a gazebo which makes a complete change of clothing a difficult and cold business.  You'll need to put on an extra layer for the night, and gloves and a hat.  Running by the river at night can be cold. 

    The other drop bag CP is Streatley which is rather a long way to go on one set of shoes.  With shoes it is a good idea to have your second pair a half a even whole size larger than your first pair - to allow for feet swelling.

    A word of advice about drop bags.  Do not put valuables in them!  Despite ROs' best intentions drop bags have been known to go missing so keep money, ccs, and especially car keys on you at all times.  Also do not put your headtorch in the drop bag - you might need it earlier than you think and before the CP where you have left it!!

    Keep some lubricant on you e.g. Bodyglide for any chafing.  I carry foot powder and clean socks on me as well.

    Don't forget to put everything in drybags.

    And adhere to the mandatory kit list.  Kit is checked at registration.

    That'll do for now ...
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    In 2014 I went down with Rhabdomyolysis and had to be whisked to A&E pronto where I was put on a drip for 36 hours.  Not advisable.
  • T Rex, you are a total star, thank you so much for your advice!

    Wow! When you put it like that 2 hours could easily be lost at CPs, will make sure I decide on a few to pause in, the others I’ll go through as quickly as possible. Plastic bags for snacks are a fab idea, I struggle to eat if I don’t have something every hour right from the start, have made that mistake before, keen to avoid throwing up as you run again, grazing as you go sounds a much better idea.

    Ahh good to know which CPs you can’t change in ? Will def bring spare shoes and socks to both, no valuables, head torch in backpack not drop bag, all really good to know.

    Oh my goodness! Have just googled rhabdomyolysis ??? That sounds horrendous! Was that caused by the distance? Are you ok now?
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    I've no idea of the actual cause, but the two times I have had it in long ultras they were reasonably warm days so possibly linked to dehydration.  If slightly out of condition or overtired, as again I was, there is an increased risk of muscle damage which can lead to rhabdo.

    The other occasion was in the Ridgeway 86 - I spent 20 miles gradually getting slower, got through the last CP within a whisker of the cut-off, and ground to a halt with just 2 miles to go. One leg had turned rigid with no motor control.

    I'm OK now (I think).  I promised Mrs T Rex no more 100-milers but I slipped in the Autumn 100 last year to no ill effect.
  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭
    If you got to the start line today, I was the one-person cheering point on Kingston Bridge! Was that Barley who trotted past not in the race?
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    How did you get on, MuddyRunner2?

    A little bit warm for it.  I suppose you could detour into the river from time to time to cool off a bit?
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    MuddyRunner - you OK??
  • T Rex: I finally got around to a 100-miler (Viking 100, as a nice safe starting 100 - no logistics, no navigation) and in contrast to you my biggest problem was staying awake overnight. Did a bit better on the Ridgeway 86 in August, by listening to an audiobook, but still slowed down a lot due to sleepiness more than leg tiredness. Have booked for SDW100 now. How are you doing?
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Hi Debra.  I'm trying to do one 100-mile race or own challenge every year.   This year's is coming up very soon - too soon - four laps of the Snowdonia marathon.  I'm injured at the moment with an inflamed superior extensor retinaculum (a tendon across the top of the ankle and bottom of shin) so it's touch and go.

    In 2019 I'm looking to enter the Beacons 100 - immensely tough but with a 48-hour time limit so should be OK!
  • T Rex, glad to hear you're still managing the occasional 100 - with no more rhabdomyolysis. I have two booked for next year: Samphire 100 (hoping to go under 24 hours!) and SDW 100 - and the Ridgeway again. Really need to improve on staying awake and moving forwards. Although the slow pace forced on me by sleepiness in the Viking 100 meant much faster recovery than after the Ridgeway 86 (less elevation/descent at Viking as well, of course, which may also have had an effect).
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