We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Hey there, Don't forget to log in and join the conversation Log in

Thames Path Challenge

07-Sep-2019 Putney Bridge, Bishop's Park, Fulham, UK (England)


Image Mask
Trail Race Race Terrain
100KM / 62Miles
2 Days

Alternate Distances: 50KM/31M 28KM/17M 22KM 10KM

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  

The Challenge

Keen Challengers will take on the main Thames Path Challenge following England's greatest river this September. Our full 100km route heads upstream from Putney Bridge past Hampton Court to Runnymede of Magna Carta fame at 50km, then on past wonderful scenery all the way to Henley.

The Thames Path Challenge will be one of the UK's biggest Ultra Run events in 2018. Setting out early Saturday morning, before the walkers onto a clear path - runners will pitch their stamina and speed on the full 100km ultra marathon course, either of the two 50km 'marathon plus' routes, or two of the 25km legs which are just over a half-marathon!

All runners receive:

  • FREE hot food at Major Rest Stops (except 1st) & at the finish line

  • FREE snacks & drinks at all Major & Mid Point Rest Stops

  • FREE energy gels & energy drinks

  • FREE Baggage Transfers (30 L rucksack MAX)

  • Medics & doctors on hand at all Rest Stops

  • Massages available at 50km Rest Stop

  • Specialised runner warm up and stretch at the start line

  • Finishers medal, t-shirt & glass of bubbly

  • Shuttle service from the finish line to nearest mainline station

  • Support vehicles on hand throughout event

  • Timing chips & timing website for friends / family to track you


You pay an initial registration fee to sign up to the challenge - the fee is paid per person for individuals and members of a team, the fee secures your place on the challenge & is non-refundable.


  • Full Challenge - £185 / person 

  • Half Challenge - £125 / person

  • Quarter Challenge - £75 / person

Fundraise for charity

By registering & signing up you are committing to a minimum fundraising target for the charity of your choice, which depends upon the distance that you've selected.

  • Full Challenge - From £60 Reg Fee  (normally £80) + £425 minimum fundraising

  • Half Challenge - £45 Reg Fee (normally £60) + £275 minimum fundraising

  • Quarter Challenge - £30 Reg Fee (normally £40) + £175 minimum fundraising

It's your challenge your way!

We also organise:

• Isle of Wight Challenge
• South Coast Challenge
• Thames Bridge Trek
• London to Brighton Challenge
• Henley 10K Challenge
• Jurassic Coast Challenge
• Wye Valley Challenge
• Cotswold Way Challenge


Event Organiser
Nicola Smith



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Thames Path Challenge

You must be logged in to add your review, click here to login or register

Comment Arrow


09:53 10-09-17

Thames Path Challenge September 2017 (50km)
I decided (after reading reviews on this site) to run the 50km rather than 100km as my first Ultramarathon experience. I have previously run 5 marathons but had never gone beyond the 26 mile distance.
Overall, I was really impressed with the organisation of the race. The scenery is amazing as you run along the Thames and obviously the course is very flat. The sign-posting is good although the section through Walton-on-Thames when you leave the river is a little complicated and I did hear of a couple of runners who went the wrong way.
The terrain is mainly muddy footpaths, some decent paths at times and some running across grass.
I like the fact that the race is for charity but you don't have to raise a huge amount (unlike the London marathon for example) and is was definitely worth the entrance fee - there were a number of rest stops where you could take food and drink on board with toilets.
There are lots of walkers as well as runners but they start later on - the start time of 6.45am felt a bit daunting but actually it got me going early and meant I was finished by 11am.
Considering this was my first one, I was pleased to come 2nd but I am really glad I didn't enter the 100km, I would definitely need more experience before moving to that distance.
The only negatives I can think of is that you had to get "zapped" at each check point with your race chip which was a bit annoying and when I arrived at the 50km point the hot food wasn't ready (fine for me but less so for the faster 100km runners as they arrived).
All in all a great event which I would definitely recommend!

Comment Arrow


07:17 22-09-15

A long day on the Thames Path 2015 - 100km Race
Last year I had competed in the TPC 50k and decided that this year I would officially step into the ultra-running arena.
I had around 80 good training runs under my belt unlike my preparation for the 50km which consisted of around nine runs and a lot of grit.
I felt I was as ready as I ever would be, some anxious feelings were looming on the week leading up to the race but come race day I was ready.
0645 the race organisers, Action Challenge, decided to get everyone warmed up with some Zumba, I didn’t partake as I knew it was coming so decided to stretch and get in the zone.
0700 the horn blew and the 200 or so runners were off through the start line and everything came to a standstill, as the masses squeezed their way up the narrow staircase and over Putney bridge.
Having raced past the crowds I managed to settle in to a comfortable pace.
The checkpoints are well placed at around 12 -14km apart initially it felt like they came too quickly but as the day drew on and the mind started to wander it felt like they were never going to come.
Half way at 50km and I took time, too much time in hindsight, to change socks and try and get some solid food down as I began to feel sick. And I was off again into the unknown as I last year this was the furthest I had ran so the next 10km was probably my wall. Felt grumpy not very sure about myself and annoyed that I had tried a new drink on “Race day”, I can hear all the experienced ultra veterans screaming at me now, but none the less I got through it and carried plodding on.
It dawned on me that my sickness may have been due to heat exhaustion and dehydration as I wasn’t passing much fluid and I had artificially cooled myself down mid race.
Anyway it was quite a lonely old race as the front pack had dispersed and were running their own race as expected. I hit the proverbial wall again at around 81 km as a road marker told me to turn right, so I did as it said and was presented with a huge white stone wall. I looked up and down for a way around it and couldn’t get my head around why they would do this, until I saw the next marker at the end of the road, this was fatigue kicking in.
After the final checkpoint at around 88km there seemed to be a sadistic trail featuring footbridges that were too steep to climb without footholds, this was quite unwelcome by this stage I can tell you.
A few people ran past towards the end and talked about the lovely scenery, I don’t recall seeing much of it if I am honest but the weather held out which made it more pleasant.
90km done only 10km to do and my knees locked out and sickness came back but sheer brute ignorance dragged me through.
I managed to complete the 100km course in 12hrs 51minutes placing 28th overall, I was pleased but not as elated as I thought I would be.
It is a well organised event and a great intro to 100km racing but I have realised that my dreams weren’t big enough so UTMB watch out I am coming for you.

Comment Arrow


01:53 15-09-15

Completed the Thames Path Challenge first quarter for Arthritis Research UK this year. Brilliantly organised, no chance of getting lost. Saw sights of SW London I didn't know existed, considering I lived near Putney for 2 years! Would definitely do it again.

Comment Arrow


08:25 05-11-14

A quick pint on the way home and listen to a short presentation, what could go wrong? A few months later I’m standing in Putney with taped nipples and vaseline.

Organisers Action Challenge ran a short introduction to their events at a local pub I pass on the way home. They do a few through the year aimed mainly at walkers with a growing number of runners taking part. I was lucky enough to win entry into an event of my choice and picked the Thames Path Challenge, mainly because I live near the start and it’s flat. The challenge includes a pledge to raise funds for a charity of your choice. I ran for Streetlytes (www.streetlytes.org), a small London based organisation who provide support to those in need.

With a few months to prepare I spent about 2 weeks devising a training schedule and then actually got started. With a mid-summer long distance triathlon I balanced my time between swimming, biking and running. Total hours running was not massive but the amount of exercise seemed ok without taking over my life.

Roll on 13th September and I headed to the park just north of Putney Bridge. I forced down a massive bowl of porridge for breakfast and was carrying a selection of energy gels, cereal bars and nuts to keep me going. I arrived in good time to chat to a few people, stash a bag to be taken to the finish and take a quick photo.

7am and we were off. A steady pace back over the bridge and on to a very familiar stretch of the Thames Path towards Hammersmith, Kew and Richmond. After about 10 minutes everyone seemed pretty spread out and I started getting into a rhythm. I had decided on a 25/5 run/walk split so I could eat and drink and soon settled into a game of leapfrog with some familiar faces.

The first of many well stocked aid stations (about every 12.5km) had fruit, nuts, energy bars, crisps, sweets and more. I topped up by bottle, grabbed a few orange segments and set off.

From the start everyone seemed pretty eager to chat and around Hampton Court I first started talking to Ross. He was also aiming for a 12 hour finish but also treating it as training for a trip to Chile.

I spent most of the day with Ross chatting through an assortment of topics, choosing which river side property to buy and attempting mental arithmetic to work out our pace and predicted finishing time.

Each 5km became a goal to celebrate with some big mile stones at the first marathon and half way. The midpoint was a massive confidence boost and we started the count down, only a marathon and a bit to go!

I turned down the offer of a meal at the half way check point (possibly a mistake) as I wanted to get going and got cracking on the second half at about 12:30. The day was getting pretty hot by then and I think a combination of not drinking enough and not eating enough earlier on was beginning to take its toll.

Around this point we were running with Alix who decided our pace and banter suited him so we became a small group of 3 for a long stretch.

From here my mood definitely came in waves. I was having a never ending argument in my head. On one side what was the point, there are plenty of nice looking pubs to stop in? On the other the reasons I was taking part, simply to see if I could and to raise funds for Streetlytes.

We carried on with the slow count down from a marathon to 30km, 20km and the final check point with about 12km to go. Ross and I both needed to stop for drinks but Alix was feeling good and went ahead.

Throughout the day we thought we might still be on for a sub 12 hour finish but this was the point we realized we might not make it. On a good day without having run 88km already we both could have made it with a couple of minutes to spare but the pace had dropped, although I still felt like I was still pushing as much as I could.

The last few km’s ticked by and we made our way slowly into Henley including a high five from the guy on the motorbike we had seen over the day dishing out support to everyone. To make the full distance the route went up through the town but then back down to the water front so we managed to get our legs moving for the final kilometre. We finally saw the flags at the finish and surprisingly managed a sprint to the line (possibly not as fast in real life as I thought). Handshakes, a medal and a glass of Champaign and I don’t think I have ever been more pleased to sit down.

Alix had a fantastic final 12km and made it in around 11:55. Ross and I managed 12:10 and we were both happy.

All in all a great event. A fantastic path taking in the river, locks, pubs, churches (we ran through a wedding), villages, harbours, some houses I’m not sure lottery money could buy and a wide variety of well-wishers either out to support other runners/walkers or just a bit astonished by what we were doing.

It was extremely well organised and a massive thank you must go out to all the marshals and aid station volunteers. Great to meet and chat to many people over the day, I just wish I could remember everyone’s name.

A few things for me to think about.

• My fitness level was very good but no substitute for time on your feet for long distance running as the physical battering really got to my legs.
• My eating plan was ok for the first half but fell to pieces. I ended up fairly dehydrated with very little energy.
• Trail shoes might have been better than road as the soles of my feet were pretty sore towards the end.

My run was in aid of Streetlytes so please check out what they do.

Ran in 2014

Have you run one of these races?

Add your race review
to the race page for your
chance to win great kit
like these

Not a member?

Join Now

It takes less than
a minute