Ridgeway 40

7th May 2011, Ridgeway 40

The Ridgeway 40 is a local challenge event, which involves walking 40 miles of the Ridgeway from its starting point at Overton Hill near Avebury to Streatley. The only real rule is that it has to be completed in one day, from set off time at 8am to a closure time of around 10pm (so approximately 14 hours). It has been running for 50 years, with 2011 marking the 49th event (it wasn’t run during the foot and mouth restrictions).

A number of club members have completed the crossing over the years, many more than once, and this year marked a record number of NMC members entering and completing.

A number of club practice walks had been run prior to the event, which included Richard’s 22 mile Lambourn Valley Way, which was far too enjoyable, and Claire’s 30 mile circular route from Aldbourne which suffered a few casualties!

During the weeks leading up to the walk, the weather had been brilliant, and not a drop of rain had fallen – but in the early hours of 7th May torrential rain commenced! But luckily after passing the first checkpoint (at 7 miles) the rain stopped, we dried out in the warm air, and the weather stayed fine until later in the evening.

Georgie and Bruce were forced to retire before the end due to blisters and sore feet (Bruce, after all his preparations had selected the wrong foot wear – gaffer tape did not keep the feet dry), but Georgie had completed well over half the route, Bruce 27 miles at the infamous cake and tea stop) – each walking further than they had ever done in a single day.

The results were as follows:
Dave H –         9 hrs, 24 mins (5th crossing)
Dan –               10 hrs, 38 mins
Shannon –        10 hrs, 41 mins
Keyna –           11 hrs, 8 mins
Tom –               11 hrs, 39 mins
Steve –             11 hrs, 47 mins
Richard –         12 hrs, 2 mins (5th crossing)
Sue –                12 hrs, 17 mins
Alan –              13 hrs, 23 mins
Claire –            13 hrs, 26 mins
Angela –          14 hrs, 43 mins

Special mentions go to:
Angela, for her perseverance and determination to finish, particularly the final section on her own, in the dark, and in the rain. She didn’t quite achieve the longest crossing time though!

Tom, for getting lost! Somewhere between checkpoints 8 and 9 he wandered off route and ended up on the Thames Path to Streatley, where he then got chased by bulls. To escape fatal injury he jumped in the Thames and started swimming, where passengers on a passing boat enquired what he was doing, and did not seem confused when he said he was completing the Ridgeway 40 (he did, afterall have his rucksack on). He then had to find his way through private gardens to get to Streatley, arriving at the youth hostel soaked through, much to the puzzlement of the organisers.

And finally, the advice from Richard is not to rehydrate on 3 pints of beer at the pub at the end!

Claire White

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