Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Thames trotted

It’s downhill all the way from the Prince of Wales pub in Iffley to the bandstand on the green at Henley. Got to be, hasn’t it, or the Thames couldn’t flow so fiercely over the weirs on its way between the two.

One thing that running teaches you is that there’s no such thing as flat. Even a millpond must have its hills hidden somewhere. And there’s no such thing as downhill all the way either, outside a Tory government.

The Thames path (or national trail, to give it its due) saves its hills on this stretch of the river until you’ve already passed the 30-mile mark, when it takes you up the valley sides between Goring and Whitchurch. It rises to all of, oh, 62 metres, which wouldn’t even get you halfway up the London Eye but feels like you’re taking the staircase to the top of Canary Wharf (twice) when you’ve already been running for about six hours to get there.

Starting a 50-mile run from a pub, with a roaring open fire and a selection of fine ales, and finishing at a bandstand, with snow on the roof and ice on the floor, seems arse about tit when you think about it. But, my, did it feel good to get there. Ten and a half hours, just under, and I didn’t go over on the snow and ice once.

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