Race to the Stones 2023

Walker Wins Trail Ultra

Ladies day on Sunday as 2,000 defy the rain to Race to the Stones...

Race to the Stones (RTTS) is billed as: "the biggest UK ultramarathon along one of Britain's oldest paths", on the event website by organisers Threshold Sports, the award-winning company behind the Threshold Trail Series of ultra challenges.

More than 2,000 participants were involved in the latest event held over the weekend of 8-9 July 2023. The historic route for RTTS is along The Ridgeway National Trail, a broad track passing through through a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. From its start at Overton Hill in the World Heritage Site of Avebury, it follows a ridge of chalk hills in a north-easterly direction for 87 miles (139 km) to Ivinghoe Beacon to the northwest of London.

The RTTS runs in the opposite direction, starting from Lewknor in Oxfordshire and finishing at the Neolithic Avebury henge and stone circles in Wiltshire – believed to be 800 years older than Stonehenge and containing the largest megalithic stone circle in the world.

RTTS is a 100-kilometre trail that can be completed non-stop, with an overnight stop or competitors can tackle either Saturday or Sunday's 50K trails. The halfway campsite is at Wantage, the birthplace of celebrity Bake Off failure King Alfred, who wasn't Great at baking cakes!

The full 100K course includes 3,704ft (1,129m) of elevation gain and two men completed the course non-stop in less than nine hours, despite the stair-rods rain and slippery chalk trails. David Gaskell (8:28:28) is this year's RTTS champion from Sam Harper (8:39:05). Brian Peers (9:05:00) just missed the nine-hour threshold.

Eleven runners beat 10 hours, including the women's winner Sophie Carter (9:50:17). Not far behind were the runners-up Maris Stumbris (10:17:59) and Camilla Mitchell (10:39:45).

The fastest on Saturday's 50K segment were Neil Kirby (4:08:36) and Sarah Louise Cumber (4:47:54) while Sunday's 50K winners were Patricia Walker (3:58:17) and Andrew Green (4:39:33) – yes, it was ladies first on Sunday and no surprise as Patricia was travelling at an average pace of 4:46 per kilometre!

Full results at runABC South race listing here.

Photo: Threshold Trail Series on Facebook

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