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Final Spring Marathon Tune-up Race: Thames Riverside 20

Our very own Paralympian Bryn2 Reynolds took on the Thames Riverside 20 as his last London Marathon tune-up race. Here's how he (and guide Amy) got on.

Bryn2 Reynolds (and guide Amy) taking on the Thames Riverside 20 with the Sutton Striders
Bryn2 Reynolds (and guide Amy) taking on the Thames Riverside 20 with the Sutton Striders

Another Sunday morning must mean another race for the Sutton Striders crew. Following hot on the heels of the Kingston Breakfast Run the previous weekend, today’s offering was the Thames Riverside 20 in Richmond. 

A good turnout of Sutton Striders saw us all assemble at Old Deer Park. We conveniently stood between the bag drop and the toilets; I mean, we’re no idiots, right?

There was some reminiscing about last year's race. Or rather 'aquathlon'.

I did get the sweats when someone mentioned that they hoped we’d be diverted away from the steps this year er . . sorry, steps, say that again. 

As the 8:30 start time drew nearer, for all of us, it was numbers on, gels loaded, salt tablets secreted and for me, no schoolboy error this week, nipple protectors firmly in place.  

The start was a little less chaotic than last week, with only 350 participants. With a couple of minutes to go, I bent down to check my laces for the 28th time, just as another 'un-named' member of the gang stretched out a lower limb. Luckily, a near miss of kicking me firmly in the chops was narrowly averted!

And . . . . we’re off.

A lap of Old Deer Park, over an extremely narrow bridge (woe betide anyone trying to cross in the opposite direction) and then we’re on the towpath heading downstream (probably) towards Teddington Lock. 

As most of you know, I can barely see 2m in front of my nose so I had the amazing Amy as my guide. We agreed, as per marathon leader Gareth’s instruction, to take it steady. We, therefore, decided that 6:30 mins/ km would be a sensible start. Leave your egos in bed, Gareth said. Sooooo 1K in, and our watches pinged out 5:42 mins/ km!  Oh, come on, that’s ridiculous! I mean we were virtually leading the race . . . you know, give or take.

We did, however, quickly settle down and enjoyed a very steady and pleasant run along the towpaths and surrounding roads.

It got a little more difficult during the final 1/3 of the race with a narrower footpath and a bit more traffic. The upturn was that it was nice to see my fellow Sutton Striders coming in the opposite direction with loads of encouragement passing between us.

In what appeared to be a modern version of Carry on Running, I managed to crack my head on a low tree branch about 5 miles to go and have a big egg shaped scar as a consequence. I also accidentally threw a cup of water over Amy at the penultimate water station.

We’re racing mavericks, we don’t care!

We completed the race within our target time. Once again, it was so nice to receive the Sutton Strider's support as we approached the finish line. We finished within our target time, clocking 3:26 which could equate to a sub 4:30 marathon on the streets of London in 4 weeks time. A time I’d bite your hand off for if offered it now.

A massive congratulations to everyone who took part or supported us all. 

My final thought of the days is that I’m so glad that our Supreme Creator made us type with our fingers because my legs sure ain’t working! 20 miles is a looooong way!



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