Race to the Stones 2022

Running 100k non-stop is hard work. This is a challenge I have been setting myself annually for a number of years, but it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, the difficulty remains. Running ultra marathons should not be underestimated. They are very different to marathons where you slow down, eating and walking throughout. Usually the terrain is on trail with greater elevation than on typical road races, and no matter what training you have done, 100k is a long way.

On 9th July 2022 I ran Race to the Stones 100k for the third time, but it was by far the most difficult. I didn’t underestimate the distance, but have never experienced such high temperatures in an event. The heat made a huge difference which was clear to see with all the runners around me, it was hard work. It was one of those days you would skip the training run as it wasn’t exactly sensible to run, but you can’t pick the weather on race day.

My beautiful girls
With the boy

I love to have adventures with my family, and we have recently got ourselves into camping. We therefore found a nice campsite near the start of Race to the Stones near Lewknor. We were walking distance to a nice pub, so after setting up camp on Friday we went and had a lovely evening. I had a really early start in the morning with my wave setting off at 06:30. My family had tickets for the wildlife park, and I anticipated finishing before 19:00. In 2021 I had completed Race to the Stones in 12:20, and although I’m not quite in the shape I was then, I thought that my experience of the course and distance would allow for a quicker time.


I was travelling light because I know just how well stocked the pit stops are with threshold events. I always see people carrying far too much at these events, and I have previously made the mistake before. Honestly, you could turn up just with water and have everything you need for the event. Instead I concentrated my #flatlay on the basics. I had previously got some terrible tape for my nipples which came off during Race to the Tower, so I made sure I got some I knew would stay on. Then all I needed was my kit, hat for shade, hydration vest, watch and a decent pair of trails. I also packed my oofos for post race.

Family having fun whilst I run

Race to the Stones

I arrived at race village around 06:20, making my way straight to the starting area. I didn’t have a bag to check in as I knew my family would be meeting me at the end, so I left it as late as possible so everyone could stay in bed that little bit longer.

Race start

The start went well, I settled into a decent pace which was comfortable. It was warm already at 07:00, but there was a it of cloud cover until just after 10:00. As people started to pull away at the start I just held my own pace, not getting carried away with anyone else’s race. Having ran Race to the Tower a couple of weeks earlier my legs were a little tired, but the positive is this course is much flatter comparatively.

Enjoying the trails

A lot of people ran past the first pit stop, but I had not managed to visit the portaloo, so needed to make a stop. I also made sure I drank my litre of water / electrolytes between each pit stop and come out fully stocked. It didn’t matter at the first check point, but there were some other pit stops that took you a good distance, and I saw a few people run past these, arguably cutting a lot of distance off their race.

As the day started to warm up it was clear that everyone struggled. In the first half it was good to see that threshold had put on extra water stops throughout the course. I thought this was fantastic considering the heat. There was a greater need in the second half which wasn’t as well prepared unfortunately, but we will get to that.

Still smiling, just

During an ultra you get a chance to run with lots of different people, and often you will yo yo between the same people. Most people I spoke to discussed the heat and reevaluating their time, and frankly that is the sensible thing to do. I reached a marathon on schedule for the 12 hour finish which is what I wanted, but this just seemed impossible for me in the heat. I found the day particularly difficult, and I didn’t want to risk not finishing. So, I allowed myself some more walking time, and just dropped my pace in general. I reached half way feeling good, still with a sub 13 in mind.


The second half just was brutal. It had got so hot, and the frequent water stops just weren’t so frequent. For the 3rd quarter I didn’t see any extra aid stations, and this was during the hottest part of the day for me. I ran out of water a couple of times, but fortunately at one point volunteer’s were putting up signs to go slightly off course to reach a tap. All the volunteers and staff were just amazing and really supportive. I found that everyone pulled together so well and at one point I was given some water from a fellow runner. People had some buckets of water on their drive, so at points you could top up, and the supporters were fantastic, not just for their own runners but for everyone.

I loved that most pit stops had a big bucket to wet your hat, and I dunked my head in one, which felt so good. It is surprising how much difference the heat makes, but it really does. I heard so many people talk about the drop out rate, and although I’m not sure of the facts, unfortunately it would seem that far more people dropped out than usual. There is no shame in this, and it is absolutely the right decision for many. Heat stroke and dehydration are very serious matters, and sometimes it just won’t be your day. For those that didn’t make it, well done on taking on 100k in brutal conditions, just know that next time it will feel easier.

Family meeting me around 80km

I had been happy and set on my family having a good day, and I’ve always been clear that I don’t need them to support me. However, it was great for my family to pop by to see me at around 75k when I was frankly really struggling. It was the best boost, I love my family and I love them coming to see me. Kirsty got me a drink, she has learnt that I don’t want diet during a race because I need sugar… unfortunately she didn’t see the “no added sugar ” on the bottle…. I literally couldn’t have found it any funnier. She knew I love the refreshing drink for the sugar boost, so the no added sugar didn’t cut the mustard.

Kids having fun

I always worry about my family and find that I spend a lot of time on my run thinking about what they are doing but frankly they are usually having much more fun than I am.

Hard to keep going in the heat

The last 25k was a struggle. I was hot, it was hard, I had decided to slow down and was just taking it one km at a time. I had phoned my wife and said I would be 14 hours rather than 13 that I had previously anticipated. It just was not worth pushing, I just needed to keep moving. I ran with so many great people at the end. Those that supported me, those that I supported. We helped each other keep going.

Stones picture from 2021

I will be honest, I hate the end. We run to the stones which is 1km past the turn to the finish so the last bit is hard work. Running past the turn which feels like you are going forever. This year we ran past the stones not to the stones. This is a picture from last year, and let’s be very clear, I could not have jumped like this even if I tried.

Race to the Stones finish

I kept going and I stayed strong until the end and was so happy to get it done, with my family waiting for me. My body didn’t feel too tired but I was so hot and drained. The sun took it out of me.

The bling

I finished over 2 hours later than I had hoped but I finished fresh enough to spend time with my family and I was in one piece.

Family reunion

My family is what it is all about. My happy family waiting for me at the end, understanding that I just needed a beer and some cuddles.

Time to eat

The food has been criticised because it is meat free. I would have loved a burger or a hot dog, but honestly at the end I am not that hungry. I had some chips and got a donut for my kids, that was plenty for me.

Camp time

We went straight to bed when we got home, followed by an awesome morning with lovely bacon sandwiches and a relaxed morning before departure. These adventures are what it’s all about for me, time with family out of the house, exploring different parts of the country.

This year I am taking on challenges trying to raise money for Cancer Research. I have raised just over £1,000 in 2022 with your help. Please help me to raise much more for such a worthy cause. You can help me in the following ways:

– Hitting the donation button above and donating however much you can, thank you;

– Sharing my fundraising page with others and encouraging others to give if they can, every little helps, thank you for sharing;

– Do you have any ideas for challenges I should consider, or any fundraising ideas, please let me know 🙏

Whatever adventures you have planned, good luck. Be careful in the heat.

2 thoughts on “Race to the Stones 2022

  1. Well done! How come it went past rather than into the Stones this year? I agree that bit is soooo dispiriting, even if you’re feeling relatively OK (also when you go to the turn off and can see the finish but have to run all the way round a big field to get there!). Finish picture took me back to 2019 and my hearty gratitude that I’ve done an ultra and don’t need to do another one, although I did enjoy it (and I think that’s how I found your blog, too, actually).


    1. 🥰 great memories… so I think they didn’t get permission this time, I guess years of doing it they have had a few complaints. So people could technically go for a picture, but it wasn’t part of the official route, so we went to the fence where you normally run around the stones and then you just turn back


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s