Thames Path Challenge Charity Walk, September 2018

Thames Path Challenge Fundraiser, 2018

Write up by Lynda Whiston

Fund-raising for various cancer charities has been a part of my life since my first cancer diagnosis, back in 2001. Having done what is known as the Thames Path Challenge, one of the many Ultra challenges organised by Action Challenge, I decided to take on the 50k second half of the full 100k challenge in September 2018. Although I wasn’t fund-raising on this occasion, I was joined by my sister Kathryn who was raising money for Target, an ovarian cancer charity, along with Pool Of Life members, Ann Ball and Sheila Greenwood. We signed up to the event under the team name ‘Bosom Buddies’, and Sheila designed and made our team t-shirts.

Getting ready for the start:

Thames Path Challenge Bosom Buddies
Pre-race, get on your marks

…and we’re off!

Thames Path Challenge start

While Action Challenge provide amazing rest stops with fabulous snacks, meals, drinks, medics, massage stations and trek masters to help those lost or in need of support on route, we were fortunate enough to have our own personal support crew in the form of our wonderful husbands: Stuart, Ian, Dave & Peter – The Bosom Buddies support crew.

Stuart, Ian, Dave & Peter – Bosom Buddies Support Crew
Stuart, Ian, Dave and Peter, The Bosom Buddies Support Crew

Not only did these guys support us on the route and were there waiting for us at the check-in points, but they also popped up from behind a hedge or appeared on a bridge, or on one of the many paths that we encountered. They were envied and loved by others taking part in the challenge who weren’t as lucky to have their own supporters.

I think I can safely say that the Bosom Buddies themselves enjoyed the experience of the challenge, from walking through fields with views of Windsor Castle, admiring the huge houses along the banks of the Thames and wondering who lives in a house like that, to appreciating the chance to have a sit down with a cuppa and one of the many snacks available. We also kept our supporters going with the odd cheeky bag of nuts, flapjack and chocolate bars.

Pausing for Windsor Castle

Stopping for a quick photo, Windsor Castle in the background.

Riverside mansion seen on the Thames Path Challenge walk

Just one of the many huge houses, who could possibly live in a house like this?

Mid-race cuppa

Time for a cuppa, sandwich and a refreshing change of socks.

This wasn’t a random table in the middle of a field, just poor composition.

Glowstick marker for the 95k point

95k mark.

As dusk fell, it was time to turn on the head torches and follow the glow sticks that would eventually lead us to the finish line.

Bosom Buddies at the Thames Path Challenge Finishing line

Tired, but elated, we arrived at the finish, with Ann & Sheila just a few minutes ahead of myself and Kathryn.
As Kathryn and I approached the finish line, Ann and Sheila joined us to share the Bosom Buddies’ celebration of completing our 50k challenge.

Bosom Buddies finisher line-up for the 2018 Thames Path Challenge

After crossing the finish line, collecting our medals and a celebratory glass of fizz, it was time to refuel & reflect on the day, before heading back to the hotel for some shut eye.

2018 Thames Path Challenge medal

Final note.
While some of the more hardened walkers sustained traumatic and gruesome blisters, Bosom Buddies came away pretty much unscathed, apart from a couple of small blisters.