Summer Long Run
Who wants 34 miles of easy flat running, 39 locks, a few styles and 36,000 strides. That’s right its time for the long distance running highlight of the year, the Finch Coasters Long Slow Summer Run!
In previous years we have run the length of the Basingstoke canal, run along the Thames and also run the Blackwater Valley, this year we are going to run half of the Kennet and Avon Canal from Great Bedwyn. The route takes into the sites of Hungerford, Newbury, Aldermaston, the very strange Monkey Marsh Lock and finally through the Reading Oracle Shopping Centre until we hit the Thames at Thames Valley Park, thats right, approx 34 miles of running lovelyness (dependent on how accurate your GPS is).
You’re right it does, and we have cycled the entire length and it is an awesome run and even better its downhill (almost) all the way from Great Bedwyn to Reading. You get to see a litany of locks, a smorgasbord of swing bridges and a plethora of pillboxes along its route as we pass from village to village and from town to town, under the M4 and the A33 (sounds delightful) and finally into the prodigious shopping spectical of the Reading oracle before heading Thames-ward to TVP. There is a great article on Wikipedia about the canal if you need more convincing or you are a canal geak. click here for more information.
When is it?
The date of the long run is Sunday September 8th, probably a 09:00 am start from Great Bedwyn, more details on this as the date approaches.
Do I have to run it all?
The good news is no you don’t but if you can you will get an amazing feeling of awesomeness and you get bragging rights when you go to work the next day and people might even make cups of tea for you.
We stop every 3 to 5 miles for a re-group a drink of water or energy drink before starting on the next section. At each of these sections you can jump on the mini bus and it will take you to the next section. If you need to get home early you can also jump on a train at one of the many train stations we pass. If you want to do this, here is a link to the train timetable from Great Bedwyn back to Reading, you can tinker with this to get the train times from each station and we may even have a print out in the bus just in case we want to get rid of your early!
You could even start half way through by getting the train to one of the many stops and join the running fun from there.
So where does it start, where does it end and what are the sections
It starts in the lovely village of Greta Bedwyn in a car park by the Station and ends in the even more picturesque Thames Valley Park on the banks of the mighty river Thames, the below table shows the approx distances between checkpoints and the total distance run, walked and stumbled.
|Section #||Section Start||Section End||Section Distance||Total Distance|
|3||Cp4||Kintbury Station||Newbury Park||5.8||13.8|
|4||Cp5||Newbury Park||Thatcham Station||3.7||17.5|
|5||Cp6||Thatcham Station||Midgeham Station||3||20.5|
|6||Cp7||Midgeham Station||Aldermaston station||2||22.5|
|7||Cp8||Aldermaston Station||Theale Station||4.25||26.75|
|8||Cp9||Theale Station||Reading Oracle||6.05||32.8|
A Map would be nice
We all like a nice map don’t we, so here you go
Sounds Hungry work, do we have a lunch stop?
There are a couple of places we can stop, either in Newbury at 13 miles (just under halfway) or at Midgeham about an hour and a half later or seven miles where there is a nice pub.
Anything else I need to know before I commit?
No, just do it, if you don’t like it or find it too tough then no worries, just jump on the bus and enjoy a lovely days sightseeing along the Kennet and Avon Canal, you can also pretend to be a bus conductor if you get bored.
OK I’m in, what next?