The Thames Meander has long been one of the most prominent events in the ultra-running calendar. Established in 1999, the Thames Meander ultra cross-country event takes place in mid-February, with a course meandering along the banks of the River Thames, over towpaths and public rights of way from Reading, heading east to finish near Walton-on-Thames 54 miles later.

Uniquely among ultra events, there is a place to sleep at the finish (on the floor and own sleeping bag required). We also supply muesli and hot drinks the following morning. For those who don't want to stay over, the finish is close to rail links to London or back to Reading. Our finish is a school pavilion with a car park where friends and family are welcome to wait.

We provide water at 5 manned checkpoints spaced roughly 10 miles apart. The overall cut-off time is 18 hours and 30 minutes to allow for a walking pace of 3 miles per hour. Participants are expected to find their own way and, although the course mainly follows the Thames Path, Ordnance Survey maps will be needed to navigate the route successfully. Participants must also bring their own food and supplies for the day.

The Thames Meander is also the number one training event in the UK for the Marathon des Sables and since our first event in 1999, only 11 people who have used the Thames Meander for training have failed to finish the Marathon des Sables. We also present our famous Sahara School the morning after the Thames Meander, providing additional information for those training for the MdS.

The Thames Meander has grown into the must-do training event for Brits doing the Marathon des Sables. It is also one of the most popular ultra-running events in the UK.

The Thames Meander is a qualifying event for the North Face Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc.


Hiking on the Thames Path

Cross country with beautiful scenery