History of the Thames Meander

The first event was planned and organised by Anthony Taylor and Steve Partridge, who were taking part in the 1999 Marathon des Sables, as a way of preparing psychologically for the 50-mile stage.

The purpose of the race was to replicate (as closely as is possible in Britain) the conditions of Stage 4 of the Marathon des Sables. This is the hardest stage and the distance is usually 48 to 54 miles across desert. On completion of this stage competitors immediately go to sleep, without washing, on the hard stones and compacted sand. Two days are allowed for completion of Stage 4; however in order to achieve a reasonable position a competitor needs to complete it in one day. The Thames Meander was created as a means of training and testing equipment for this stage.

The event was a success, and everyone who completed that first ever Thames Meander went on to complete the Marathon des Sables. Steve has organised the Thames Meander every year since then.

In recent years we have worked in collaboration with Anke Molkenthin (did the Marathon des Sables 13 times and won it once) to present the Sahara School, providing additional information for those training for the MdS.

Anthony Taylor
Anthony's first foreign ultra was the Marathon des Sables he did with Steve back in 1999. Since then he's completed the Jordan Desert Cup, the Trans 333 in Mauritania and the Himalayan Stage Race. He has completed five Grand Union Canal Races (145 miles non-stop).

He is Race Organiser for the Ridgeway Challenge (85 miles). This is a race sponsored by the Trail Running Association from Ivinghoe Beacon near Tring to Overton Hill near Marlborough along the route of a prehistoric track. Anthony is currently the UK Secretary of the TRA and further details are available on the Trail Running Association website.

Steve Partridge
Steve's first ultra was the 1999 Marathon des Sables. Since then he has competed in the Jordan Desert Cup, the Trans 333 in Mauritania, Boa Vista in the Cape Verde Islands, two Libyan Challenges and the Marathon des Sables again in 2001, 2002 and 2005 and the Gobi March in 2007. He is co-founder of the Marathon of Britain with Rory Coleman and Anke Molkenthin. His next events are the Libyan Challenge in February 2008, Marathon des Sables 2008 and the White Desert 2008.

Steve has completed many of the world's great marathons including London, New York and Boston. His website has further details of many of his events.