I’m writing this having survived the first of fourteen days’ running. Feeling tired and a bit stiff from what turned out to be 17.5 miles, instead of the 16.5 I had planned. An additional unplanned mile is not too bad in the scheme of things, but when you’re tired and running in the blazing sun it makes a difference. I thought I would never get here! I’ve also realised that the Locatoweb tracking app was set to private by mistake, so no-one could see today’ live tracking! I’ve managed to unlock it so all will be well tomorrow. At least Facebook live was working intermittently.

After an initial delay due to a later than planned breakfast and some technical hitches, the run itself began relatively easily, through typically English pasture-like meadows strewn with buttercups. It was still quite cool, with a light breeze, and slightly overcast at around 10.45 as I started at a fairly even pace, heading South East towards Ewen . The river itself was not visible to begin with, so I had to trust the Thames Path signs. These it turned  out were invaluable as markers throughout the route, as try as I might to get a sense of the route beforehand, it’s not the same when you’re there in the place itself.

Quite soon the effects of the last couple of weeks’ relentless rain were very apparent, first from patches of thick mud  in the more shady areas that still hadn’t had a chance to dry and later in waterlogged fields where the river, still shallow, had burst its low lying banks. I don’t mind getting wet feet or even wet ankles or calves, as long as the ground under my feet remains relatively stable. The first of these came about 3 miles in, shortly after bypassing the village of Ewen. It was a case of either wading in mid calf, or turning back and I wasn’t going to do the latter. By this time the weather had started to warm up, so I knew my feet would dry quickly. The second, was much further on after I had woven my way through the beautiful series lakes that are part of a nature reserve , starting at Somerford Keynes, 4 or 5 miles in, and ending at around 11 miles, not far from the Saxon town of Cricklade.

It was in fact just before reaching Cricklade, about 12 miles in, when I encoutered the second of the waterlogged fields and that was something else! Initially I proceeded as I had done before, expecting more or less the same experience. I had to pass with some trepidation, a group of cows with calves, before I reached what was much deeper than I thought. Even though it wasn’t that wide, it looked too dangerous to venture across. I spent some time, turning around in circles getting slightly panicky, before I noticed some people heading my way. I  don’t know whether it was their presence or just the fact that I had no alternative, that made me determined to find a way across. Eventually, I found a somewhat shallower, but wider stretch of water, which looked more or less possible to venture through, but not wthout some caution. I was relieved, to get through, but frustrated that this had added to the time it would take to complete today’s run.

By now, the afternoon heat was on, which would make the stretch to Castle Eaton more difficult. In fact this, very little shade and trying to run through long grass, all contributed to a much slower final few miles, but hey it was never about speed…

Apart from the difficulty of the task and the inevitable pain and stiffness that temporarily comes with it, the pleasure of running through and experiencing this English landscape in the way I did today, is something I would not trade. Looking forward to tomorrow…


I am writing this the night before the start of the start of this epic running journey along the length of the Thames. I’m feeling a mixture of apprehension, nervousness and excitement as I always do when I start these projects, but this one over a period of 14 consecutive days is the longest by far, so it has a sense of the unknown and this is what drives me.

Glad to get here at a reasonable time so I could check out exactly where I will be starting fom tomorrow. I am accompanied by my partner, Richard Allen, who will be driving our hired campervan from location to location, to ensure I have a place to rest and stay after a day’s run. This was planned so near to the reopening of hopitality venues, that it was the only way I could ensure this project could take place. I am indebted to him to agreeing to come on this adventure with me, as much for safety, as for moral support. I will be out running on my own, but I know he won’t be far away, should I get into any difficulty. He, of course can pass the time, whilst I am running, as he likes…

We picked up our trusty high-end hired campervan, Nolan, from Stoke Newington this afternoon. He will be home for the next 14 days, until I complete the run. Where I have been able to, I have booked ouselves into campsites enroute, mainly for security, comfort and hygiene. Tonight however, we have booked into the Thameshead Inn, near Cirencester and about 1/2 a mile from the source, for a bit of additional comfort before the start (and also because their campsite was full- I had fortgotten about the Bank Holiday).

Just before dinner, we took a stroll along a footpath through some meadows just off the busy A429, to the stone that is said to mark the source, at Trewsbery Mead, which has the just about legible inscription: ” The conservators of the River Thames 1856-1974. This stone was placed here to mark the source of the River Thames.”

It is of course a disputed source and other accounts place the true source, 11 miles further north at Seven Springs, at the source of the River Churn. However, this is also identified as a tributary of the Thames, so it is difficult to say with any authority that it is a truer source, than the ‘official’ more popularly known one that we saw this evening.

It was a beautiful warm, sunny evening, quite a change from the relentless rain of a week ago. Let’s hope this bodes well for these next 14 days. I can’t expect it to stay dry for all of that time and I am prepared for all weathers, but I hope there will be some balance in the weather. I hope it won’t be too hot either…

The stroll to the start this evening mainly was to set up the Locatoweb GPS track in the location, so that there is a direct link and it is easier to find. This will take you directly to the live tracking map and page:


This will be an active live track, as long as I am running. To preserve energy and to make it more interesting, I have decided on a strategy of uploading a photograph of my view in the direction of the river, every mile.

Alongside this, I will be streaming live from my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/veronique.chance.7

I hope to start as near to 10 am as I can. Next stop is Castle Eaton, approximately 16 miles away, down river…