Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones has raced to the top of the list of Britain's long distance running challenges and was voted Best Endurance Event in the UK at the Running Awards 2016. This year's edition, over the weekend (15/16 July), saw two men smash through the eight-hour barrier for 100km in a record-breaking competition on Britain's oldest path.
The Ridgeway has been used as a trading route for more than 5,000 years, has amazing views across the Chilterns, Berkshire Downs and North Wessex Downs, and is littered with Bronze Age hill forts, Neolithic burial chambers and Roman river crossings.
Just under 1,000 people completed the 100km non-stop with nearly 700 favouring the more comfortable overnight camping option. With a further 400 runners preferring the 'Stones lite' option of 50km on either Saturday or Sunday there were a record 2,100 finishers this year.
Last year, Wyclef (Rob) Forbes set a new course record (8hrs 9mins) for the stunning high-level route between Lewknor, Oxfordshire and the 5,000-year-old Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire. This year the race between French mountain runner Benjamin Poiraton (7:52:55) and Forbes (7:56:21) saw both men demolish that impressive mark. Poiraton averaged 4:43 for each of his 100km, while Forbes was just 2sec/km in arrears overall.
Third place went to 2015 winner Tom Payn (Run Fast, 8:52:58) who was sixth in the 2013 UK 100kms Championships in Perth (7:25:34). Payn finished 40th in the World Trail Running Championships in Italy last month and boasts a 2:17:29 marathon PB.
W40 Sarah Hill (Farnham Runners, 9:23:04) recovered from her recent second place in the Hampshire Hoppitt Trail Marathon to win the women's 100km from Asia Zmyslona (9:31:52) and W40 Rachel Masser (9:50:50). Three women under ten hours is another Stones record.
The long distance challenge is organised by Threshold Sports, whose motto is ‘More is in You’.