Join an amazing community of people in April 2023 to take on one of our thirty sections that make up the entire length of the famous and scenic Thames Path.
The Thames Path is an 184-mile footpath that follows the River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds, all the way to the Thames Barrier in southeast London. For one weekend in April 2023, we’re planning to gather a community of walkers, runners, rowers, cyclists and even paddleboarders to cover the whole distance.
The event is the brainchild of MDUK supporter, Andy Davies, who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy. His original plan was to walk the whole route himself, but as the COVID pandemic and lockdown put a pause on his plans, his condition has deteriorated and he’s calling on you to help him bring this community challenge to life.
Having always loved trekking and walking, when I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 2019, I thought what flat trail could I still do, to raise awareness and funds for muscular dystrophy? The Thames Path was the obvious answer. However, along came COVID-19 and muscular deterioration, and I had to think again. So I thought “how about trying to get fellow people with muscular dystrophy, friends, family and others, out on the path? “ The idea was born.
How does it work?
You can Walk, wheel, run, hop, cycle, paddle! You can complete your challenge along the Thames Path your way and choose your distance.
Andy has split the Thames Path into 30 sections of between four and ten-and-a-half miles, and graded each section for its accessibility in a traffic light system:
- red – difficult terrain, possibility of mud, off-road, lots of steps
- amber – generally good footpath, with a few steps to navigate
- green – completely flat, wheelchair-accessible.
(See below for more information about each piece of the route.)
The event will take place over the two days:
- on the Saturday (15 April) the first 25 sections, from the source as far as Kew Bridge will take place. You’ll all set off between 10 and 11 am, walking at your own pace but all walking the Thames Path at the same time
- on the Sunday (16 April), those taking on the last five sections between Kew Bridge and the Thames Barrier, will set off in a staggered start. This will give you the option to cover all five sections – 26 miles in total – if you wish.
And then everyone is welcome at the finishers’ party at the Thames Barrier, at a time to be confirmed.
There’s also the option to take on the challenge virtually if you’d prefer.
Who can take part?
Anyone can sign up and come along. Andy is hoping to make this a real community event. Everyone is welcome to come and join the event and to fundraise or donate if they would like
Andy hopes that on every one of the 30 stages there will be least one person living with a muscle-wasting condition present, and that they will act as a Muscular Dystrophy Champion. If you would like to nominate yourself as a Muscular Dystrophy Champion please let us know on your registration form.
What will you get when you sign up?
- A recce sheet, with a summary of all the terrain and obstacles along the section of the path you sign up for.
- A designated Stage Champion, who will be your contact and on-the-day co-ordinator.
- A Thames Source to Sea Community Challenge T-shirt for each Muscular Dystrophy Champion, with the option to buy one for all other participants.
- Support from the MDUK fundraising team to help you raise as much as possible.
- The chance to be part of an amazing community event, raising awareness and funds to help beat muscle-wasting conditions!
How do I sign up?
- Read the section descriptions and notes below to find the one that best suits you. (Please note, you can take part in more than one section on the Saturday, but they should be continuous, and we cannot guarantee the later Stage Champions will still be there when you finish. Just write in the notes which sections you will be doing.)
- Fill in the application form.
- Start fundraising - your JustGiving fundraising page will be ready and waiting for you.
The Thames Path in sections
Day 1 – Saturday 15 April 2023
All Saturday stages start at 10am
1 Source to Ashton Keynes – 4.75 miles – RED
2 Ashton Keynes to Cricklade – 7 miles – RED
3 Cricklade to Castle Eaton – 4.3 miles – RED
4 Castle Eaton to Lechlade – 6.7 miles - RED
5 Lechlade to Tadpole Bridge – 10.5 miles – RED
6 Tadpole Bridge to Newbridge – 6 – RED
7 Newbridge to Swinford Bridge – 7.8 miles – RED
8 Swinford Bridge to Oxford – 6.2 miles – RED
9 Oxford to Radley – 6 miles – RED
10 Radley to Culham – 6 miles – RED
11 Culham to Little Wittenham – 5 miles – ORANGE
12 Little Wittenham to Wallingford – 6 miles - ORANGE
13 Wallingford to Goring – 7.3 miles – ORANGE
14 Goring to Pangbourne – 5 miles – RED
15 Pangbourne to Reading – 6.75 miles – RED
16 Reading to Henley – 8.75 miles – ORANGE
17 Henley to Marlow – 8.5 miles – ORANGE
18 Marlow to Cookham– 4.5 miles – RED
19 Cookham to Maidenhead – 3.25 miles – GREEN
20 Maidenhead to Windsor – 6.5 miles – GREEN
21 Windsor to Staines – 8.5 miles – RED
22 Staines to Shepperton – 5.5 miles – ORANGE
23 Shepperton to Hampton Court – 6.25 miles – ORANGE
24 Hampton Court to Teddington – 5 miles – GREEN
25 Teddington to Kew Bridge – 6.5 miles - RED
Day 2 – Sunday 16 April 2023
26 Kew Bridge to Putney Bridge – 5.75 miles – GREEN
Starts at 10am
27 Putney Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge – 6 miles – GREEN
Starts at 10am
28 Vauxhall Bridge to Rotherhithe – 6.75 miles – GREEN
Starts at 10am
29 Rotherhithe to Greenwich Tunnel – 4.5 miles – ORANGE
Starts at 1pm
30 Greenwich Tunnel to Thames Barrier – 4.25 miles - GREEN
Starts at 2pm
- Red – difficult terrain, possibility of mud, off-road, lots of steps.
- Amber – generally good footpath, with a few steps to navigate.
- Green – completely flat, wheelchair-accessible.
The Virtual Thames Path Source to Sea Community Challenge
For those that can't come along on the day we have teamed up with a virtual challenge platform to bring the Thames Path to you. Take part in just one or multiple sections with mile markers, photos and information points along the way making you feel like you're really there. It's £17 to sign up which includes a £10 donation to the charity
The 184 Challenge
Inspired by the 184-mile distance of the Thames Source to Sea Community Challenge; the 184 Challenge invites participants to create and complete a challenge based upon the numbers, 1, 8 + 4. The challenge can take place any time from 1 February 2022 to 14 April 2023. The challenge will raise money for MDUK and increase the awareness of the condition.
Here are some 184 challenges that have been suggested:
- sell 184 of something such as cup cakes
- 184 minutes of knitting; dancing; singing etc
- not cutting your hair/beard for 184 consecutive days
- 18.4 mile/km run, cycle, wheelchair or walk
- 184 consecutive days of a challenge - this could be different challenges every day or a specific exercise, abstaining from alcohol or no meat.
- walking 184 times round your garden/lounge (whatever is a real challenge)
- 184 mile/km walk, run, cycle
- 184 dips into the sea
- 184 minute run
- raise 184 pounds anyway you can!
To take part in the 184 challenge just choose your challenge, follow the registration link and set up your Just Giving fundraising page by clicking start fundraising.
A huge thank you to OS Maps for their support