Windsor is one of those lovely places in the country where you just have a good time surrounded by buildings steeped in history, a castle backdrop, and, thankfully, plenty of races. I have raced here a bit. My recent Threshold London Trails marathon and ultra finished here, Eton Dorney lake, home of the Olympic rowing, is also home to my half marathon PB and a failed Guinness World record attempt. And, of course, there is Beat the Boat.
Back in 2017
The day before was crazy hot, a day of ice cream and alcohol consumption, a boat trip, a boat crash, and a keen Italian meal that every member of the team loved. Fortunately, as we got our numbers at the George pub, scene of some of the Saturday alcohol consumption, Sunday was much cooler. Still, as I sported a beer related top, I thought this may well still add to my paint by numbers tan.
Military presence, coffee stalls, the farewell outing of the Runface kit (they are ceasing to sell their popular tees), burger vans and a PA system pumping out singalong tunes.
Meh. 2 laps of the field, and it is one of those uneven, bone dry rec kind of fields that beat your feet up a bit, a bit of a path by the water, then around a field, up and onto a decent path, first beer stop (Tesco prosecco and Fosters), up the path then a soggy field with a couple of muddy quagmire areas that a marshal warned was a “couple of puddles”. No, not puddles, it was a few muddy, silage stinking yards that Jen and I squelched through. Around that field and then around a school grounds to beer and prosecco stop 2. And from then back out and along a field, to the path by the river, to the first field, one zig zagged loop and a sprint finish. Again, meh! And all the time with cheery marshals telling us “not far now”, or “doing great” as Lew and I finally got to stretch out legs at the end, and the occasional shout from the boat that may have been anything, but in my head kept sounding like “hey, you guys!” conjuring up an image in my head.
How we did
Pretty much as described. This was a team effort, the plan was to run and drink together. The race is actually a little ugly. It starts with a couple of laps of a field that, if it was a human face, would be described as unkempt. And then we are out onto a path alongside the river. Cheers of “Hey, you guys!” from the boats as they slowly chug along. A bridge, the only country lane, and then CP 1. Fosters and Tesco prosecco. Baz and Jenni catching up, a swampy field, CP2 and Jenni bringing the tunes and then along the path and back to the ugly field for a final zigzagging lap and then home straight for a sprint finish. Or, we would have, had a lady not come a cropper with the uneven field, prompting Lew to help her up and finish with a jog.
Not a bad medal, and free tee too.
To quote any of the vacuous human flotsam “starring” in Love Island at the moment “it is what it is.” And what is Beat the Boat? A fun 10K with a boozy theme. Sure the route is a bit shit, but race HQ is a pub, there are 2 alcohol stops, you do have the unique opportunity to race against a water vessel of supporters chugging slowly up the Thames and back again in 50, 60 or 70 minutes, free tee and medal, money off voucher for a beer, goody bag of chocolate and water etc. I am not sure you can really go for a time here, the swampy field and the field you start in and lap (thrice in all!) is not the surface to do it. But both Lew and Jen said they would try. But then both said “yeah, but that would involve not stopping for booze”, and that is the whole point.
WOULD I RECOMMEND BEAT THE BOAT? Sure
WOULD I RUN THE BEAT THE BOAT AGAIN? Unlikely