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Beat the Boat – Madeleine Duncan-Booth reports back from this new event

This is a new race hosted by Datchett Dashers and Runface. A 10k race in Windsor where they also set off 3 different boats to try and beat in 40, 50 and 60 minutes. The race had 600 entries which filled up quickly, you could also book a place on the boat as a spectator so you could cheer on your runners.

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I arrived in Windsor at 8.15am which gave me plenty of time to collect my race number and free technical tee shirt from the race HQ in the beer garden of The George pub. It was well organised by friendly marshals and lots of people also got changed to wear the snazzy tee shirt. I kept my Sandhurst Joggers one on (of course) and was pleased I did as I got spotted by Jackie, Andrea and Dave over by the start line. I thought I was the only SJ in the village so was very pleased to find friends.

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The start was in the same field where the Datchett cross country is, although it looked very different on a summer’s day. With the start on the opposite side of the field I thought I would be clever and use the public loos rather than queue for the portaloos but they have gone! Knocked down and replaced by an office type building. The start area was fairly quiet as the spectators who had a place on the boat were boarding on the other side of the river. We had some music to listen to and aside from the usual loos and baggage drop they had a massage tent, tee shirt stall, coffee van and the most amazing smelling bacon butties!

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9.30am and we were off, no chip time but with a spread out start I was quickly across the start line. A lap and a half of the field and we then started alongside the river. I really enjoyed running in pace with the 60 minute boat and getting cheered on, really good fun.

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The boats went as far as they could before the weir and lock and then turned round. Whilst they did this we ran around a few fields (similar to the cross country route) which turned out to be 2 miles. A shame we were away from the boats for so long. This 2 mile section was grassy with cracked earth and mostly single file. OK for me being near the back of the field but I expect was a bottle neck for the faster runners. I never saw the boats again, which was a shame (just run faster eh?!) but the route was pretty and the marshals very friendly and encouraging.

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A final loop around the field at the end and I was across the line cheered on by the other SJs. A fab medal and a goody bag followed by a short stroll into Windsor for a brunch with the lovely Jackie. For the first year running the event I thought it was brilliant. My only comments would be to put on another boat for the slower runners and why put beer and prosecco at the water stations early on a Sunday morning in hot weather?

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