The Oxon 40/20 - 2010

The 2010 edition was held on Saturday 1 May. We again broke our record for the number of starters – 103 for the 40 and 244 for the 20, totalling 347 and beating last year by precisely three! 92 hardy people finished the 40-mile route, 8 diverted more or less willingly to the shorter 36.5-mile route and 3 had to retire. 241 finished the 20-miler and there were 3 retirees. Thanks to Ivan’s marketing and email efforts an astonishing 99% of entrants pre-registered, of whom about half used the new online registration and payment system.

Once again the weather was kind, with a cool start turning into a pleasantly warm day with a mixture of sunshine and clouds and a little light rain later in the day. The exceptionally cold winter had delayed the flowering of the bluebells (three weeks earlier on the Marshals’ walk there wasn’t one to be seen) but they burst out just in time for another fine show in the local woods.

As to events on the day we first send our best wishes to the entrant on the 20-mile route who slipped and injured her ankle near Stonor, and our thanks to the Good Samaritan who gave her and her companion a lift back to Henley. We hope you got good care at Stoke Mandeville hospital.

We also hope no-one was too confused by the slight relocation of the final checkpoint at Mill End. Martin’s van was too big to get under the barrier at the car park, so he had to commandeer a lay-by a couple of hundred yards back up the road. Diversion signs and (later) a marshal redirected entrants.

Orlando Bloom (not out walking in the Chilterns)The Marshals at Bix and Skirmett had their work cut out as the 40-milers on their second visits jostled with the 20-milers on their way through. A lost pair of glasses eventually got back to Henley. Other lost property included a black glove, a pink raincoat and a BBN rugby jumper. We are as disappointed as all the walkers that an IT glitch meant we couldn’t produce certificates on the day.

But the undoubted highlight of the day was the presence of an A-list celebrity on the route – Orlando Bloom, no less – who stopped to chat and ask why there were so many people out on the local footpaths. We have been unable to confirm reports that Mr Bloom asked where he could find Martin so he could ask for his autograph.

Once more we thank the local firms in Henley who lent us their car parking spaces: RPS Energy, Dalton Identification Systems, Videcom Ltd, and World Advertising Research Center. Thanks to you all. Thanks as well to the many people who emailed to say how much they’d enjoyed the event, and to those who left messages on our Forum and on the LDWA Forum. Thanks to the hardworking catering team (we had biscuits, turkey and salad left over but every thing else was about right), the dedicated volunteer cake-makers who supplied 2000 pieces of cake (of which 1950 were consumed on the day), the marshals at the checkpoints and event HQ, and the unseen backroom men and women, spouses and partners who help make it all happen. And the final thanks go to everyone who took part in such good spirit. Congratulations to the finishers and commiserations to those who didn’t manage to get all the way round. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

Photos by Tony Turton