Saturday, 25 September 2021

Athletes urged to enter Highwayman races

ENTRIES are open for this year’s Henley Highwayman.

ENTRIES are open for this year’s Henley Highwayman.

Former Leander oarsman Toby Garbett, who took the title last year, is also offering his advice to runners in this year’s event.

It will include the new Henley Standard 5km as part of the duathlon which takes place on September 17 and 18.

For every entry, £2 will be donated to the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed.

Organiser Phil Harrison, a former Great Britain canoeist, said: “Whether it’s your first 5km or taking on the massive two-day Highwayman Duathlon, making the commitment to just do it is the biggest step in the process.

“If that’s how you feel, the best course of action is simple, sign up now. Once you’ve done that, you’ve just got the hardest part of the whole event out of the way!”

The organisers have enlisted the help of Mr Garbett, of Park Road, Henley, to offer advice to those taking part in the event. His tips cover topics such as appropriate footwear, nutrition and warm ups.

Mr Garbett, who took part in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and has represented his country in triathlon, said: “Competing in the Highwayman is like preparing for exams, you can’t try to cram at the last minute but you can improve your performance with the right revision.

“Make sure you taper off, and do slightly less mileage and time on the road in the countdown to the big weekend. You feel you can do more but you want to store up that energy and be full of beans on the day.

“If you like being spurred on by running with a partner find a friend who has similar ability and enjoy training for, or even competing in the Highwayman together.”

The run will take place on the second day of the event, now in its second year, and will start from Market Place in Henley. The first day will feature a cycle race.

More than 300 people took part in The Henley Highwayman when it was launched as a three-day triathlon in June last year.

The cycle race will start in Market Place early on the morning of the day the Olympic rowers bus parade takes place. Participants can choose the distance they want to complete — either 62km, 120km or 182km. On the following day, the runners will take on one of four distances — 9km, 17km and 25km or the new 5km race.

There will be road closures for about 20 minutes as the runners make their way out of the town centre to Swiss Farm, off Marlow Road.

The rest of the route will be off-road through the Chiltern Hills before finishing at Swiss Farm.

Participants will be awarded points according to their chosen distance and the time they take to complete it in order to decide the winner.

Last year Richard Maby, from Nettlebed, signed up for the challenge. He completed the event, finishing the swim, cycle and run, and has signed up for the event again this year.

Mr Maby, who works for Savills the main sponsor for the event, said: “To say I am looking forward to the event this year is an understatement, last year was so much fun that I couldn’t possibly pass on the opportunity to take part again.

“I was so impressed that I found it manageable given that I am far from an Olympic athlete. It was remarkable how the mix of inspiring scenery and the roadside crowds helped me to perform better than I had expected, the adrenaline certainly carried me through.

“Henley is such a beautiful town, as are the pretty villages, and the event makes the most of them.

He added: “For anyone who enjoys a weekend cycle or the occasional morning jog, this event is perfect — well organised, idyllic surroundings and the ideal mix of a bit of light-hearted competition and friendly banter.”

As well as advice from Mr Garbett, the organisers have enlisted the help of Henley Leisure Centre to help people prepare for the event.

Anyone who signs up to take part will receive one free pass to use the centre based off Gillotts Lane, Henley.

Mr Harrison added: “Whether the Highwayman is the last competition of the season for you, or the first step on your fitness journey, we look forward to seeing you there.”

Entry to the 5km race costs £15 and includes a feed station en route, electronic timing and a finisher’s medal.

To sign up and for more information, visit

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