The Race

So the time has come and you’re wondering what on earth you’ve let yourself in for!

As race day looms you’re likely to start feeling a few excitement butterflies, a few nervous butterflies and a few hunger butterflies thinking about all the spaghetti carbonara you’ll be allowed to eat the day before.

Amongst all that, there will bit quite a bit of preparation that needs doing to make sure your race runs smoothly.

The run-up to race week

If you want to avoid running round specialist shops like a headless chicken, then a bit of advance online shopping is useful. There are a few bits of kit that will be useful for race day that you won’t have needed for your training such as cooking and camping equipment.

Put together a kit list so you are sure you have everything you need for the day. It’s also useful to include food in this list so you can work out how much you’ll actually need. If you don’t want to make your own, then here’s ours:

DW kit list picture

Download the kit list here (£2.50):


Hopefully you will have decided your start time by now and done enough training that you know your average speed. This means you’re ready to put together a bit of a master plan which will be your support team’s bible for the race.

Your support team will benefit from a list of the portages where you want support, an estimated time of arrival at those portages and a rough idea of what kind of support you’ll need at each one. Here’s a ready-made spreadsheet if you want to save yourself some time:

Master Plan picture

Download the master plan spreadsheet here (£5):


As with all the best laid plans, you probably won’t stick to the timings you put on your master plan. If you want to keep your support team really happy then you can give them a timing cheat sheet. This will save them doing some maths every time you arrive early or late to a portage. With the cheat sheet handy they can give you great motivational titbits like “if you keep up this speed you’ll be at Reading in less than an hour!” or “if you don’t speed up you’ll miss the tide by 10 minutes!”.

Timing Cheat Sheet pictureDownload the timing cheat sheet (£2.50): 


Get whichever documents you want to use ready for your support team, maybe even email them out the week before so they have time to get familiar with them and get excited for the race!

Race day

There’s not really much to do at the start point, but if you are setting off early it’s worth checking in the night before.

Make sure you arrive at Devizes Wharf in good time (aka an hour before you plan to leave). Depending on the tide times for that year there may be quite a few boats wanting to set off at the same time as you and it’s rubbish to be sat in a queue when you want to be on the water already.

And so it begins – your next stop is Westminster!

What’s in the Zero to DW Hero eBook?

  • Suggestions of kit you’ll need for race day itself
  • Guidance on how to work out what time you need to leave for the tide window
  • Advice on what to do the day before the race (e.g. checking in early)
  • More about what to expect just before you set off

Download the Zero to DW Hero eBook here (£15):


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© S Hicks 2019

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