Adventure race around Thame will keep all the family on the run

Thame Urban Race
Thame Urban Race

About 500 people are expencted to take party in a big family orienteering event, the Thame Urban Race.

Organised by Thames Valley Orienteering Club (TVOC)and being held on Sunday, September 9, the event has the support of Thame Town Council.

There’ll be courses for all ages and abilities, and the event is described as like a giant treasure hunt around the town - with a twist.

A chance for families to get outside, explore the town and race around the checkpoints, it also ties in with the Town Council’s current Green Living Plan consultation.

The race is a unique opportunity to explore the streets, alleys and parks of Thame in an adventure race for all the family. No experience is necessary to take part.

It’s an urban orienteering event, with several courses of varying length and difficulty, suitable for families and children, from 1km to 8km. The longer courses are also geared up for the more competitive and for runners looking for a new challenge.

It’s also a race with a twist; the twist being that there is no set route to the courses. Each competitor is given a special orienteering map, showing a series of checkpoints.

The challenge is to visit all the checkpoints around Thame, choosing your own route between each one. Each checkpoint is marked by a flag and an electronic timing chip is used to record progress.

Mike Shires, from TVOC, said: “Most people don’t realise that orienteering is a competitive running sport. However, orienteering really is a sport for all. Our events attract keen runners as well as plenty of families who come along for a jog or walk around a course. It’s also a great opportunity for parents to have a run while the children tackle a junior course. At Thame, we’ll also have a special junior course too around Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve which is safe for young children to have a go.”

TVOC is Clubmark accredited and has around 300 members from Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley. The club was recently awarded Orienteering Club of the Year and organises around 35 events per annum, ranging from local events for 150 competitors to larger regional events with over 1,000 runners.

Club member Blanka Collis, 32, said: “It’s a good way of keeping fit and for me it is also more interesting than just jogging. It’s an extra mental challenge. Sometimes people think it’s like treasure hunting. They say: “I did that at school once-upon-a-time’ but it’s a running sport for all the family.”

To have a go at Thame, just turn up to Thame Town Hall between 9.30am and 11.30am. There will be plenty of help on hand for newcomers.

The cost is £7.50 for the shorter courses and £14 for longer courses, including a special map of Thame to keep as a souvenir, and hire of a timing chip.

For more details visit TVOC’s website at or see the Facebook event page at