An endurance athlete is set to take on a 48 hour, 200 mile walking challenge around Warwick Racecourse - doubling a historical attempt from two centuries ago.
Rene Klein will be following in the footsteps of Jones of Oxford, who completed a 100 mile walk in 24 hours at the course in 1818, during the reign of King George III.
The Georgian feat was recently uncovered by an enthusiast charting the history of the Warwick site, inspiring Rene to go further as part of a fundraising campaign for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, a concern which cares for families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.
The 45-year-old will start the 125-lap challenge on December 10 and hopes to complete the challenge before racing gets underway at Warwick’s Eventmasters Christmas at the Races fixture on Thursday December 13.
He will be joined by staff from Warwick Racecourse during the venture, which has its roots in a 19th century form of competitive walking called pedestrianism. Pedestrianism, which pre-dated race-walking, saw competitors taking on feats of foot travel over great distances.
Jones of Oxford’s achievement at Warwick Racecourse is recorded in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal and was uncovered by a historian charting the history of the site. He completed the walk with four minutes to spare, walking in two 12 hour slots, with around 10,000 people reportedly coming out to watch.
Rene, who runs the The Great Western Arms pub in Aynho, said: “The target is to match the time per mile by Jones of Oxford and to do that I’ll need to average around 14 minutes a mile. I’ve completed nine marathons and six ultra-marathons but this will be a tough mental challenge. I’m hoping after it I can consider myself a ‘professional pedestrian’ and maybe be known as Rene of Warwick.”
“I’m in training now, completing a series of six or seven hour walks. We’ll be raising funds for a wonderful charity in the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and I’ll be dying my hair rainbow colours too. It’s going to be tough, sleeping in a campervan on the racecourse but I’ll do my best to finish in time for the races on December 13. “Maybe I won’t have 10,000 people watching like Jones of Oxford did, but any support over the four days will be much appreciated.”
Andre Klein, general manager at Warwick Racecourse, said: “When we discovered this achievement, we thought it would be a great idea to re-create it 200 years on – and Rene agreed to take it on. “We will be raising funds for the Rainbow Trust throughout the challenge and would encourage as many donations as possible for this very worthwhile cause.”
Oonagh Goodman, director of fundraising and marketing at Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, added: “We wish Rene, and those colleagues who will be joining him, the best of luck in their training and on the day as they walk in the footsteps of ‘Jones of Oxford’. We have enjoyed working in partnership with The Jockey Club and are extremely grateful that the proceeds of this event will be coming to Rainbow Trust. Our corporate supporters and fundraisers are vital in helping us fund our expert family support workers who make such a difference to families caring for a seriously ill child.”
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rene-klein and for more information about Warwick Racecourse visit www.warwickracecourse.co.uk