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by Anna Collins

Copyright: Edwin Devey -


Some were surprised during this years’ Tour de France, when, without a ride, Chris Froome decided to run the course, but he wasn’t the first as Rachel Thurlow demonstrated at this years’ Cheshire Group Wirral Ride.

Rachel Thurlow and daughter Kim were looking forward to riding the 20km Wirral Pleasure Ride. After a break of more than a decade, this was to be Rachel’s return to the endurance scene since competing in ERs on her Arab mare.

Rachel’s horse Minky, a Blue Cross rescue horse had been abandoned in Wolverhampton on a building site. A builder who shared his sandwiches with him obtained his passport so the Blue Cross could adopt him. Rachel has been riding him for 2 years, completed a few fun rides, but wanted to get back to Endurance.

For young Kim, this would be her first EGB ride on a pony she had been riding since October. So imagine the disappointment when, the day before the ride, Kim’s pony was very lame with an abscess. Kim sat on her old pony, an 11hh Welsh Pony but her legs were by his knees so what were they to do?

Being a mum means making sacrifices so it was agreed that Kim would ride Minky and Rachel would run the course!. A seasoned fell runner, Rachel wasn’t phased by the Wirral Way compared to the hills of the Ceiriog Valley where she does most of her running but it was a lot further than her usual distance.

Rachel said, “It was fantastic to be at an Endurance ride venue again. After the farrier check and trot up we set off up the Wirral way onto the beach. Kim couldn’t believe how far the tide had gone out. West Kirby sailing club was a welcome landmark. I was increasingly glad at the flatness of the Wirral Way. Greetings were exchanged with another couple of riders from the Ceiriog valley. I suspect I was the most grateful ride participant when it started to rain which was so refreshingly cooling. Just as our party were all becoming a bit fatigued I spotted the welcome sight of the trailers and lorries parked at the venue field. I stood my ground when Kim wanted me to trot Minky up and said that it was definitely her turn to do the running.”

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