From our reporter Nick Keard

As those who’ve read the history of GUCR will know, in 1993 British Waterways opened the GUC towpath as a public right of way. To coincide with the opening, BW suggested that the Trail Running Association might like to organise a foot-race from Birmingham to London. Their idea was to promote the way-marked route as part of their nationwide celebrations for 200 years of Canal Mania* in the UK.

During that 1993 race, at least one competitor was infected with Canal Mania, which ultimately led to GUCR becoming an annual event. Over the years since, hundreds of innocent people have succumbed to the GUCR Mania variant – the predominant symptom being an inability to “leave it be”. Other strains of the disease have manifest as: a desire to run time after time; a compulsion to volunteer year after year; and in very rare cases, take on responsibility for staging events on canal and river towpaths all over the country.

Without doubt Canalrace C.I.C. founder Keith Godden has the second (but probably worst) case of the latter so far reported. Not content with introducing towpath races on the Kennet & Avon and Warwickshire Ring, he’s now proposing to stage GUCR uphill! Yes, to celebrate 30 years of Canal Mania V2, the 2023 race will be from London to Birmingham.

If you wish to be part of this madness – entry details can be found here.

*The dictionary defines mania as: mental illness marked by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and overactivity; an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.
It lists as similar: lunacy, dementedness, delirium, enthusiasm, obsession, passion, infatuation.
Rather worryingly it concludes with, “many people suffering from mania do not think anything is wrong”.

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