Here we are with event number four of our 2018 race season and our second 100 miler. We have a strong field in both the mens and womens events, let's start with the women's this time. An anticipated 300 starters will set out from Winchester at 0600 on Saturday 9th June with the hope of making it to Eastbourne inside the 30 hour cut off - noon on Sunday.
Sarah Cameron: Sarah has raced with us only once before, taking second at last years NDW100 in a little over 20 hours. Living and racing in France she has many top results to her name out there with notables including a win and a third at Templiers (100km version) and a 12th at OCC amongst many others. It looks like she has two wins from two already in 2018.
Sarah Cameron at last years NDW100
Rachel Fawcett: Third here last year in 18:59. This year she has already run home fourth at the TP100. In the past she's also won our Chiltern Wonderland 50 as well as taking home thirrd in last years Green Man Ultra.
Laura Swanton: Laura impressed at last months TP100 where she ran home second. Third at last years NDW100 and fourth at Wendover Woods 50 she has also picked up the win at CTS South Devon in 2018.
Mauland: Mari dropped from the TP100 in May after suffering in the heat and she has a Western States place later this month so we're unsure if we will see her go for this one in full on race mode, but her pedigree is without question. Last year she won our Grand Slam and took home three wins at the TP100, NDW100 and A100, with only this race eluding her - she took home fourth in 19:11. We hope she is on the start line raring to go!
Mari taking home the win at last years NDW100
Sarah Sawyer: Much like Mari, Sarah has been racing recently over in Bhutan and that followed her win at the NDW50 last month so it's not clear if she will go all out here. She was sixth here in 2016.
If Sarah and Mari both come in ready to race it will be great to watch a deep field duke it out. Otherwise it looks open for the other three ladies who are all regular strong performers.
Jon Ellis: Last years Grand Slam 50 mile winner, with overall victories at SDW50, NDW50 (Course Record) and CW50, this is Jons first step up to the distance and we are fascinated to see what he can do. He's already had a good start to the year with a third place at the Highland Fling so we are hoping for a dazzling debut 100 here.
Jon running home to the victory at the 2017 SDW50
Pete Windross: Pete won the TP100 last month by a clear margin in 15:49. He was a top 10 finisher here last year too and he does seem to be getting stronger as the races and months tick by so we hope he will be in shape and recovered enough to put pedal to the metal again here.
Pete Windross running with Ed Catmur at the TP100 before going on to the win
Stellan Fries: Stellan was the man who led the 2016 SDW100 until mile 95 where he went off course just before Jevington and spent some time in the wilderness. He's back again for his third outing looking to better his PB here of 17:25.
Alistair Palmer: Alistair took home second at this years SDW50, although his day out was overshadowed by Tom Evans annihilation of the course record. He ran in that position most of the day and finished strong. He has 5 top 10s in 5 Centurion starts so he is a consistent performer.
Stephen Hobbs: 7th at the 2017 WW50 before hopping up to take third at this years TP100 in an impressive 17:55.
Ed Catmur: Four time winner at our events, Ed is slowly coming back to strength with a 25th at the TP100 this year. Hopefully he continues his rise again here.
John Melbourne: John has a depth of ultra experience now and that culimated in a terrific run for fourth at the NDW50 last month where he finished extremely strong.
Mike Ellicock: Relatively unknown Mike has a marathon PB in the 2:30s and a recent Bob Graham round finish. The only ultra we are aware of was his strong fifth at the SDW50 last year.
Charles Harpur: 1st at the 2015 SVP100km. 2nd at last years Beacons Ultra.
Jeremy Mower: Super experienced runner from Wales who amongst other things has represented Wales at the 24hr Commonwealths and has a raft of solid 40 mile/ 100km times to his name.
Follow the race via the live link on the homepage from Saturday - first update will be from QECP Check Point 2 at 22 miles and then at the following CPs: 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12.
This coming Saturday 19th May 2018 we welcome 250 runners to the 8th edition of the North Downs Way 50. Here's a quick look at some of the key runners coming to race this year.
You can follow the race live on race day via this link. Live timings will be available from all check points and the finish, with the exception of Caterham (CP5).
Neil Kirby: Returning 2016 Champion, Neil also picked up the SDW50, SDW100 and NDW100 titles that year. He is off the back of a win at the CTS Sussex in March and a DNF at the Highland Fling a few weeks ago so he will be looking to make amends here.
Stuart Leaney: 2017 Wendover Woods champ in his first 50 in a blistering course record a touch over 7 and a half hours. Stuarts sub 2:30 marathon speed means he's the quickest guy in the field and he can obviously do it on the trails too.
Ollie Stoten: King of Country To Capital 2016 when he took things to a new level winning in 5:07 for the 43 mile event. Ollie has lots of other wins and top tens to his name including a first place at CTS Exmoor already this year. He hasn't quite nailed one of our events yet and he will want to do it here.
Dudley Desborough: 8th at last years Autumn 100, 6th at the inaugural Chiltern Wonderland. Notably also a great run for 2nd at the Pilgrims Challenge last February on this very trail. Dudley has the speed to run a podium here and pick up the pieces the few ahead of him could leave behind.
John Melbourne: John has a growing list of accomplishments and finishes from around the world. He was second here in 2014 in a time of 7:47 but since then looks to have gone from strength to strength. Last year he finished at least a dozen ultras with stand out performances of 16:00 flat for the Berlin 100 and 1st place at both the Fox Ultra and the Serpent Trail 50km.
Sarah Sawyer: It's great to have Sarah back racing one of our events. In 2018 so far she has clocked 205.6km at this years Crawley 24hr for the win. Previous winner of two Racing the Planet events. Podiums at a raft of ours and other races including the 2017 TP100, 2016 Berlin 100 and WW50. Her first run out at this event. She looks to be the favourite coming in.
Lisa Martin: Lisa picked up 7th at this years SDW50 in 8:32 as well as a podium finish at the CTS Sussex event in March.
Otherwise, the ladies field looks wide open so we're looking forward to seeing some suprises on the day.
Chris Fox: Chris missed the cut off by 9 (nine) seconds at the 2015 event. He is back this year and we are looking forward to welcoming him well under the cut off this time!
Many Grand Slam hopefuls move on to Stage 2 of their journey here and the 2018 Grand Slam entrants list with a table of times will be available post race.
Our first 100 miler of the season is upon us. The 7th edition of the Thames Path 100 and an anticipated starting field of 300 will once again join us in Richmond Upon Thames with the dream of making it to Oxford within the 28 hour total cut off.
We usually see a high attrition rate at this event. As an almost entirely flat course, on paper it seems to be as easy aproposition as for a 100 mile trail race. But the flat can cause many issues later in the race to those who haven't prepared for that specifically and most notably to those who go off too fast - which is incredibly tempting on the literally pan flat paved path out of London in the early miles. We have seen some epic blow ups over the years and the classic picture of runners pacing is the old 'reverse progression run' ! It can also get very cold by the river at night and add to the slow down.
However to those with patience and strength this course represents an opportunity to run super fast times. Craig Holgate set a new Mens Course Record last year of 14:09 despite a significant detour with just 5 miles to go. On a good day it is clear that both the Mens and Womens course records could be significantly lowered and it is simply a matter of time until we see that happen.
This year, the potential for that is within the womens race which looks set to be a cracker.
Sam Amend: Returning after a year off from the race is existing course record holder Sam Amend. Sam's CV makes for quite the reading. She's run literally dozens of fast road marathons and has a best of 2:42. As a member of the Team GB 50km squad at the World Champs in Doha in 2016, she placed 7th overall. Twice a winner of the ACP 100km she has this year already been crowned British 100km Champion with a new course record. She's also picked up a win at the Gloucester 50km (3:30) and those followed her late 2017 season win and Course Record at Wendover Woods 50. It's quite clear that her own course record of 16 hours flat could be significantly bettered if she has a good race and the proposition of her winning the race overall is very real.
Therese Falk: Therese made herself known on the UK scene last year as she ran home winner of the Tooting Bec 24hr with a total of 236.8km and a 100 mile split of 15:19. Those are world class performances and came after an incredibly prolific race schedule. This year she has already bagged wins at the Bergen 100km and Undheim 100km races so she comes in with great form.
Cat Simpson: Our Ultra Team runner Cat has scored some superb results in recent years and continues to get better and better with time and experience. Last year she ran off with a breakthrough victory and a new course record at GUCR before ending the year in the same fashion at Wendover Woods, where she was just 5 minutes off of Sam's CR. This year she has already clocked a strong 2nd at Country To Capital and ran 3:03 at Brighton Marathon a few weeks ago.
Mari Mauland: This will be Mari's third outing at this race. In 2016 she was second to Sam, before last year going on to the win in 16:55. She also went on to win the NDW100 and A100 on route to setting a new Womens Grand Slam record. Following that she went on to Bislett 24hr and recorded a solid 218km total.
Leanne Rive: Leanne is an ever present at the SDW100 where she has scored a handful of top 5 finishes. She's also finished TDG and a host of other ultras and always turns in a solid performance. This year she's picked up a 2nd at the Thames Trot already so it's clear she can do it on the flat too, and this will not doubt be another solid performance from her.
Rachel Fawcett: Rachel picked up the win at last years Chiltern Wonderland 50, which followed a podium finish at the South Downs Way 100 where she notably ran home one place ahead of Mari. She'll be looking for another strong finish at what looks to be just her second ever 100 miler.
Laura Swanton: Laura took home 3rd at least years NDW100 before bagging 4th at Wendover Woods 50. This year she has already taken home top honours at CTS South Devon Ultra so again looks to be coming in on good form.
Rebecca Lane: Rebecca ran home 8th at last years SDW100 and has twice won the St Peters Way 45 mile over in Essex.
By contrast, the mens field for this race looks completely wide open. Whilst there are some solid runners amongst the bunch it's hard to see anyone getting anywhere near record pace and as such it could make for a very exciting race. As usual it's likely this course will reward early patience...
Barry Miller: Barry has been getting better and better as years go on and he could be set for a breakthrough result here. In previous years he's finished both our Grand Slam, the US Grand Slam and has other huge finishes at races such as Viking Way (win), GUCR (2nd) and Spartathlon. In amongst it all, his road marathon time has been coming down and he's recently picked up an excellent early season win at Country to Capital. His 100 mile PB of 17:14 is due for a shattering at some point and this could be it.
Sean Brosnan: Sean joins us from Ireland for this race and over the last couple of years has some albeit shorter, significant performances to his name. Last year he won the Mourne Way Ultra (50 mile) in 8:02 as well as the Connermara International Marathon (63km in 4:22), a race that he also went on to win already this year in 4:33. With that kind of speed he has the potential to go very well here, it'll be about whether he can hold endurance wise in the second half.
Kristian Morgan: 3rd at last years NDW100 it looks like Kristian has been racing a lot, with subsequent finishes at TDG, 20th at the ROUT 100 and already a 2nd place this year at the TNF Thailand 100km. If he can come in rested he is a clear contender for top honours here.
Peter Windross: Peter looks good for a strong finish here and could well challenge overall, after an incredibly solid 2017 during which he finished the Slam, putting in 3 x 18 hour performances in the first three 100s before setting a significant 100 mile PB in the Autumn 100 of 16:29.
Keith Burrows: 6th at last years SDW100 in his first 100 came after solid early season performances at the SDW50 and NDW50 where he cracked the top ten. With a win at the Humanity Direct Amersham 50km already this season he will be looking for more of the same here no doubt.
Alex Whearity: This years Thames Trot winner has a string of solid finishes behind him including what looks to be a 100 mile PB sub 18 hours at the A100 a couple of years ago. I would bet that he can better that significantly here with his increased speed and experience.
Alistair Watson: Alistair's consistency is his biggest asset. In recent years he's had a 2nd at the NDW100 and last year came home 6th in the Autumn 100 in a time of 17:17.
Ed Catmur: Notable mention for Ed who still wrestling with injury will toe the line again here. Past champion and still NDW100 course record holder we hope he can rekindle some of his magic.
Race start is 1000 Saturday 5th May and you can follow the race live on the day via the Live Link that will appear on the home page. Good luck to all of our runners and huge thanks to our 100+ volunteers out on course.
The 2018 season gets underway on Saturday April 7th with the sixth edition of the South Downs Way 50. 400 runners are expected to line up , each with the goal of making it to the track in Eastbourne for their glory lap to finish within the 13 hour maximum cut off.
On paper, this is our fastest 50. With course records that have held firm for a number of years now. Victor Mounds astonishing 5:53 in which he led from the gun in time trial fashion has been seemingly untouchable since. During 2016 and 2017, nobody came within 30 minutes of his course record. For the ladies, our Centurion Ultra Team star Edwina Sutton still holds the course best of 7:09 from back in 2014. If ever there was a starting field capable of threatening such seemingly rock solid records, it could perhaps be this however.
As usual, here is a quick spin through of the likely favourites for the mens and womenes races. Starting with the womens race:
Sarah Morwood: Sarah holds the second fastest time on this course, with a 7:19 back in 2014. Between 2013 and 2015 she also won a whole host of other events. Some of her accolades include wins at SDW100, Cotswold Way Century, Autumn 100, Thames Path 100, Race to the Stones, 24 heures de Pleuren and many others. Subsequent to that she has endured a rollercoaster ride, having had a major bike accident in early 2016 she quite literally had to start again. In 2017 she came back stronger than ever, winning the SDW100 for a second time and picking up victories at Eco Trail Oslo 80km and Dartmoor 50 before going on to a top ten finish at Spartathlon and then the icing on the cake, re-selection for the GB Trail Team where she will represent her country in Portugal in May. Already in 2018 she has turned in a 7th place at the Hong Kong 100km against a world class field. Whilst this is a stepping stone event on to the Champs, she will certainly want to stamp her mark here. For more info on Sarah's story, here is a link to the British Ultrarunning Podcast Episode featuring an interview with her.
Sarah on her way to victory at the 2017 SDW100
Kim Cavill: It is great to see Kim making it down to race one of our events. Those who are familiar with the Hardmoors and Lakeland scenes further north will recognise Kim's name. In recent years she has won the Hardmoors 55 and last year took 2nd in the Lakeland 50 in a superb time of 8:57.
Annabelle Stearns: Annabelle is a super experienced ultrarunner with a really impressive level of consistency that spans the last decade. Past winner of races such as London to Brighton (Trail), Al Andalus, Druids Challenge and our North Downs Way 50, she has actually improved signifcantly at the longer stuff in recent years. She has a best on this course of 7:46 for 4th in 2014 which puts her 7th on the all time list and two 2nd place finishes in the SDW100 from the last three years. She obviously loves this trail!
Charley Jennings: Charley is our reigning 50 mile Slam record holder with a cumulative time of 37:30 for the four events set last year, where she took 12th, 3rd, 2nd and 7th in each of the four races. It will be great to see her try to step it up again in 2018.
Charley at the 2017 NDW50
Alex Coomber: 2nd here in 2015 with a 7:53 and a 3rd place at the NDW50 a year later put Alex well in contention for a top ten finish here.
Mandy Regenass: Mandy took home 2nd place here last year in a time of 7:54, winning her Age Category in the process. She recorded a string of top 5 finishes in ultras ranging from 50km to 50 miles in 2015 and it's clear she could well be in contention again here albeit against what on paper looks to be a deeper field than the 2017 event.
Christine Howard: Whilst Christine may not have the raw speed to challenge for top honours she will be pushing for a top 10 here. With a best of 6th in this event back in 2013, the inaugural race, she has gone on to win the Downslink Ultra as well as second at the 2016 Chiltern Wonderland 50 and 4th at the Stour Valley Path 100km.
Tom Evans: If ever there seemed to be a clear favourite coming in to an event, it would be here. Tom Evans burst on to the scene in late 2016 and in 2017 established himself as a world class athlete. With a 3rd in the MDS, a 4th at the Eiger 101 and then a 4th at CCC in August, Tom immediately put UK mens ultrarunning back on the international map. With seemingly little experience at the long stuff, he has seemed to just step in to the role. Recently signing to Hoka One One and becoming a full time athlete will hopefully allow Tom to go on to take things to an even higher level in the future. This race, much as in the case of Sarah in the womens, is a stepping stone to his first outing in a GB national vest at the Trail World Champs in May. But after his win at the The Coastal Challenge in February where he bested CCC 2017 Champion Hayden Hawks by a scant four minutes, it's clear that there is no such thing as a training race for Tom. He will want to run his best on what is truly his home turf, having grown up in Eastbourne. It will be truly exciting to see what he can deliver here. For more info on Toms story, here is a link to the British Ultrarunning Podcast Episode featuring an interview with him.
Ian Hammett: Ian came on to the scene a few years ago and has built up a solid and consistent resume since. A fast road marathon has meant he has brought a good pace to his trail running and amongst his best results was a 3rd at this event last year in 6:49. Along the way he's also run home 2nd in a sub 16 hour time at the SDW100 and taken home victories in the Wall and the SVP100km. Last year he also completed Spartathlon in 28:36 proving he can go in to the super long too.
Warwick Gooch: In 2016, Warwick set a new 50 Slam record with 9th, 4th, 4th and 6th in the four events. 9th at the SDW50 in a time of 7:24 is hopefully something he can improve on this time. His year so far contained an excellent 9th placed finish at the 100 mile Arc of Attrition so we will see how his recovery has gone here.
Nick Greene: Nick has an incredibly consistent record on this course which he will be looking to continue here with 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th places in years gone by. With a best of 7:03 he will surely be looking to crack the 7 hour barrier this time out.
Alistair Palmer: 8th here last year before going on to 7th place at the NDW50 and WW50 it will be interesting to see if he can step it up here to compete for a top 5 against the bigger starting field.
Tommasso Migliu: Tommasso looks to be somewhat of a wild card, simply because this race falls on the lower end of the difficulty spectrum and the higher end of the pace spectrum that what he seems to be used to. His resume includes some extremely impressive results such as 5th at the V3K, 6th at Lakes Sky Ultra and 2nd at the Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks short, so hopefully he can turn his rugged mountain pace in to some flatter faster pace to challenge here.
Follow the race online at the website here on race day.