First and foremost we are an ultra distance trail event organiser based in the UK. Our objective is to put on the best supported, most professionally and safely organised, runner orientated ultra distance trail races - anywhere. We have taken the things we liked from races we have been fortunate enough to run ourselves and added them to the trails that we love. Our aim is to provide the maximum level of support we can for runners over race weekend on the resources we have available. To be transparent. To be sustainable and reduce waste and environmental impact as much as we physically can.
Centurion was founded by James Elson, currently the race director for all of the events. We don't have any permanent staff, instead we have an incredible group of people join us in order to safely and professionally manage everything through race week. On top of that we are lucky to have without doubt the most incredible group of volunteers making race day happen.
Our races all contain the same basic elements. 50 or 100 miles non-stop and on foot. 13 - 16 fully stocked aid stations over 100 miles (7 over 50), friendly and hugely enthusiastic volunteers and staff and medical support on hand at all times, up and down the course, throughout the race.
We held our first event in August 2011 on the North Downs Way and after some wonderful feedback, we set about designing courses and events that gave runners the opportunity to run some of the most scenic and challenging trails in the UK in a fully supported race format where both racing and finishing are encouraged in equal measures. Out of those elements were borne the 4 x 100 milers comprising the 100 Mile Grand Slam, the 4 x 50 milers which comprise the 50 Mile Grand Slam and the Piece of String Fun Run (Now Retired!), on which James Adams another UK based ultrarunner has been involved in equal measure.
The coaching services we provide are suited to runners of all abilities.
The store is steadily growing to include more of the products we trust in and use ourselves.
Most of all we pride ourselves on conveying the information runners need in order to adequately prepare for and eventually to race to the best of their ability and in the safest possible way. Please email us with any feedback or queries and we will always come back to you.
We have been lucky enough to receive a lot of incredibly positive feedback from our events. We work tirelessly to ensure that no stone is left unturned in assisting runners to get to the finish line in as safe and enjoyable manner as possible. Ultimately it is in huge part, the volunteers who make these experiences what they are.
Below some of the feedback we've received for a few of the events in 2017-18:
Just wanted to say a MAHOOSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who helped make Saturday such a great day out. Despite my determination and best efforts, I had to drop at Saddlescombe after aggravating a chronic back injury. But the 18 miles I shared, the hugs, handshakes and encouragement I received meant my legs never felt tired on that beautiful run. And I’ll be coming back stronger and fitter for the North Downs 50.
I'm gonna add to the hundreds of posts, just because I want to say thank you to all the volunteers and runners! This was my first ultra and I'm currently debating which one to do next, despite being in A LOT of pain!
Thanks to the guy I was running with off and on for 20+ miles, I wouldn't have done it without you! Also the 2 or 3 ladies I was running with at various points - you all absolutely smashed it!
And the aid stations were absolutely brilliant and motivating! I can'tbelieve how well organised it was! I crossed the finish line, got my medal and t shirt, and there was already someone there handing me my drop bag!
I don't know how anyone can run 100 miles, but I'm about to go and apply to volunteer for one of them because the volunteers were so inspiring! Thank you so much for this event, I'm still on a massive high!
Thank you to all at Centurion and the aid station crews! My first 50 in perfect conditions at such a well organised event.
My daughters cheered me (and every one else it seems!) on at the crew cheer points and had such a great day! What a great community.
Well done to everybody who braved the hills and the sunshine! Great feeling today
I failed to make the start line last year due to injury so volunteered and since then I've been determined to wait and run my first Ultra at a Centurion event.
You did not disappoint! 'Thank you' seems inadequate for what was such a special day from start to finish. To the all the marshals I thank you sincerely, if you haven't yet and you're thinking of running next year, do it!!
I've tried to think of something I would change about yesterday, and you know what? Nothing, not one thing. I even made new friends on the bus ride back to Worthing.
Some things in life are worth waiting for. X
We often receive questions about why we have a mandatory gear list for each of our events, and why specific items are included on it. This page is dedicated to explaining the reason for the inclusion of each item. No compromise will be taken in ensuring the safety of runners at our events. We prefer to run trails with the mininum amount of necessary equipment, however the items we list as mandatory equipment may save your life if you are caught out in bad conditions, become lost, disorientated or injured during an ultra distance event. Never underestimate how quickly conditions may deteriorate or change away from forecast.
There are many options regards kit for fulfilling these requirements and those of other events. We stock what we believe to be the best options at our online store available by clicking here under the Mandatory Gear Section. Please ask us if you have any questions.
The expectation is that a race gear list requires you to pack and carry a big heavy rucksack. This is very far from the case. For tips on how to pack, what gear to look at and how to fit everything you need in to less than 8 litres worth of space please see this video from James at Centurion Running.
Your mobile phone can be used to call Race HQ or the Medical Team in case of emergency away from an aid station involving you, or another runner. It allows us to guide you to safety and it allows us to locate you more quickly and easily. Our races take place in the South East UK where phone reception is widespread and often good even on more remote trails.
Head Lamp or Primary Light Source
If the event you are running in will involve running after sunset for any competitor in the field, then a headlamp/ primary light source will be included as mandatory equipment. Running at night requires light for safe negotiation of terain, improved navigation and can be used as a beacon for runners in distress easing location of their whereabouts by race staff or search and rescue teams. Faster runners may finish well before sunset in shorter events, however all runners must carry the same equipment to ensure parity/ fairness. It is also impossible to tell how a race may go for any individual, with many taking longer than expected, or getting lost and requiring additional time to cover the distance involving unplanned night time running.
Back Up Light Source NOT Spare Batteries
Your secondary lamp must be a minimum of 25 lumens. Quite simply if your bulb goes in your primary lamp, no amount of batteries will allow you to rectify that issue. A spare lamp is there to prevent running in total darkness if the bulb goes or the primary lamp malfunctions. Carrying spare batteries is an extremely worthwhile exercise in addition.
Route Map & Compass
Our courses are marked by national trail waymarkers and our own additional course markings. Course markings can be either vandalised or removed. Having a map and compass provides you, the runner, a source for getting back on course should course markings be removed/ vandalised or should you find yourself off course due to a navigational error on your part. We strongly advise all runners to ensure knowledge of navigation using map and compass prior to taking part in ultra distance trail events.
If you suffer an injury and are unable to proceed in poor or low visibility conditions, the whistle may facilitate your being located vastly more quickly than without one. It isn't necessary to use any distress call, simply blowing the whistle may dramatically reduce the time it takes race staff or search and rescue teams to find you.
Waterproof With Sealed Seams
A waterproof is essential kit on the trails in all but the warmest summer months in the UK, and when running at night at any time of the year. Rainfall is common year round, runners who are caught out and become wet through suffer reduced core temperatures, leading to a slowing in pace and the beginning of a viscious circle which can lead very quickly to hypothermia. Jackets without sealed seams, will not keep you dry. Wherever a waterpoof jacket is listed as mandatory, sealed seams are essential. The fabric should also be verified waterproof and NOT wind or shower proof. The same criteria exist where water proof trousers are listed. The minimum water resistance of a jacket should be 10,000mm.
If you have a jacket that is less than that level of water resistance or is shower / wind proof only, it will NOT pass kit check. Please don't tell us that you've 'been training in it all winter and it's been fine'. The conditions in the dark, wet and wind at hour 5-29 on your 50 or 100 mile race when you are moving very much more slowly and are much more heavily fatigued than you have ever reached in training, catch people out every time we hold an event. It may be that you are a mountain leader with Himalayan experience, or a first timer - the rules have to remain the same for everyone.
Bottles or Bladder with caacity for 1 litre of liquid
Our aid stations are frequent, the longest distance being 12 miles between two points, the shortest just over 3 miles. It is necessary to carry water between aid stations in order to ensure runners can manage their hydration both under regular conditions but particularly if they become lost, injured or disorientated resulting in vastly increased time taken to cover the distance between two water points.
Warm Hat & Gloves
Body heat is lost most rapidly through the head. A hat will ensure runners stay warm for longer. Aside from providing warmth and a means of retaining heat, gloves faciliate the use of fingers for dealing with changes of clothes or operation of other survical equipment for longer.
This must be a separate layer to that which you start the race in, even if you are wearing two tops on the start line. This layer should be kept dry and used only in an emergency.
Many of the above items are available for purchase in our store. They are also all widely available at any number of good online and bricks and mortar retail outlets.
This page is designed to provide runners an understanding of our refund and transfer policy, with information behind the reason for it.
First and foremost, we are runners ourselves, we understand all too well how frustrating it is not to be able to make the start line of an event that you/we have invested huge time and energy towards. We therefore try to be absolutely transparent with this policy and leave absolutely no room for confusion.
Our Refund/ Transfer policy for all Events is as follows:
Withdrawals up to 4 weeks prior to race day (0600 GMT Saturday 28 days prior) are eligible for a 70% refund. Withdrawals after that time will not be refunded as all race day costs have been incurred by that stage and you will not be replaced. There are no deferals or transfers to alternative/ later events. Exception to this is ONLY ifor pregnancy and in which case you must notify us by email of your pregnancy no later than 4 weeks prior to race day to be eligible for a 100% refund. You must acknowledge that you understand and agree to this policy during the registration process.
You will find the above listed on the registration page on our website, and all runners are presented with the exact details of the below policy during the registration process. Runners must tick the box in agreement to this policy in order to register for a race. Quite simply we do not want anyone for any reason to feel cheated or let down if they need to cancel their entry. We simply cannot be more transparent than this.
To put it simply, if you do not agree with the refund/ policy, please do not enter the event.
We make the policy as clear as possible by making you aware of it and asking you to agree to it during the registration process. We are not in a position to judge every case on it's individual merit. We can only have one completely clear policy for every situation faced.
Can I transfer my entry to another runner?
The answer to this is no and here's why. We are fortunate enough that every event we have staged since 2012, has sold out. When a race fills up, a waiting list opens and runners are permitted to add themselves to that list through the website on a first come first served basis. When we have a runner from the start list cancel their entry, that place gets offered to the first person on the waiting list and so on and so forth with each additional cancellation. If we allowed transfers, runners would effectively be able to jump over all of those people who have registered for the waiting list. The system would no longer be fair.
Can I transfer my entry to another race?
The answer to this is no and here's why. When entries go on sale for a new event, the priority is given to volunteers from the previous year. Entries are then opened at a given date and time for everyone else. Sometimes the races fill up very quickly indeed. If we transfer entries for runners from one race to the next or one year to the next, those people are effectively bypassing the registration process as it applies to everyone else. The system would no longer be fair. We would also see a number of runners securing entries to events they had no intention to run, simply to transfer/ guarantee entry to another which fills up very quickly.
Can I get a refund inside of 4 weeks prior to race day?
The answer to this is no and here's why. Exactly 4 weeks out from race day, we shut the waiting list and no further entries are taken. If you cancel inside of 4 weeks, you will no longer be replaced. The reason for that is administrative. It is at that point we do the following:
- Run all runner registration details for medical declarations and communicate those to our chief medical officer. We then liaise with the runners with outstanding conditions as to their being fit to compete.
- Check all runner qualifier details and correspond with those runners who have listed incomplete or missing qualifiying data (and who then may not be permitted to start the race).
- Finalise the awards orders, most importantly T- Shirt sizes.
- Collect and collate Runner Emergency Contact Details and communicate those to the three key members of staff who hold those on race day.
- Send the first of our two runner pre-race mail outs.
- Collate and print all runner manual bib timing sheets.
- Collate and print our registration sheets, divided in to 3 groups by alphabetical order.
Any changes to the start list inside of 4 weeks would render us having to amend or re-run every one of the above items, some of which simply cannot be done any later than 4 weeks prior to race day. That is why we pick that period of time. Remember, you are not the only person who has to cancel their spot.
I need to cancel and it is more than 4 weeks to race day. How much of a refund am I eligible for?
As above, inside of 4 weeks there are no refunds for any reason. Outside of 4 weeks prior to race day, no matter the reason for cancelling your entry, you are eligible for a 70% refund. The reason for this is that there is a physical and administrative cost to processing your refund. The cost of that is 30% of the entry fee.
The exception to this is pregnancy. See below.
Pregnancy refund level
Runners who notify us of pregnancy outside of 4 weeks prior to race day are eligible for a 100% refund.
Once again, we try to be as clear as we can with the above policy. The only way to ensure parity across the board is to have one clear policy and stick to it, however much of blow it comes to a runner who discovers they are unable to run the race they have entered.
We often receive questions asking for clarification of whether a runner is qualified to compete at one of our events. Here is a brief overview of what counts, and what doesn't.
Please note that these are the absolute minimum qualifications required in order to start. We advise gathering a great deal more experience than a single qualifier before attempting the 50 mile, but especially the 100 mile distance.
100 mile Distance - What Counts for 2018?
All Results must be from between 1/1/2015 and the race date of the chosen event.
100 mile Distance - What Doesn't count for 2018?
50 mile Distance - What Counts for 2018?
All Results must be from between 1/1/2015 and the race date of the chosen event.
50 mile Distance - What Doesn't count for 2018?
* One caveat here are races which are published to be a certain distance, but are renowned for being short. If a race is advertised as 50 miles by an organiser, it will be counted as a 50 mile race and will be accepted as a qualifier.