16 May 13 by James Elson

2013 North Downs Way 50 Preview

With the races coming thick and fast here at Centurion through this spring and summer, I'm going to keep the usual preview short and sweet. As always, apologies to anyone missed off, it isn't intentional and this is produced almost entirely from the top of my own head with little checking of results. Please comment on this post if you want to add or correct something!

The NDW50 is now in its third year with an unchanged course, although this year runners will have an additional 400 metres to cover turning in to the village and up to finish on the playing fields as opposed to the village green. With an expanding race and need for indoor facilities this was our best option.

It's worth mentioning that I still believe the NDW is the most difficult trail we hold events on. A lot of runners have looked at the overall elevation change and been duped in to believing that with 3000 ft less climbing over the 100, than the SDW100, it represents the easier option. But both the first and second 50s of our NDW races are punishing. The descents and ascents are short sharp and frequent. On the SDW, a better runner can keep moving forward at a good pace over the entire course but the NDW breaks your rhythm, chopping and changing underfoot and weaving its way eastwards via Box Hill, Reigate Hill and numerous other gradual drops and climbs. The weather this weekend looks to be fair for the most part and on reasonably dry ground, should make for faster than usual running. 

Last year Steve Paterson took the overall honours in a stunning 7:22:45. Marie Dokes excellent 2011 mark of 9:20:07 was obliterated by Alice Hectors NDW100 50 mile split, however being in a different race Marie's mark stands as our course record.

Craig Holgate: Craig was our 2012 TP100 champion in 15:11, taking the win by over 50 minutes. He is a regular 2:3* marathoner with a pedigree of faster running at shorter distances behind him. He recently finished as Englands 1st and 2nd overall in the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km. We haven't seen him on stop start hills like this as yet but on a good day Craig has to be the favourite going in. He races to win and rightly so, his talent is phenomenal. I believe he has won every ultra he has entered with the exception of the national 100kms second. 

Graham Booty: Graham is a super talented runner over all distances. Nothing short of a perfect day is good enough for this man, I've had the pleasure of racing with him myself over the years and he is a strong as they come. His 20 hour Caesars Camp 100, and 4th place 18:23 at the TP100 (which he was very disappointed with) are good examples. Im not sure of his form this season but he will be in the mix if he is in shape. 

Matt Winn Smith: Matt's background is in triathlon (unknown) but with an 18:35 at the TP100 where he came from somewhat off of our radar, he is surely a man to watch. 

Dan Afshar: Brings podium placings at the Pilgrims NDW multi-stage event to the table alongside solid marathon times and experience at the super long including the MdS and UTMB. 

The Ladies Field. 

I should start by saying I'm absolutely delighted to see both the number of women as a percentage of the field, growing, but also the level of competition increasing. The field we have at the NDW50 exemplifies this.

Emily Canvin: Emily recently took home the trophy for first place at the SDW50, taking advantage of better navigation in to the finish, for an 8:23 which in torrid conditions was extremely impressive.

MG Spalton: Turned in a very good marathon at London just recently just over the 3hr mark and brings some excellent ultra experience with her, a combination which must be good for success here....

Tiffany Saibil: Tiffanys experience in and around Alpine races will render this course essentially flat to her. With some excellent results behind her including 30th at the 200 mile TDG it'll be great to see what she can do here in the UK.

Katarzyna Burdzy: Pacing a friend at Three Forts last year we found ourselves racing Katarzyna and her pacer all day and her fight for 2nd place was something to behold. With an 8 hour Thames Trot this year and the experience of the 2011 NDW50 behind her she could have a very good day this time out. 

As I mentioned this is a very quick scan through so please accept my apologies for errors and people missed out. Lastly we have Paul Corderoy running hoping to bag his 2nd 50 and 3rd Centurion race of the year, on route to attempting to finish all 6 races and 500 miles with us in 2013. Good luck Paul!