The 2021 event is going ahead as planned with adjustments for Covid-19 transmission risk mitigation. For the latest information head to the Covid tab here

Centurion Running

North Downs Way 50

22 May 2021

Race Full

Course Records

Jon Ellis (M)



Holly Rush (F)



What date is the next event and when do registrations open? 

The 11th edition of the North Downs Way 50 will take place on Saturday 22nd May 2021.

Registrations open at 1000 on Saturday August 29th 2020.

How tough is the course? 

The course has 5600 feet of gain. Roughly translated the route varies between undulating and hilly. There are, however, no ascents lasting more than a 10 minutes. There are also some short sections of stairs involving climbs or descents from the steepest points on the course. In terms of terrain, 80% of the course is on trail and around 20% on the road. If it is wet in the lead up to the race or on race weekend itself, some sections will become muddy and require due care and attention. Expect a mixture of road, pavement, soft woodland trail, mud, sand and more hard packed chalk trail. The scenery on the North Downs Way is phenomenal. There are individual sections particularly early on that show off some of the best of the English Countryside, however the extremely varied, sometimes difficult underfoot conditions as well as the number of sharp turns and short and steep climbs and descents make for slow going in places and push runners to lean on many different skillsets. Road running, crushed gravel, rocky trail and soft sand trail feature alongside smooth and rolling non-technical single/ double track running.

What do I get for my entry fee? 

Principally you get a fully supported race day experience including:

6 fully stocked aid stations

Full Medical Support in the form of dedicated race ambulances and roving vehicles as well as static first aid teams.

Live timings throughout race weekend for friends and family to follow you online

Finish Line Hot Food and Drinks

FINISHERS ONLY (Awards can be refused and replaced with Trees not Tees)

A technical finishers t-shirt

Finishers Medal

Is there a limit to the number of entries/ Can I enter on race day/ Is there a waiting list?

There will be no entries on the day. The race will be limited to the first 320 entrants.

Is there a minimum qualification standard to achieve before I can enter?

In order to start the race, you must have completed a minimum of a marathon distance race within the cut off time between 1st January 2017 and the 2020 race date. You may enter the race without having first qualified. If you fail to qualify prior to race date you will however, not be permitted to start. As organisers, we reserve the right to refuse anybody entry who does not meet this standard.

Click here to read more about what counts as a qualifier.


Changes to the usual race set up are required to meet the situation with regards to Covid-19. All changes are outlined on this page here.

Is there mandatory gear to carry on race day?

Yes. Runners must carry the following mandatory equipment at ALL times. A time penalty of one hour will be imposed for any item found to be missing at any point on course.

There will be kit checks prior to the race as well as potientially during and at the finish. Please refer to this page for explanations on the inclusion of the below items. 

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.

  • Fully Charged Mobile Phone including the numbers for the Race Medic and Race Director (on the number you have given at registration)
  • Water Bottles/Bladder capable of carrying a minimum of 1 litre.
  • Survival Blanket: 1.4m x 2m minimum
  • Waterproof Jacket: Gore-tex or similar, minimum 10000mm+ & must have sealed seams. 
  • Whistle
  • Headtorch or Primary Light Source 
  • The race is cupless which means you must bring a cup with you. Soft cups are available at the store here

Strongly recommended but not mandatory: 

  • Route Map - Should be a hard copy that you are able to navigate from and not a map on your phone. The Harveys Map available at a discounted rate here is strongly recommended.
  • Compass - This should be a separate physical compass and not electronic/ on your phone. 

Are there any road crossings or gates/ stiles to negotiate? 

Absolutely yes. Whilst the North Downs Way is predominantly trail, some of it is on road. There are sections of the course where you will be running along both single and double lane carriage ways. The majority of these are very quiet country roads, however the trail does appear at busy road junctions, at some points abruptly and therefore you must be alert at all times. Road crossing are NOT marshalled. Runners pass along the course entirely at their own risk. Much of the NDW is on private land and as a result there are gates and stiles to negotiate throughout the length of the course. All gates must be closed properly after you make your way through. 

Will there be live updates during the race for friends and family to follow? 

There will be a live webcast during the event. Live tracking of runner locations and times will be available throughout the race via Open Tracking. Twitter updates will also be going out across the weekend. A link to the live site will appear on the homepage in the week leading up to the race. 

How many aid stations are there?

A full aid station plan is available here

There will be 7 aid stations including the finish.

How do I get to the start?

Race HQ is at Farnham Leisure Centre, Dogflud Way, Farnham, GU9 7UD. It is an 8 minute walk from Farnham station and is in Farnham town centre. The race itself starts at the trail head of the North Downs Way. Runners will commence the 5 minutes walk down to the race start having collected their race tracker from the Leisure Centre.

Where is the finish?

The race finish is in the fields behind Knockholt Pound Village Hall. All cars must park at Coolings Green and Pleasant (note this is different to Coolings Garden Centre on Rushmore Hill), Main Road, Knockholt, TN14 7LJ. This is a 5 minute walk from the finish, almost directly opposite the village hall.

How do I book the Bus from the Finish back to the Start and what time does the bus leave?

The shuttle bus will leave the finish at the conclusion of the race only: 2115 on Saturday. You can purchase a ticket during registration or by returning to the registration site via your email confirmation. Cost is £15. The bus will make one stop only, back at the Race Registration Location. 

Where should I park?

Parking is available at Farnham Leisure Centre - Riverside Car Park at a cost of £4.20 for the day (Sundays are free). If that fills up then the best place for parking is Farnham Station which has ample spaces and a weekend ticket option.

The race finish is in the fields behind Knockholt Pound Village Hall. All cars must park at Coolings Green and Pleasant (note this is different to Coolings Garden Centre on Rushmore Hill), Main Road, Knockholt, TN14 7LJ. This is a 5 minute walk from the finish, almost directly opposite the village hall.

What facilities are there at the Start/ Finish? 

Start: Toilets, Water.
Finish: Toilets, Free Hot Food and Drinks (Runners only and includes vegetarian option). 
There are NO sleeping facilities at the start or finish. 

What time does the race start?

You must register within the times listed on the schedule tab. Your race number will be posted to you before race day, you must still collect your tracker from registration. Start time is a rolling start for 2021. Please see the covid tab here for further details.

Are pacers allowed?

No pacers or unofficial runners will be permitted in the race. If you are found to be running with a pacer you will be immediately DQ'd. 

Are crews allowed?

No crews are permitted at this race at any location. 

Will I need a map or compass?

It is not mandatory to carry a map and compass, however carrying both will help you if markings become vandalised during the course of the event or if you haven't been able to recce the route prior to race day. The route will be marked for the entire duration using tape and arrows plus there are the pre-existing national trail way markers. If the markers do get removed or vandalised, runners will need to pay close attention to the way markers. Any significant change in direction will be made as obvious as possible. The relevant and most concise map is the North Downs Way Harveys Map which is available at a discount here. 

Will there be toilets at the start/ finish or on the race route? 

There will be toilets at the start at the school and at the finish line. There are also toilets at Newlands Corner (mile 14.5) & Wray Lane Car Park, Reigate (Mile 31).

What are the prizes/ awards

All finishers will receive a medal and a race shirt. Male and Female winners will be awarded the Centurion Trophy. 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed men and women will also receive additional prizes.

Age category prizes will be awarded to Male and Female V40, V50, V60 and V70.

What happens if I need to drop out?

If you need to drop out of the race, it is your responsibility to get back to where you need to get to but we will endeavor to help you as much as we can. If you have to drop please do so only at an aid station. Please inform the aid station captain on arrival that you intend to drop and whether you need assistance. If you need to drop out away from an aid station you must phone the race director immediately on the number provided at check in. If you drop at an aid station, the Aid Station Captains will inform you if it is possible to get transport to the finish or public transport. There is a sweeper bus, however it may be that you have to wait some considerable time so please be patient with the volunteers. The bus travels with the cut offs. If it is imperative that you get away immediately you will be given other options involving local transport services.

What food and drink will there be on route?

All aid stations will have a full selection of the usual aid station fayre and a whole lot more. At a minimum you will be able to pick up Water, Coke, Gu Gels, Chocolate, Crisps, Fruit, Nuts, Sandwiches/ Wraps and other sweet and savoury snacks.

What level of medical support can I expect?

Medical support is of paramount importance to us as organisers. Throughout the event there will be two ambulances on course, which will travel, one with the main group of runners and a second towards the back of the pack. There will also be a fixed medical team on hand at the finish line. Individual first aiders/ medical volunteers will also be present at some aid stations. Contact numbers for the medical team will be available at registration. They will be contactable round the clock for the duration of the race.

I need to Withdraw, what is the Refund/ Transfer Policy?

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. You must acknowledge that you understand and agree to this policy during the registration process.If you do not agree with the refund policy please do not enter the event. 

To withdraw please find your entry here and click the Cancel button. Your card will automatically be refunded the 70% fee up to 4 weeks before race day. After this time, you can still cancel your entry, but without any refund.

Exception to this is ONLY for 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. 

What happens if the event is cancelled or abandoned?

Race management reserve the right to modify, at any time, the course or aid station locations listed. 

In the case of severe/ extreme weather conditions including but not limited to flooding after the event start, race management reserve the right to abandon the event at any time.

No refunds will be offered in that situation but a suitable alternative will always be sought. If the event cannot take place for reasons out of the control of race management including but not limited to flooding, severe weather or denial of access to the original course (foot and mouth outbreak for example), race management reserve the right to postpone the event to a later date and all entries will be carried forward to the new date. Refunds may not be offered under these circumstances. Event cancellation due to reasons such as Coronavirus or other such pandemic, public health, local authority travel and movement restrictions and bans of any kind etc. are beyond our control and no refund will be given in such circumstances. If the event is cancelled for reasons which require the event to be postponed indefinitely, race management reserve the right to retain all entry fees against costs incurred. 

Is the race a qualifier for UTMB, Western States or Hardrock?

The race is an official qualifier for UTMB.

How do I get in touch?

Please email us at [email protected] for any questions at all.

Is there any recommended reading?

The Trailblazer guides available here are excellent overall resources on the trail and include detailed maps of each section.