The NDW50 is a 50 mile continuous point to point trail race along the North Downs Way from Farnham in the Surrey Hills to Knockholt Pound in Kent. Runners must reach the finish within 13 hours. There are further cut offs on route.
The race starts at the western origin of the North Downs Way trail and stays entirely on that route until Knockholt Pound at mile 50, where runners will leave the national trail on the road to finish at the Village Hall.
This is a National Trail maintained by the National Trail Trust together with the various county councils and extends all the way to Dover on the South East Coast of the United Kingdom. The trail is open year round to the public, but cuts through a mixture of private land and public byways. It is absolutely essential that runners respect the land at all times on the course.
1. Course Route: The race will be a point to point run of 50 miles.
2. Familiarity: Knowledge of the trail offers both physical and mental advantages during the race. Runners are advised to cover/ recce as much of the trail as possible before race day.
3. Weather: Temperatures during the race could range from just a few degrees to 35 degrees celcius, participants should be fully prepared for both extremes. Humidity at this time of year in the South East is high. Weather conditions are unpredictable and can change rapidly. If it rains the ground will become wet, slippery and in places very muddy, presenting technical footing particularly on the trail and stair sections of the course.
4. Hydration: If it is hot, it will also likely be humid and hydration will be crucial to your safety and enjoyment of the event. Even if it is cold it is extremely important to stay hydrated. The aid stations are positioned such that water is available at regular time intervals, always make sure you have the capacity to carry enough to cover the distance to the next aid station (please see medical notes further down this document on hydration/ salt intake balance).
5. Trail Markings: Permanent North Downs Way markings include sign posts, finger posts and other fixed markers all displaying either the acorn symbol or 'North Downs Way' text. These can be used during recce's and during the race as the principal source of navigation. Additional trail markings over race weekend will consist of red and white tape and Centurion directional arrows. Race staff and volunteers do their best to provide a marked trail, but it is necessary for runners to continually remain alert as they travel. On occasion, course markings may be removed or vandalised, or course markers may not be able to place signage at a critical turn due to unusual circumstances. Knowledge of the trail will be of infinite benefit to the runner.
6. Dropping: If you have to drop out of the race, we will make every reasonable effort to get you to the finish, particularly if you are in need of medical attention. In non-emergency situations, you may have to wait several hours before being transported. Our principal responsibility is to put on a run, not to run a shuttle service for non-finishers; so please be patient. All aid stations have cut offs and will close as soon as the cut off is reached. If runners are still behind on the course when a cut off is reached, the aid station crew will wait for them before departing. We will remain in situ until every runner is accounted for. We will give runners EVERY opportunity to make the cut off but if you are pulled from the race officially, you will have your number removed and should you wish to continue, you will do so at your own risk. A full list of the cut offs can be found under the aid station section. A sweeper bus will travel the course reaching each aid station at the cut off and picking up stranded runners.
7. Trail Etiquette: Please be courteous to hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders and other runners. Slower runners must yield the trail to runners wishing to pass. Please also respect that many residents back on to the trail. Keep noise to a minimum through those areas. Littering of any kind will result in immediate disqualification.
8. Volunteers: Volunteers will do everything possible to make your day a success. Many spend more hours out on the trail than do the runners themselves. Please be polite and make a point to thank them. Without the volunteers, there would be no race.
All rules are at the final discretion of the race management team. No challenges will be permitted.
Mandatory Gear: 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. 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.
Strongly recommended but not mandatory:
|1||There will be no unofficial runners.||Unofficial Runners/ Running without a registration or Running under another name||Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
|2||Each runners bib number must be worn on the front of the body and must be easily visible at all times.||Bib number not visible on front||One Hour Penalty|
|3||Runners must follow the marked trail/ course at all times. Any runner caught deliberately cutting the course will be banned from taking part in future Centurion events.||Short-cutting the route knowingly||At the RD's Discretion|
|4||Each runner must complete the entire course under his or her own power.||Receiving powered assistance ie. vehicular, bike, horse, or short rope from pacer||DQ and Lifetime Ban|
|5||Runners may not store supplies of any kind along the trail.||Storing Supplies along the trail||Two Hour Penalty|
|6||Each runner must pass through every aid station||Failing to visit an Aid Station||At the RD's Discretion|
|7||Cut-off times will be strictly enforced. There are cut offs at EVERY aid station. Runners leaving any aid station after the cut off will not be listed as official finishers and will not be eligible for awards.||Continuing/ leaving aid station after cut off||DQ & Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
|8||Injection of PEDs or Fluids/ IVs by non-official race medical personnel||Injection of PEDs or Fluids/ IVs by non-official race medical personnel||DQ and Lifetime Ban|
|9||Littering of any kind will result in immediate disqualification. Runners caught littering will be banned from all future Centurion events. Please respect the natural beauty of our trails and the right of everyone to enjoy them. Littering will threaten our use of the trails and the future of the race.||Littering by competitor or crew||DQ & Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
|10||Any runner who is unable to finish the race must personally inform the aid station captain of the nearest checkpoint of their decision to withdraw. HE OR SHE MUST HAND IN THEIR RACE NUMBER TO THE AID STATION CAPTAIN AT THAT TIME. This serves as official notice of a runner’s withdrawal from the race. Runners who leave the course without turning in their number will be classified as “lost,” initiating serach and rescue, for which the runner will be charged.||Not informing organisers of withdrawal from event||DQ and ban at race directors discretion|
|11||Minimum age on race day - 20||Providing false information relating to age on registration form||Lifetime Ban|
|12||Pacers are not permitted at any time.||Pacers accompanying runners||DQ & Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
|13||Runners must carry with them AT ALL TIMES the mandatory equipment required.||Missing Item of Mandatory Kit||Minimum of 1 hour penalty per missing item|
|14||There will be mandatory gear checks at the start, on route, or at the finish. Failure to comply with the gear checks will result in disqualification.||Refusal to have obligatory equipment checked||DQ & Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
|15||Runners are not to be accompanied by dogs at any time whilst on course.||Accompanied by dog||DQ|
|16||Any athlete who has been determined to have violated anti-doping rules at any time - through IAAF, the World Anti-Doping Agency, UK Anti Doping or any other National Sports Federation is ineligible for entry into any of our events. We reserve the right to conduct pre and post-competition testing for any and all performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) listed on the current WADA Prohibited List. Any athlete who refuses to submit to anti-doping controls, if selected for testing, shall be disqualified and subject to a lifetime ban from our events.||Previous Doping Infraction or refusal to comply with testing if selected.||DQ and Lifetime Ban|
|17||Runners must not be crewed in any way||Being crewed||DQ & Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
|18||Runners must at all times comply with any instruction given by race management, staff and volunteers.||Refusal to comply with an order from the race directors, race staff, doctors or rescue personnel.||DQ & Lifetime Ban at RD Discretion|
RULE VIOLATION PROCEDURE
Any protests to a ruling or of a runner to runner violation must be submitted by a registered entrant and must be lodged using the following procedure:
1. Report the alleged violation to the runner, his/her crew or pacer as the incident occurs. Enlist a fellow witness to the alleged violation if possible.
2. Report the alleged violation with the runner’s name and number to the next available aid station staff.
3. Report the alleged violation in writing at the finish line to the race director. All protests must be submitted by 6pm on Monday following the race. Written protest must include the name of the person who lodged the complaint.
4. Decision on all violations and rules is at the final discretion of the Race Management ONLY. There will be no challenges after that decision.
The North Downs Way is used by, but not limited to, horse riders, walkers and mountain bikers. Please be aware of other people whilst you are running and be as polite and courteous as possible to them, making way when necessary, particularly to horses. You do not have priority over any other users out on the course, most will be totally unaware of the event taking place. All gates must be properly closed after you have gone through.
The North Downs Way 50 is an extremely challenging event and participation presents numerous medical risks, many of which can be extremely serious or fatal.
Participation in this event is at the runner’s own risk. Although medical personnel are positioned at various points along the course, the inaccessibility of much of the trail will make it difficult or impossible for medical assistance to reach the runner immediately.
Medical support at the race is under the direction of the Race Medical Director who’s details to be used in an emergency will be made available to all runners at registration, further to that of the Race Director.
The medical team on site for the weekend is provided by Sharps Medical Services. At any one time during the race there will be a minium of one ambulance/ medical support car on call. There will also be a static medical team at the finish from the time of the first, to the time of the last finisher. In addition there will be medical crews at some of the major aid stations.
It is important for each entrant to recognise the potential physical and mental stresses, which may evolve from participation in the race. Runners may be subject to extremes of heat, cold, hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration, hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, disorientation and mental and physical exhaustion. We and the medical staff strive to work with runners and will do all we reasonably can to ensure “safe passage” to the finish line, but ultimately runners must understand their own limitations. Adequate physical and mental conditioning prior to the race is mandatory. If you have not been able to prepare properly, do not attempt to run.
Runners should appreciate the risks associated with participation in this event. Actions may have to be taken on your behalf under extreme time constraints and adverse circumstances. We will make every effort to give assistance whenever possible but ultimately and primarily you are in charge, and you are likely to be solely responsible for creating your own crisis that we must then respond to. Be careful, be responsible, and do not exceed your own abilities and limitations. IN THE EVENT THAT A RUNNER REQUIRES EMERGENCY EVACUATION, THE RUNNER ASSUMES ALL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS CONNECTED WITH THIS SERVICE. CENTURION RUNNING IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DEBTS INCURRED. Runners should have adequate insurance in place to cover those eventualities.
Some of the main risks, but certainly not all of them, are listed here. These should be understood and remembered by all runners, before and during the event. Please note that death can result from several of the risk conditions discussed below.
1. Renal Shutdown: Renal shutdown occurs from muscle tissue injury which causes the release of myoglobin, a protein material, into the blood plasma. Myoglobin is cleared from the blood stream by the kidneys and will look brownish-colored in the urine. Adequate hydration will help flush myoglobin through the kidneys. Overwhelming amounts of myoglobin may clog the filtering system of the kidneys either partially or totally. If not treated, renal shutdown can cause permanent impairment of kidney function. IT IS CRUCIAL TO CONTINUE HYDRATING USING ELECTROLYTE FLUIDS DURING THE FINAL HOURS OF THE RUN AND FOR SEVERAL HOURS/ DAYS FOLLOWING THE RUN OR UNTIL THE URINE IS LIGHT YELLOW AND OF NORMAL FREQUENCY. There is extensive research to support the claim that NSAIDs (ie. ibuprofen etc) greatly increase a runners chances of reaching a stage of renal shutdown. We will not provide Ibuprofen or at any aid station and you are strongly advised not to take it during or immediately after the run. More information on this subject can be obtained by contacting the race director.
2. Effects of Cold/Hypothermia: Temperatures in May in the UK are usually in the high teens or low 20s celcius, however temperatures can be much cooler. With wet conditions and/or moderate to high winds runners will be open to exposure during the event. Hypothermia is a serious risk when runners energy reserves have been depleted from up to 13 or more hours of running. Hypothermia can strike very quickly, particularly when pace slows from exhaustion or injury. The initial warning signs of hypothermia often include lethargy, disorientation and confusion. The runner will feel very cold with uncontrolled shivering and may become confused, unaware of the surroundings, and may possibly be an immediate danger to his or herself. Staying well-nourished, adequately hydrated and appropriately clothed will help avoid hypothermia.
3. Risks Associated with Low Sodium and Chloride Counts: Low sodium levels (hyponatremia) in ultramarathon runners have been associated with severe illness requiring hospitalization. It is important for long-distance athletes to use fluids or eat foods containing electrolytes/ salt to replace the water and salts lost during exercise. WATER INTAKE ALONE IS NOT SUFFICIENT, as water intoxication and possibly death may result. This problem may in fact worsen after the Race, as the non-electrolyte-containing fluid which has been accumulating in the stomach is absorbed. Potassium and calcium replacement may also be important, although these levels change less with fluid loss and replenishment. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include; weight gain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, lack of coordination, dizziness, muscle twitching/cramping and fatigue. If left untreated, it may progress to seizures, pulmonary and cerebral edema, coma and death. There are two ways to put oneself at risk of hyponatremia; 1) over-hydration (with water or even electrolyte-containing sports drinks) and 2) replacing sweat with hypotonic fluids. Risks of hyponatremia include weight gain and low sweat rate.
Risks of hyponatremia can be minimised by eating salted foods a few days prior to the race, matching fluid and electrolyte intake to sweat losses and monitoring weight. The best way to achieve proper electrolyte and fluid balance is to hydrate with fluids containing proper amounts of electrolytes and to replace with sodium-containing foods or supplements, if required, and as determined during your training. Electrolyte fluids should be consumed for a good period (a few hours) after the race. Once the gut is working and adequate hydration has occurred, the normal balance of thirst, hunger, digestion and kidney filtration will maintain the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes. Water or dilute sports drinks should be consumed only after the onset of urination.
4. Vehicle Hazards: Much of the trail is near to, crosses or travels along roads which are NOT marshalled. There are therefore several areas on the course where runners must be watchful for vehicles. Runners cross all roads at their own risk.
5. Use of Drugs: No drugs of any kind should be taken before, during or immediately after the race. Many drugs can increase the risk of heat stroke. A partial list of problem drugs include amphetamines, tranquilizers, and diuretics.
7. Injuries from Falling: Falling is an ever-present danger on trails, with potentially serious consequences. Much of the trail is narrow, uneven and rutted and there are some significant sections of stairs where particular attention is required - particular in the vicinity of Box Hill. The course may be covered with sitting water which will create significant challenges and potential hazards to runners.
8. Overuse Injuries: Obviously, innumerable overuse injuries can occur, especially in the knee and the ankle. Sprains and fractures can easily occur on the trails. Blisters may also halt progress.
9. Common Fatigue: One of the dangers you will encounter is fatigue. Fatigue, combined with the effects of dehydration, hypothermia, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia and other debilitating conditions can produce disorientation and irrationality.
10. Difficulty in Gaining Access to or Locating Injured Participants: Much of the trail is inaccessible by motor vehicle. Accordingly, in spite of the many layers of safety precautions instituted by the race management (including radio communications, sweepers, foot patrols and other emergency services and medical personnel at many checkpoints), there is absolutely no assurance that aid or rescue assistance will arrive in time to give you effective assistance should you become sick, incapacitated or injured.
What to do in a Medical Emergency:
If there is a problem and you need the Medical Team either to attend or just for advice, call: 07421 005671 at ANY time during the event.
This will put you through to the Event Medical Team Leader who will co-ordinate any response and/or give advice, Our team will be happy to talk you through Emergency Aid Procedures on the phone whilst they are on their way to you.
If you are ill/injured or have found someone who is ill/injured and need the medical team to attend your location, we’ll need to know the following:
Your Phone Number (In case we need to call you back)
Where You Are (Preferably Sat-Nav’able Location, e.g. Outside the Church on South Street in Redhill or 1 Mile along the route from where it crosses the A3), we’re also able to access Lat/Long if you have a GPS with that capability.
Your name and/or Runner Number and that of the Casualty if Different.
What’s wrong? What do you need the medical team for?
If you are not the casualty, but have found them, please stay with them until help arrives, whilst this may impact on your personal best, at least you’ll have a good excuse
Make the casualty as visible as possible and keep them warm, It is mandatory for each runner to carry a “Foil Blanket” which should be used if you're in any doubt at all.
Do not allow the casualty to move UNLESS they are in an unsafe position, e.g. in the middle of a busy road and there is no other option.
Do not give the casualty anything to eat or drink until the medical team arrive as they may require surgery or medical procedures at hospital and food/drink will delay this being able to happen.
Be ready to flag down the Medical Team when they are close by.
The phone used to call the Medical Team must remain with the casualty until the medical team arrives, if we’re having difficulty finding you, we will call you back.
General Rule: If the Casualty is NOT BREATHING, is likely to STOP BREATHING imminently, call 999 for the Ambulance Service, then the Event Medical Team (We ask that you call both because we may be close by and can assist until the 999 Service Arrives), for all other Injuries/Illnesses, call the Event Medical Team on the above number FIRST and we’ll take it from there.
If you just need advice, give the Medical Team a call on the number above, or speak to one of the marshalls.
There are other significant risks to runners during the race which do not fall under the medical category. The major ones are listed here and all runners should be aware of these prior to race day.
1. Social Hazards. The NDW50 course makes its way through many small towns and villages as well as many more remote sections of countryside. There is always the opportunity for undesirable characters to be on or around the trail and the chance that they may cause trouble for runners. Runners who want to listen to music/ use headphones should be aware of their surroundings at all times on the trail.
2. Road Crossings. As mentioned frequently throughout this document, there are many road crossings, busy road junctions to negotiate and sections of the trail that travel along roads. The junctions will NOT be marshalled. You the runner must be alert and aware at all times when emerging on to roads. We advise all runners to recce the route prior to race day. It is YOUR responisibility as a runner to navigate all road crossings safely.
3. Getting lost. Whilst the course is marked, runners must be prepared to follow the National Trail waymarkers as the principal source of navigation, remembering that the acorn is the symbol of the National Trail. The North Downs Way is the major trail through this area. Race staff and the volunteers do their best to provide a marked trail, but it is necessary for runners to continually remain alert as they travel. In places, the NDW travels through large open fields or hillsides where it is impossible to place markers. Furthermore, on occasion, course markings may be removed or vandalised. Knowledge of the trail will be of infinite benefit to the runner. YOU are ultimately responsible for following the correct course. The course will be marked with tape and directional arrows but these are out in the open and may be removed or vandalised during the course of the event. If you do lose the route, check your map if you have one and return to the last marker point you saw on the trail and make your way once again from there. If you are still unsure, wait for another runner to come through who might have experience of the course first hand.
These type of running events survive because of the incredible volunteers who work the aid stations. Without them there would be no race. There are a total of 7 aid stations, including the finish location.
The aid station captains have all have either running or medical experience and have been fully briefed as to what runners will require during the race. Many of them are race directors themselves and are hugely experienced at managing these type of events. The aid stations are well stocked with fluids and a variety of foods. The fluids that are generally available are Water, Tailwind and Coke. The foods that are generally available are fruit, cookies, chocolate bars, jelly babies, crisps, nuts, a limited number of Gu Gels, sandwiches, wraps etc.
The use of Ibuprofen can lead to kidney problems when used in abundance and/or under stressful conditions such as running long distance races. We will not provide these medications at our aid stations. If you feel the need to bring and use your own pain medications or anti-inflammatories, then you are willing to assume the responsibility for their use.
Without the assistance of the volunteers and race medics, there would be no race. Many of these volunteers have spent days preparing for the run and will be out on the course over both Friday and Saturday, assisting runners. They have given up their weekend to insure you the best possible chance of success. Courtesy and sincere thanks from the runners will go a long way to help make their day.
Cut-off and “pace” times are listed on the Aid Station Chart. Cut-off times reflect the deadlines for LEAVING the aid station. If you return to an aid station after the cut-off, you will be pulled from the race. The cut-off times will be strictly enforced by the Aid Station Captains. Anyone leaving an aid station after the cut-off time will be disqualified. This rule is for the safety of all participants.
IF YOU MISS THE CUT-OFF, YOU MUST STOP. Significant sanctions will apply to anyone breaking this rule. If you miss a cut off you must hand in your race number to the aid station, at which point you are officially withdrawn from the race. The aid station captains will try to relocate you to where you need to go but please remember they are not under any obligation to do so. Once again our first priority is to the runners still in the race and aid station personnel may well have dual duties at other aid stations to attend to once their station closes.
Medal to Finishers only. Rather than take a medal, runners can opt in to plant a tree instead with Trees not Tees. This option can be selected during the registration process.
Additional prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Male and Female and all Vet Categories: MV40, MV50, MV60, MV70, FV40, FV50, FV60, FV70.
Runners crossing the finish line after the 13 hour cutoff will not be listed as official finishers and will not be eligible for awards.