The course is 100 miles in length and has 12,700 feet of gain. The ascents and descents do not exceed 800 feet in any one climb due to the highest point on the downs sitting at that altitude. In terms of terrain, 85% of each course is on trail and around 15% on the road. The trail varies between open grassland, woodland single/ double track, crushed gravel/ dirt road and paved roads. The South Downs are formed largely of chalk and If it is wet in the lead up to the race or on race weekend itself, some sections will become muddy and, where the chalk is exposed, slippery and require due care and attention. The path can on occasion be quite rocky underfoot making some sections moderately technical in the wet or dry. The ground along the top of the South Downs Way is exposed and in wet and windy weather can become very hard going. On hot days exposure to the sun is also an issue.
Principally you get a fully supported race day experience including:
12 fully stocked aid stations.
A marked course.
Overnight camping at the start line.
Free parking at the start for the duration of the race. Free parking at the finish if required.
Full Medical Support in the form of dedicated race ambulances and roving vehicles as well as static first aid teams and medical volunteers at aid stations.
Live Tracking through open tracking. Click here to see a replay/ tracking of the 2021 event.
Live timings across race weekend for friends and family to track your progress.
Finish Line Hot Food and Drinks
FINISHERS ONLY (Runners can opt out of awards and have a tree planted instead through Trees not Tees)
A technical finishers t-shirt
All finishers will receive a a technical finishers shirt and a buckle. Finishers in under 24 hours will receive a '100 miles - One Day' Buckle. All finishers between 24 and 30 hours will receive a '100 miles - Finisher' buckle.
Runners can opt out of awards and have a tree planted instead through Trees not Tees
Both the male and female overall winners will receive the Centurion trophy.
There are age group prizes as follows:
MV40, FV40, MV50, FV50, MV60, FV60, MV70, FV70. We are yet to have an M or F V80 but if we have one, we'll make a category!
General Entries open on Saturday July 31st 2021 at 1000. There will be no waiting list for this event. There will no entries permitted on the day under any circumstances.
In order to enter you must have completed a minimum of a 50 mile distance race within 15hrs, between 1st January 2018 and race day. As organisers, we reserve the right to refuse anybody entry who does not meet this standard. Unqualified runners may enter but will be contacted approximately 8 weeks prior to race to verify qualification plans if they have not updated their online information by this time.
This event was last held in June 2021 with covid protocols in place. Whilst we hope that all of the restrictions that were necessary for that event to happen safely, will not be required, we will of course implement them if the guidance and or permit requires them. These may include:
- Rolling start as opposed to wave start
- Mandatory Sanitisation at Check Points and any other touch points on route
- Use of masks
- Use of social distancing
Otherwise we must hope that a 2022 event is much closer or the same as a regular event from 2019 and before.
There will be kit checks prior, during and after the race. 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:
All runners will carry trackers allowing their location to be followed by race HQ, but also by friends and family throughout the race. Click here to see a replay/ tracking of the 2021 event.
In addition, a leaderboard will be available at the Live link shared on the homepage in the days leading up to the race.
Social media updates and images will be shared in addition to these, across the race.
Absolutely yes. Whilst the South Downs Way is predominantly trail, some of it is on road. There are sections of the course where you will be running along single lane carriage ways. The majority of these are very quiet country roads, however the trail does appear at busy road junctions WHICH WILL NOT BE MARSHALLED, at some points abruptly and therefore you must be alert at all times. We repeat that road crossing will NOT be marshalled. Runners pass along the course entirely at their own risk and must take responsibility for crossing roads safely. Much of the SDW 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. There are a total of 95 gates or stiles on the route.
There will be 13 aid stations including the finish.
The registration and race start is at Matterley Bowl. Directions can be found under the travel and accom tab.
The race finishes at Easbourne Sports Park. Directions can be found under the travel and accom tab.
Start: Free On Site Parking, Free camping, Toilets, Water, Pop-Up Centurion Running Store, Coffee Stand, Kids 1 mile race ALL UNDER 12's ARE WELCOME FREE OF CHARGE!
Finish: Free On Site Parking, Toilets, Showers, Male and Female Changing, Free Hot Food and Drinks (Runners only and includes vegetarian option).
There are NO sleeping facilities at the finish.
There is parking at the race start. Runners will be able to park their cars at no charge on site at Matterley Bowl from 1730 on the Friday until the bus returns with finishers at 1500 on Sunday.
There is one shuttle which departs the finish at 1215 on Sunday, the conclusion of the event. The shuttle will make one stop only, Matterley Bowl/ The Start Location. Cost is £30 and tickets can be purchased during the registration process. Advance bus tickets are now sold out, a limited number may be available at registration on the day.
You must register within the times listed on the schedule tab. Your race number will not be posted to you before race day, you must collect if from registration. Start times are also on the schedule tab.
Runners are permitted pacers from Kithurst Hill Crew Point (mile 50). The first check point from which runners may be paced is Washington. Pacers must travel on foot only. Runners are permitted multiple pacers throughout the last 50 miles but only one may travel with the runner at any one time. The exception to this is the finishing lap of the track where a runner may be joined by as many friends and family as he or she wishes.
The points at which a runner may be paced/ hand over pacers are listed on the crew page here.
Yes. If you want to have your crew, friends or family meet you you may have them do so but only at the points listed on the crew page here.
Our race permits and the future of the race depend on our positive interaction with the environment and communities through which we run. Any runner found to have crew violating this will be subject to the rule violation procedure.
Do not have your crew tend to you in a motorhome. A short wheel base van should be the biggest vehicle used to get around the course. Be aware of height restrictions entering some of the car parks on the trail.
NOTE: Please also ask your supporters to meet you only at the designated crew locations. The reason for restricting access to certain points, is predominantly parking and noise limitation, hence supporting is as much of an issue in sensitive areas as crewing.
Yes. Runners need to leave a different drop bag for each aid station (Washington, Housedean Farm, Finish). Each bag will be transported to the aid station listed and then the finish only. The exception is your finish line bag which will go directly from the start to the finish.
Drop bags must NOT exceed 45cm x 25cm x 25cm in size ie. the size of a large shoe box for any one aid station. Your finish line bag can be bigger than this but please keep the size to a minimum, no suitcases. DO NOT USE ACTUAL SHOE BOXES. They can get wet, then break and then leak your stuff everywhere!
Your drop bags will be taken to the finish for 0800 onwards on the Sunday, they may be available before but this cannot be guaranteed. They must be collected by 12 noon from the finish otherwise they will be disposed of after that time.
Carrying a map is not mandatory but it is strongly recommended. We recommend the Harveys Map which is concise, easy to read and waterproof and is available here.
There will be toilets at the start and at the finish line and further toilets at QECP, Cocking, Washington, Housedean, Alfriston and Jevington aid stations.
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. You MUST hand in your tracker and your bib number. If you need to drop out away from an aid station in an emergency, you must phone Race HQ immediately on the number provided at check in. If you drop away from an aid station with your crew your MUST return your tracker to the nearest aid station or the finish. If you drop at an aid station, the Aid Station Captains will inform you what time it will be possible to get get transport through to the finish with the sweeper bus. The bus leaves at the time of the cut off so please be patient with and respect our volunteers and the shuttle bus driver. If it is imperative that you get away immediately you will be given other options involving local transport services.
All aid stations will have a full selection of the usual aid station fare and a whole lot more. At a minimum you will be able to pick up Water, Coke, Tailwind, Gu Energy Gels, Chocolate, Crisps, Nuts, Fruit, Sandwiches, Wraps and other sweet and savoury snacks. All aid stations from Washington on will have hot drinks. Washington will also be serving hot food.
Medical support is of paramount importance to us as organisers. Throughout the event there will be a minimum of 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.
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.
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.
The race is an official qualifier for UTMB and Western States.
Please email us at [email protected] for any questions at all.
The Trailblazer guides available here and are excellent overall resources on the trail and include detailed maps of each section.