The 2020 event is going ahead as planned with adjustments for Covid-19 transmission risk mitigation. For the latest information about the SDW50 click here

Centurion Running

South Downs Way 50®

25 Oct 2020

Course Records

Tom Evans (M)



Julia Davis (F)



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

The 8th edition of the South Downs Way 50 was scheduled to take place on Saturday 4th April 2020. Registrations will open on Saturday June 15th 2019 at 1000.

As of March 15th 2020, the race was postponed to 25th October 2020, as a result of the Coronavirus/ COVID-19 pandemic. All entries carry forward to this date. If you are entered into the original date then you are automatically registered for the new date and need to take no further action.

If you cannot make the revised date or do not wish to run for any reason, you are eligible for a 70% refund. 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. We appreciate your understanding in the cost implications of having to postpone a race of this nature.

How tough is the course? 

The South Downs Way crosses a huge range of terrain types and underfoot conditions vary greatly. The Downs are primarily composed of chalk, which tends to mean the trail is dry and usable year round, but also means the trail is very rough in places with a lot of loose stones and rocks. At times the SDW becomes dirt road, woodland track, rocky chalk ascents and descents, grass, mud or in places tarmac. The South Downs are one of the warmest and driest parts of the UK, but they are exposed, sitting high above the surrounding countryside, looking down across the coastline and English Channel in various places. It is therefore relatively easy to spot weather coming from any distance, but runners will be exposed both to whatever weather conditions prevail on the day as well as potentially very high winds and low visibility. The winds commonly prevail from the West which will assist runners in their direction of travel. It is always possible that the wind may be blowing from any other direction which will hinder progress at certain spots. 

All in all the scenery along the SDW is spectacular and there are truly few places more pleasurable to embark on a long distance trail run.

What do I get for my entry fee? 

Principally you get a fully supported race day experience including:

7 fully stocked aid stations including the finish.

Live timings across race weekend for friends and family to track your progress.

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.

Finishers Tee to finishers only

Finishers medal to finishers only

Is there a limit to the number of entries into each distance/ Can I enter on race day?

Entries are open up to 4 weeks prior to race day or when the race fills, whichever is sooner. No entries will be accepted after that date and there will be no entries on the day. The race will be limited to the first 590 entrants on open registration. There is no waiting list for this race.

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

No - you may enter without having first qualified. However in order to start you must have completed a minimum of a marathon distance race within the cut off time of that event between 1st January 2017 and Race Day. 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.

How do I update my qualifying information

Once registered, you may update your qualification information by heading to this link. Find your entry in the list and click Edit.

Is there mandatory gear to carry on race day?

The ridge is very exposed and in wind and rain runners can become cold quickly. Visibility can also be extremely poor under cloud cover. It is essential to carry the items below in lieu of these potential outcomes. There will be kit checks prior to the race as well as potientially during and at the finish. 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.

  • 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 - Minimum 75 Lumens
  • Back Up Light source - Minimum 25 Lumens 
  • Warm Hat - Beanie Hat or Buff (either are accepted)
  • Gloves 
  • Base layer or fleece top - This must be carried separately from the start and kept dry, for use only in an emergency. Starting in 2 layers is not a substitute.
  • 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
  • Compass - This should be a separate physical compass and not electronic/ on your phone. 

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

There will be a live webcast during the event. Live times will be published as runners come through major aid stations. 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. 

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

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, at some points abruptly and therefore you must be alert at all times. The busiest junctions will be signed but runners pass along the course entirely at their own risk. 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.

How many aid stations are there?

There will be 7 aid stations including the finish.

How do I get to the start?

The registration and race start is at Hill Barn Recreation Ground. Directions can be found under the travel and accom tab. You may either drive and park, or get public transport. 

Where is the finish?

The race finishes at Easbourne Sports Ground. Directions can again be found under the travel and accom tab.

Where should I park?

There is free parking at the race start. Runners will be able to park their cars at no charge on site either at Worthing College, or on surrounding roads, never more than a 10 minute walk from registration/ the start. Shuttle buses will take runners from the finish back to their cars at the start - you must book onto this shuttle bus. There is also lots of free parking at the finish. To buy a shuttle bus ticket please go to here.

What facilities are there at the Start/ Finish? 

Start: Free On Site Parking, Toilets, Water, Indoor/ covered area, Cafe, Pop-Up Centurion Running Store, Male and Female Changing. 
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 start or finish. 

What time does the race start?

All timings are listed on the schedule page.

Your race number will not be posted to you before race day, you will be able collect it from registration. Are pacers allowed?

Pacers are not permitted anywhere on the course except for at the track where runners may finish with family and friends.

Are crews allowed?

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.

Can I have a bag taken to the finish?

Yes, please deposit these at registration labelled with your name and race bib number.  Your finish line bag may be a maximum of 50 litres in size.  NO suitcases will be permitted.  

Is there a shuttle from the finish back to the start/ what time/ how do I purchase a ticket?

There is one shuttle which departs the finish at 2145, the conclusion of the event. The shuttle will make one stop only, Worthing College/ The Start Location. Cost is £15 and tickets can be purchased during the registration process. For 2020 the shuttle is now full and no more tickets can be offered.

Will I need a map?

Carrying a map is not mandatory, but it is strongly advised you take the relevant map of the route and a compass, in case of emergency. We recommend the Harveys Map which is concise, easy to read and waterproof. It is available here.

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

There will be toilets at the start and at the finish line and further toilets at Housedean, Southease, Alfriston and Jevington aid stations.

What are the prizes/ awards?

All finishers will receive a medal and a technical finishers shirt.

The male and female overall winners will each take home the Centurion Trophy.

Further Prizes will be awarded to 2nd and 3rd Placed Male and Female. Age Group Prizes will be awarded for first male and female Vet40, 50, 60 and 70. 

What happens if I need to drop out during the race?

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 for medical reasons 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 what time the shuttle bus will come through, this is likely to be at the earliest, the time of the CUT OFF for that aid station.You may have to wait some considerable time so please be patient with the volunteers. 

What food and drink will there be on route?

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, Gu Energy Gels, Fruit, Chocolate, Crisps, Nuts, Sandwiches/ Wraps and other sweet and savoury snacks. There will be hot food and drinks available at the finish at no cost to runners. 

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, Spartathlon or Hardrock?

Yes - for UTMB. The SDW50 is worth 3 UTMB pts. 

How do I get in touch?

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

Is there any recommended reading?

The national trail guides are excellent and you can purchase them easily online. They contain maps of the entire route and accurate route descriptions if you would like or are able to recce the route prior to race day.