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

South Downs Way 50

17 Apr 2021

Race Full

Course Records

Tom Evans (M)



Julia Davis (F)



The 2021 South Downs Way 50 will take place on 17th April 2021. Whilst continuing to monitor all possible information, our intention is to organise this race and to do so in the safest possible manner. We have looked extensively at every single aspect of event weekend and the plan below goes as far as possible to reduce risk of transmission as possible.

Ultimately the event can be conducted safely, within government guidelines, almost entirely outdoors and with social distancing possible at all stages. All staff and volunteers will be provided with full PPE. In 2020 we conducted five events including the SDW50 (in October) and racing was safe and sustainable for everyone involved.

The 2021 protocols will be identical to 2020, with the exception that each runner will collect a tracker from the start area just before setting off on their race.

Things that can remain close to or the same as a regular SDW50:

  • Start and Finish
  • Number of check points
  • Medical support
  • Number of volunteers
  • Number of staff
  • Timing system
  • Course Marking
  • Course Sweeping
  • Crew Support and Access 
  • Overall timings and cut offs
  • UK Athletics Permit
  • Full Race Insurance

We must accept that for the time being, racing in the traditional sense with a mass start and regular aid stations is not going to be possible. Whilst mass starts are permissable under England Athletics guidelines during the roadmap out of lockdown, because of the nature of our aid stations we need to maintain the rolling start/ time trial format for the time being. A mass start would result in a huge queue at the early check points because runners take time to sanitise, fill their own bottles/ bladders, take food/ sanitise and then move on. That is opposed to say a 10km event where a visit to an aid station would be unncessary or even a marathon where a runner would simply be grabbing a gel or pre packaged drink.

The following articles are where the 2021 SDW50 has additional or adapted protocols specifically to reduce the risk of transmission. All must be adhered to and should be looked at as an extension of the regular race rules. All of the usual race information applies, these items are in addition to that information:

Two overriding principals apply:

Social distancing along government guidelines is mandatory and entirely possible at every stage of event weekend. Runners, volunteers, crews, staff and pacers should all maintain social distancing at all times.

Gatherings of runners/ volunteers or any groups should be kept to a minimum.


If any runner, crew, pacer, volunteer or staff member has had any symptoms related to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to race day then they must not attend the event.

Runners are limited to a maximum of 2 crew people and/or 2 vehicles at any one time on course. Eg. Runner may have two members from their household/ bubble in one vehicle (children do not count towards this total), or two separate crew people each driving one vehicle each. 

Runners must provide in advance of race day the name, email address and phone number of any person who is crewing during the event - such that if an infection is reported post race, we can hear from them or contact them immediately depending on circumstances.

Spectators are asked not to attend the race anywhere on course, at any time. This is a condition of our permit and our insurance so please ensure you ask people not to breach this rule.

Runners must ensure their medical details and postal address are up to date on the race director registration system.

Runners must adhere to the government guidelines around accommodation. Only Self-Catered or contained Accommodation must be used by runners pre and post race. 


Runners will have their bib numbers sent out to them in the post, prior to race day. Runners should check that their postal address is correct on the entry system by logging into race director by clicking here and clicking on their race entry.

All runners will collect a tracker on race day.

This will be at Hill Barn Recreation Ground/ Worthing College where there will also be bag drop and toilets. Runners should make plans to move directly from there to the start to begin their race. Changing and showers are not available.

There will be no kit check prior to the start, runners must have all mandatory equipment  on them at all times as per the normal race rules. Random kit checks will be carried out on course as usual by staff in full PPE.

No spectators or crew may attend the start. They must drop their runner and move immediately on from the area.

Bag drop: Queue for bag drop (finish and checkpoint drop bags) will be socially distanced and marshalled. Bags must be pre-labelled prior to arrival. Bags will be handled by volunteer or staff in PPE but bags will be placed against other bags and therefore runners should sanitise hands before and after collection.

Toilets: Will be kept clean and sanitised

There will be no ‘in person’ Race Briefing, The briefing will be recorded via video and the link shared 72 hours prior to the start.

Start: There will be a rolling start. Runners may start any time between 0600 and 0830. If runners miss the 0830 start they may not start the race. Runners may not start before 0600 as the timing system will not be set up before then.

Runners may start whenever they wish between 0600 and 0830 but we ask you to be as honest with your projected finish time as you can be and aim for the following approximate starting windows:

  • 11hr30-13hr:  0800-0830
  • 10hr - 11hr30:    0720-0800
  • 9hr - 10hr:      0640-0720
  • Sub 9hr:          0600-0640

All runners will have their temperature checked at the start from a socially distanced volunteer or staff in full PPE/ face shield -  via a temperature gun. Runners exhibiting temps above 37.8C will not be permitted to start. Runners should expect not to wait at the start for any reason, just to walk up, have their temperature taken and begin their race immediately. When runners cross the timing mat their time will begin and they will have 13 hours maximum to complete the event from the time they cross the mat.

Runners can start with or run with other runners in the event, but only in groups up to 6 maximum and must maintain social distancing at all times. Marshals will ensure social distancing is maintained throughout the start area. Solo runners can begin within intervals of 20 seconds of one another. Pairs or Groups will need to leave 30 seconds after the previous runner/ runners. The trail is wide from the start with plenty of room for groups to pass one another and other trail users whilst maintaining social distance if overtaking. Start times of 0600-0830 mean a quiet time of day on the trail in general regards other users. 

Runners are asked please keep group sizes to a minimum out on the trail to make as much space as possible for other trail users.


Gates and stiles: Runners should not touch any gate or stile with uncovered hands eg. wear gloves or cover hands with sleeves to use.

Markings: Will be laid out as normal. Volunteers and staff laying markings will wear gloves/ appropriate PPE for the duration. 

Masks/ PPE: Any indoor location you visit, you must wear a mask. We will have disposable masks available at the entrance to all indoor checkpoints but of course, runners should bring their own. Runners will not be permitted in any indoor location without a mask on, unless they have an exemption. The exemption must be declared to us prior to race weekend.

Staff/ Volunteers are to wear PPE at all times indoors and/ or when performing duties in or outdoors. 

Check Point etiquette: Each checkpoint will be split into two or three mini check points with access to liquid in up to six places to speed up the process. Arriving at the checkpoint, runners may just run past if they wish. A staked funnel with social distancing imposed will be laid out for runners coming to use the aid if they want to visit the check point. All runners must use sanitiser as they enter a checkpoint. If any of 3 mini checkpoints are empty, then a runner can come straight in. The checkpoints will be 3 tables set out length ways, with one volunteer managing each table. Runners will top up their bottles from the drinks provided and take any food that they need. One volunteer will marshal the entry process into the checkpoint/ sanitiser use and ensure no gathering in the check point area. Runners will take fluid and nutrition, then sanitise their hands again before moving out of the checkpoint on down the course.

Runners will serve themselves drinks, including refilling bottles and bladders. The normal three fluid options will be provided: Water, Tailwind and Coke/ Pepsi. All food will be served in single serve packets only (once again hands are to be sanitised on the way in and out of every check point). The minimum food provided at every check point will be (single serve packets/ items):

  • Portable fruit such as grapes, cherry tomatoes or satsumas
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Sausage Rolls
  • Mini Malt Loaf/ Cake Bars
  • Crisps
  • Gu Energy Gel Packets
  • Tailwind
  • Coke/ Pepsi
  • Water

Hot Drinks: The check points providing hot water are unchanged. Runners will be given packeted milk, tea bags, coffee and sugar with wooden stirrers to make their hot drink in the hot cup that they bring as part of their mandatory kit as usual.

There will be no hot food anywhere on course apart from the finish.

All of our sweepers will wear PPE/ gloves. Markings will be deposited at check points on arrival in bin bags and tied up.

Minibus: The sweeper minibus will operate as normal, our regular 17 seater bus. The maximum capacity of that bus will be 7 people including the driver to ensure social distancing and windows will be open as far as practical. The bus will be wiped down and sanitised after each use. Runners using the sweeper bus should wear a mask whilst on board. The driver will wear a mask whilst driving the vehicle.

Cut offs: Are as per normal - but are not fixed times during the rolling start. Any runner that misses a cut off will be informed at that check point or at worst, the following checkpoint if they are missed initially. Runners must stay within the relative cut offs for each check point. 

The medical team will operate a “Non” Standby at Aid Stations policy, but will attend when called in.  Ambulance Crews will be attending every incident in a minimum of Level 2 PPE (Gloves, Mask, Apron, Eye Protection) and reserves the right to pull anyone suspected of exhibiting Covid-19 Symptoms from the race with immediate effect. Where a runner, volunteer or crew exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms on race day, they are to be isolated from all other participants.  They will then need to be returned to “Home” to self isolate and arrange a swab test. 

Logistics vehicles: There will be full provision of wipes and sanitiser and spray in each vehicle. 

General Public/ Other trail users: As always, runners should give way to other trail users and be especially courteous when passing walkers, bikers and riders. To make sure to maintain social distancing when passing any other user and particularly through pinch points on narrow trail or through gates and stiles to stand well back where appropriate and allow others to pass safely and at distance.


Award collection: Awards will be laid out on tables for collection by each runner

Provision of hand sanitizer will be available at all stages, the finish, the food and the drop bag collection areas.

Photographer will operate as normal.

Food and Drink will be in single serve packs: Hot drinks, hot water, basic single serve supplies. Takeaway hot dog or veggie dog will be provided, pre wrapped and prepared.

Runners must take immediate onward transport with crew, family, friends or taxi to hotel/ home. 

No Changing or showers are available. Toilets are available and will be cleaned hourly. 

The coach will operate but at 50% capacity in line with guidance around use of public transport and hired coaches. Masks must be worn on the coach at all times. 


Any runner, crew or volunteer must contact us if they show any Covid-19 symptoms within 7 days of the race. 

If there is any reported transmission or risk of transmission post race then all parties with any possible risk will be contacted.