The 12th edition of the South Downs Way 50 will take place on Saturday 13th April 2024. Registrations will open on Saturday May 13th 2023 at 1000.
Tough but beautiful! 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 rough in places with loose stones a regular feature. 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.
Principally you get a fully supported race day experience including:
7 fully stocked aid stations including the finish.
Live Tracking through open tracking. Click here to see a replay/ tracking of the 2023 event.
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 medal (Alternatively runners can choose to plant a Tree with Trees not Tees)
Entries are open up to and including 4 weeks out from 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 650 entrants on open registration. There is no waiting list for this race.
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 2020 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.
Once registered, you may update your qualification information by heading to this link. Find your entry in the list and click Edit.
85% of the course is on trail, therefore trail shoes are advised. There are sections of trail which can become very muddy in wet conditions. The South Downs are formed of chalk and are composed of significant sections of exposed and slippery chalk bed and rocks. These sections must be negotiated carefully in both the dry and the wet. 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. 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 2023 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, 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.
There will be 7 aid stations including the finish.
The registration and race start is at Hill Barn Recreation Ground. Directions can be found under the travel and accom tab.
The race finishes at Easbourne Sports Ground. Directions can again be found under the travel and accom tab.
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 click the Purchase Bus Ticket button at the top left of this page.
Start: Free On Site Parking, Toilets, Water, Indoor/ covered area, Coffee, 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 vegan option).
There are NO sleeping facilities at the start or finish.
0830 on Saturday 8th April 2023. Your race number will not be posted to you before race day, you will be able collect it from registration. All timings are listed on the schedule page.
Crew and Pacers are not permitted at the race. That means, runners cannot be handed any supplies, fluid or clothing along the way. Spectators may attend the course but must not under any circumstances park at, near to or attend any of the official check points. Spectators must not hand over or exchange anything with runners except for words of encouragement.
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.
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.
There will be shuttles leaving at approximately 1930 and again at 2145 from the finish at Eastbourne Sports Club Athletics Track. The shuttle will make one stop only, back at Hillbarn Recreation Ground for runners to collect their vehicles. Competitors who wish to take the shuttle will need to select that option during the registration process. There is an additional charge of £20 for the shuttle. You can purchase a shuttle ticket during registration for the event, or by returning to update your registration at any time. The shuttle ticket is for either shuttle, it is simply first come first served when they arrive but there will be space for everyone no matter which time you choose to get on.
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.
There will be toilets at the start and at the finish line and further toilets at Housedean, Southease, Alfriston and Jevington aid stations.
All finishers will receive a medal. Runners can opt to plant a Tree instead of receive a tee with Trees not Tees, during the registration process.
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 Vet 40, 50, 60 and 70.
Finisher Tee shirts can be purchased during registration.
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. You must then make arrangements to go to the nearest aid station or to the finish, to hand in your bib number and your tracker. 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. Please hand your bib number and tracker to the aid station you drop at.
There will be 7 aid stations including the finish along the length of the course. A full list of the aid stations and all opening closing times can be found here. All aid stations carry as a minimum:
Hot drinks are available at Alfriston, Jevington and the Finish. Hot food at the finish only.
Medical support is of paramount importance to us as organisers. Throughout the event there will be ambulances and 4x4s alongside the course, which will travel, one with the main group of runners and a second towards the back of the pack. 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. 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.
Yes - it is a UTMB Index race.
Please email us at [email protected] for any questions at all.
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.