7 Aug 2023

NDW100 2023 Race Report

ResultsFree Photos

The first named storm of the season, Antoni, greeted runners at registration for the 13th annual North Downs Way 100. It seems that after very settled weather throughout the 2022 events, 2023 is determined to throw many challenges our way. For our 100 mile Grand Slammers, they have had to deal with the incredibly wet TP100, a blazing hot SDW100 and now the first named storm of the season at the NDW100. Before a look at the race, a huge thanks to our 100+ volunteers who endured it all for over 30 hours to help a record of 70% of the starting field, make it across the line in Ashford. The fact that that record went, given the weather was really something quite special.

At the front of both the womens and mens races, we saw exciting, close running between a host of new faces to Centurion.

The womens event was in the end, led wire to wire by Charlotte Fisher, but that is of course simplifying things somewhat! Incredibly, Charlotte only began running seriously around a year ago, working her way up to a 100km around the Isle of Wight and then diving into her first 100 here. The entire womens field here started at a conservative, sensible pace but Charlotte gradually ran away from her closest competitory Megan Davies over the first half of the course, to lead by 25 minutes at half way. Into the back half of the course, Megan gradually slowed and Susie Whatmough moved into second - but was eventually forced to stop at Detling. So Charlotte had an almost 2 hour lead over the eventual second placed runner Rachel Gillings and it proved to be enough for a superb win. But Rachel ran a brilliant race to close to within just 22 minutes of Charlotte by the end. Charlotte's winning time was 22:38, Rachel took second in 23:00 and third place went to Lydia Thomson in 23:06. Rachel went from 10th at CP1 to 2nd overall. Lydia from 15th at CP1 to 3rd overall. Incredible pacing from those two!

Charlotte Fisher

In the mens race the gaps were dramatically less in what was a very tight, exciting race featuring runners all brand new to Centurion events. The likely leading runner Pete Windross who basically had done everything here before including finishing second twice, started conservatively but didn't forge his way into the top spots as expected, leaving fresher faces to duke it out. Props to Pete however who ground out what was his seventh finish here.

Ryan Whelan, Joe Ackerley and Mason Willis populated the podium spots from a quarter of the way into the race until the line. But the lead changed hands numerous times between them. Mason led the first third, Ryan led into half way, Joe led out of it and then seemed to be doing enough to win. But as Mason faded in the final third, Ryan began to close the gap, from 15 minutes with a half marathon to go, to 7 minutes at the last check point, only to pass Joe with 2km left to go. The incredible sight we were presented at the finish, was Joe hitting the track as Ryan rounded the final bend to win the race by 300 metres. We have never had the battle for the win in any of our events go down to the track before. Let's hope it happens again! Ryan's winning time was 17:07:20, Joe was second 87 seconds behind and third place went to a battling Mason in 18:19.

Ryan and Joe

In the age groups we saw an MV70 win for Ken Fancett who finished his 99th 100 miler, we look forward to celebrating Ken's 100th 100 with him at the A100 in two months time.

The other mens awards went to Tom Harvey (MV40), Pete Windross (MV50) and Ronald Davies (MV60).

The womens AG awards went to Fern Parker (FV40), and Victoria Cousins (FV50).

Huge thanks once again to all of the volunteers and staff, for making this a record breaking weekend despite the immense challenges involved. 

Black Trail Runners organised the Reigate Hill Check Point