Salomon South Downs Marathon & 5K

Seing as there is less than 8 weeks to go to the 'big day', was curious to hear from anyone else running in this years event i.e. whether first time or repeat entrant, how is it, what to watch out for, training and kit advise .... Cheers



  • ah yes


    I have done every one since it started-think this is my fourth time

    cracking race and great t shirt at the end

    Its agressive in places what wuith the hills, but the views are worth it

    I LOVE theSouth Downs!

  • It must be your fifth this year PH, as it will be mine if I pull my finger out and enter.  I agree completely although the first year's t-shirt is still the best albeit a bit worn and smelly now.  That was my first marathon though so I'm definitely not binning it. 

    In terms of what to watch out for Meon, one word - Hills.  I recommend practising running both up and down them in the next 3 weeks, the bigger and longer the better.  If you haven't got any near you then do a few mile reps on a treadmill at +5 or above.  Running down them can be equally challenging - there are a couple of very long (1-2m) descents that will fry your quads so any down-hill training will also come in handy. 

    Look at the route profile on 2:09's web-site to get an idea of what to expect.  Resign yourself right now to walking up them at some point as I think even those in contention have to at some point.

    On kit, it's usually hot and I've done it in normal road shoes every year.  The general consensus is usually that if it rains a lot in the week before then trail shoes might be better.  But only plan for these if you have done some long runs in them previously - I discovered when training for it a couple of years back that mine made my little toes numb after 15m.

    It's a great event and the presence of the relay runners means it's never lonely.  Go for it! 

  • I am up for this, I really enjoyed it last year and have been heading out to the South Downs regularly for runs ever since. I thought the organisation was great and the atmosphere of the event was brilliant.  

    I agree with Woody’s advice about training and shoes. I did it in road shoes last year and was fine.


    Some of the views are fantastic and it is well worth taking your time and enjoying them… that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!   

  • can anyone estimate how much longer this would take than a flat marathon? i.e. if I can run 3.35 on the flat, what would be a reasonable estimate for this? 4.15?
  • I'm doing my first marathon this Sunday and if I survive I might well be up for this one, love a race on a Saturday as I can congratulate myself better in the pub afterwards.

  • woody, you are KIDDING

    My fifth??????

    hm, first did this in 2006, didnt i

  • patrick, its not quite as aggressive as beachy head

    My pb for a road mara is 4.16, and im about 5.25 on this but i am crap off road and in heat

    4.15 sounds about right for you

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    I so want to do this. I ran London on Sunday and am suffereing with an injury sustained from that. If I was fine I'd be out running today. I am so cheesed.

    The hill profile for this looks worse than Beachy Head. (which I am doing this year). Do you think it more gentle PH? There used to be a reat fly through of the course, don't know if it's still available.

    Beachy Head :- 1585' ascent

    South Downs :- 1509' ascent

    ah - so much easier. image

    Patrick - my thoughts - 4:15 would be generous. I ran 3:33 at London and sub 4 on hilly marathons like this.

  • Glad to hear from so many fellow runners.

    PH, from what I have seen of the views so are stunning.

    Woody, thanks for the advise. I've run bits of the last half of the course to get a feel, and planning to run Cocking to South Harting on thursday. But, I think the furthest I've run in my trail shoes is about 8 miles, so will think about what you said there.

    Mr.Guy, as this is my first ever marathon, I'm planning on taking my time, just finishing is my goal.

    Patrick, sounds like you have it all worked out re timings.

    Kate, I'm also planning to celebrate event more so that Saturday.

    Bikermouse, I hope the injury passes soon, congrats on London.

    I'll keep on training, have got my long Sunday runs up to 16 now, making the weeks total approx 40. Any advise out there for 'the wall' and how is that compounded when its met with a 45 degree hill too :0|

  • Toying with this - cos I haven't got a marathon in June image.   Would likely have to do it as an away day though so that might be the deciding factor.
  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    This was my first marathon in 2008 and I loved it.  Beachy was my second 9and likewise). They differ mainly in where the hills are, Beachy has a lot at the end, SDM has quite a stretch on the level along the South Downs Way in the middle though I heard that the route may be changing this year (??).  Harting around the 20 mile point can be a bit tough but the steepest bit (Beacon Hill is it?) is avoided.

     Meon runner  - if you've done the MVP I'd say this was no harder although that may be because the weather is usually better.

    Organisation is brilliant with water and gels at checkpoints, coaches to the start from the finish, technical  shirt and on one occasion shoe bag and socks  at the end.  The finish at The QE country park is great if you have support crew or are planning a picnic as most people hang around for a while.  Nearest pubs however are a little further away image


  • Must say I'm very tempted - can be Kent 50 training. 

    Soz Hipps I mentioned the 't' word again!! image

  • Didn't take long to talk myself into it! Oops!!
  • i shall be there, going to be my 5th marathon.

    i ran 3.08 at Rotterdam so am hoping for about 3.40 ish.

    hope all the training is going well, see you all on the 12th !

  • Morning All

    I have entered a team for the relay event.

    Does anyone have any advice returning handover points? The best way to get runners where they need to be without waiting around too long.



  • Ive also run it every year and, having done over 80 marathons, I think this is the best - and hardest - as the views are simply stunning once you are up on the ridge. But then I am biased, because I simply love the South Downs.
  • Hmm I thinking about this, but I have not run further than 10 miles since the Brighton Marathon though.

    Is 4 week going to be enough time to re build to the distance.

    Oh I ran/Walked the Grizzly earlier in the year so think I sould be able to manage the off road course.

    Edited to put walk inimage

  • C'mon Tommy. If I can do it then you can! OK I will (hopefully) have done Halstead and Embra between Brighton and this but it's all off b*gger all training.
  • Does anybody know if this sells out? I have a 33 mile race on the 15th then a 10k the next day and I should make sure I get through those uninjured before I enter but I don't want to miss out.

  • I am also running the SDM in June. Reading the posts, I am looking forward to the event - this will be my first attempt at a marathon. Getting slightly nervous about the hills though..........
  • Hi guys

    Question for those that have run this before. Are the paths you run on mostly dirt tracks, grass or rocky paths or a bit of everything? Have a few options for footware so just trying to work out what sounds best.


  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    JAP - mainly the first two, some only slightly rocky paths.

     Basically it depends on the weather. I would say the majority of runners do it in road shoes  as they find them more comfortable and chalk downland drains quickly.  If there is heavy rain in the lead up you might be more inclined to trail shoes. I usually wear light trail shoes as they give me more confidence on the downhills but the weather has been lovely the last two years.

  • Cheers helly d

    Unless there is some serious rain would definitely plan on wearing road shoes. I generally wear lighter trainers which would have given me very sore feet if the surface was too rocky, but that all sounds good.

  • I did the Neolithic marathon last week in Wiltshire and have got the bug for cross countries now! How does this one compare? Thanks.
  • Methinks I'll be back for the 4th time - this is my favourite off-road marathon.  On the shoe debate I'll do it in my trail shoes (Invoc Roclite 315s) because they are very comfortable, but I reckon road shoes would be fine too.
    I'd also say add  1/2-ish hr to your road time - my best time for SDM is 4:09 and my best road time is 3:29. The hills are truly evil - just accept you're going to walk them, most people do i think  !!
    As everyone else says it's an awesome race - stunning scenery, organisation, water points, best tech t-shirts ever. Can't fault it.

    Oliver - I did the Neolithic too - SDM much tougher and hillier, but much more scenic and mostly off-road too (apart from a bit on-road at the end) and hopefully the weather will be a lot nicer image

    hi SDM - see u there again !

  • Hi Capricorn, yep I'm looking forward to it. Agree it's the best marathon - I don't like road marathons - although some people prefer Beachy.

    I think you could add up to 45 mins to your road time, partly because most people don't seem to race trail events in the same way and just enjoy a great day out on the hills.

    I never used to wear road shoes on trail events, but do so now because of their better cushioning, as chalky, flinty paths can be hard on the feet. 

  • Does anyone know if there is somewhere safe to leave my bike at the finish?  I'm planning to cycle there and back as part of IM training but want to be sure the bike will still be there after 26.2m hard miles


  • I'm sure there are wooden fences around the finish area (which is near the race car park) which a bike could be chained to. And there's the "visitors centres" which may be closed early when we get the buses from the start, but may have places to chain a bike up. Maybe email the QE Country Park to check ?
  • Similar question but what about getting to the race by public transport?  Not sure about driving home afterwards (I've driven home after a 20 mile run before), but not sure how easy it would be to get from the park to Petersfield station.

     Has anyone got any B&B recommendations for the night before?  I'm on the early start as I'm going to take it nice and slow, so I need to stay over the night before to avoid a ridiculously early start.


  • QBQB ✭✭✭

    I did this last year and just entered for this year. I got there by public transport but it did involve taxis between start/finish and train stations - not a cheap day. From finish, it's not that far to Petersfield station so I called a station cab when ready.

    On other points I'm agreeing with consensus - add say 45 mins to enjoy it and for extra difficulty, road shoes for comfort, and it's one of my favourite but hardest runs

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