Downland Challenge Ultra 30

I've run this low key even for the past 2 years. If you are a seasoned Ultra runner, this one is a must for the scenery and the hills. For any beginner to Ultras, or jumping up from marathon distance, this is just 4 miles over marathon but don't think about splits and mins per mile.....just enjoy the cameraderie and the experience of a fantastic run on the beautiful south downs.

Those who remember last year will remember that Sean Ketteridge won in under 4 hours and John MacKenzie who is nearly 85 years old came in 17th place! Not forgetting the bloke who ran in the 5 fingers shoes and regretted it, the guy who ran barefoot and regretted it more. Who could behold a sight more random thatn the naked rambler, trotting along Ditchling Beacon on the return!

This is an unmarked course but don't let that daunt you. The SDW is well waymarked. There are 3 marshalled aid points on the way on this switchback course so carry fluid especially if it is a hot one as the return up the beacon from 23 miles is a relentless climb.

I'm returning to my first ultra since breaking my leg in 3 places earlier this year so no pressure!


  • Thanks for the post - I've never gone past 26.2 (apart from getting lost at Seaford last year) and as this is very local for me I think I'm going to have a go. I know most if not all of the route pretty well from training/other events and it is indeed fabulous - and a bit lumpy in places............and assume the yellow brick road is a feature..........

    Any idea where the aid stations are ? I know there is a drinking tap at Itford Farm (half way point ?), and one in the layby on the A27 opposite the Newmarket Inn so worst case that will be where the bottles get filled !

    This will be a 'jog/walk get round in one piece before it gets dark' kind of event for me as I haven't done anywhere near enough training, but feels like a good endurance-building opportunity.

    Can I call myself an ultrarunner if I finish ????????image

  • I'm eyeing this up as my first your advice Bobban about forgetting min/mile stuff!! Just done my 10th marathon so fancy something a bit more challenging, and I'm starting to figure I may never go 'fast' may as well go further!

  • Got my route instructions - sounds fairly straight forward, tho I think I'll waterproof them and elastic band them round my water bottle just in case.

    Gonna head out this sunday for a last longish slow run to see how I get on with the extra phone puzzled me for a while, but I'm gonna stock it in an old iPod arm band thing and hope it stays put.

  • UltraBobban, Im probably going to be a pay on the day entry. How difficult is this course to navigate? Ive done my mileage elsewhere so not afraid of 30m just rubbish with navigation!
  • I'm also a pay on the day entry. The entry form says a map of the course is available on the club website but I can't seem to find it. Can anybody point me in the right direction please? - would be good to have a vague idea where I'm going before I get down there as also rubbish with navigation! Ta.

  • Glen hi -

    Yep, Im baffled as I saw that comment about a map of the course and details for the start. Erm, but I couldnt find them either. Sent an email to the contact details stated on the website and have heard diddly squat. Also, drove to the location yesterday to find the start area but ended up driving along Underhill Lane which is a tiny single lane track but couldnt really see an area that was marked Playing Fields or anything that resembled a playing field (although it is surrounded by green and trees).  So Im just going to throw caution to the wind and hope to find the start. I guess there'll be a lot of other runners heading that way.  For the route, UltraBobban confirmed to me that it's really easy to follow without directions. So if you see a confused female going in the wrong direction it will undoubtely be me!

  • You will find the start as there will be cars and the finish line setup way way before the start. No mapwork is required as the path is very well waymarked. I've used no map the last 2 years and not put a foot wrong. The path is also very very well trodden. I will see if I can find a garmin map from last year.

    The only thing I will stress is that the water stops number only 3 so you need to carry plenty with you if you are a thirsty beast like me. Aside from a packet of biscuits, there is not much food as this is a very low key affair. The views are spectacular and the runners are a very friendly bunch

  • Jacqui, ultraBobban - thanks very much for your advice! Really helpful. Yep, probably see you on the day, and hopefully on the correct part of the course!
  • Cheers UB and Glen. Ive got a 2ltr camelpak and will take my usual pick me ups. Looking forward to it and I hope you both have a great race too. Jacqui
  • Anybody know if this event fills up beforehand, or are there normally enough places to enter on the day?
  • Douglas I think as their website states they've lowered the cost of the races to encourage more participants, we should all be okay. I gather they didnt have full capacity last year. Im advised by someone I know who has run it in the past that you'd be wise to get there early as parking is a bit of a pain. Jacqui
  • It is unlikely to be full! I think that they should have gone for the same entry fee and had a medal/tshirt as lots of people do like a memento from events.
  • There is a GPX of the route here:

    I can't vouch for its accuracy as I just Googled to find it! It does seem to deviate from the South Downs Way near Plumpton -- I don't know if the official event route does that?!
  • Can someone confirm the start time?  I had 0900hrs in my head - but the website seems to indicate it is 1100hrs.  Help!
  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    9:00 for the 30 according to my instructions, 11:00 for the shorter races I believe. 

    Anyone else coming down on the train? 

  • Thanks Helly - that is what I had originally thought.  Phew.  I don't have the instructions as I'm gambling on an entry on the day.
  • See you there in the morning. Helen, hope you have recovered well from the SDW100 and great to catch up with you last weekend although briefly. Hopefully we can have abetter chat tomorrow
  • any idea when the results might be published anyone??
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