South Downs Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K

Hi I would be travelling to do the half marathon from central London / is it possible to get here by public transport?  And would I have to stay somewhere nearby as would be fairly pushing it to get there on the morning? Thank you anyone who can help!



  • I would say you need to stay locally
  • Thanks for this.  I think looking at it it may be impossible (a lot to try and organise) without my car which I wont have by then.  Real pity - next year is a must though!  Thank you anyway for the quick response
  • I think a lot of other people have coped with coming down by train from London on the day.
    You have to get to Arundel station and get a taxi to the start at Steyning college.
    It finishes at QE Park and you only need to go there first if you are leaving your car there.
  • How far are the start and finsih apart?
  • Seriously Pantman?
    26 and bit miles!!!
  • Boom, and indeed, boom, Limper!

     I meant, obviously, between the start and finish locations for transport, not the following of the race route!

  • Pantman wrote (see)

    Boom, and indeed, boom, Limper!

     I meant, obviously, between the start and finish locations for transport, not the following of the race route!

    still 26.2 miles although more than that if you follow the main road!
  • Quite a lot more by road. Although flatter!!
  • Is it not Slindon College?
  • Does anyone know if the marathon fills up quickly? I'm doing a marathon in April, but really fancy doing a leisurely trail one. But haven't entered yet as I'm not sure how I'll feel by the end of April. Just worried that it might be full by then.
  • Don't think it fills up that quickly TBH.

    For the OP, the half and 5k start and finish at the QE Park. Nearest train station is likely to be Petersfield and taxi to QE Park.

  • @ Sean - yeah, it is Slindon College. Silly ol' frog.
  • The marathon - it's doable, I came down by train last year, arrived in enough time for the middle wave. Will be doing the same this year and there's usually a couple of people so you can share a cab.

    To get home you can either get a taxi or the (hourly?) bus to Petersfield station. It may be cheaper to get a return ticket to Havant where the two train lines join as this means you can come down on one line (Victoria to Arundel) and return on another ( Petersfield to Waterloo). I've generally been lucky enough to get offers of lifts from lovely folk such as the frog above to the station.

    Holly - I've just realised you are doing the half. Should be pretty straightforward getting a cab from Petersfield and you are unlikely to be alone.

    The race hasn't always filled up very quickly but has been featured in RW which does tend to speed things up. I've done it since 2008 and it's one of my favourites. weather is usually great too.

  • Hi all and helly d this is all really useful so thank you.  And I think you have twisted my arm and I am going to try and just make it down from London on the morning of the race.  How hard is the marathon by the way?  Half marathons are my distance really and I am very comfrotable doing them but I am doing a marathon in march and so thinking I should push myself especially for what seems like such a great and scenic rade as the South Downs.  Any advice appreciated! Oh and sorry one more thing / if I was to do the marathon and go straight to the start I take it they have a shuttle bus that takes peoples bags to the finish line?  Thank you guru people.
  • Go for it Holly . It is  a tough race but very enjoyable - unless you are fairly superhuman you will be walking some of the hills but so will everybody else. It was my first marathon and I come back every year.

    Although the water stations are good you may want to take extra hydration as it's quite exposed and can get very warm. It's also wise to keep something in the tank for the last 5 miles which are by no means straightforward even if the big hills are behind you.

    There is a van to take your bags to the finish (very well organised). You can also get tea / coffee etc. at the start I believe but beware the long toilet queues. 

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    hello all...may i join you? am thinking of doing this marathon and using it as a training run. looked at the website last night and the scenery looks amazing and superb!!! also looked very hot !! what were the temps for the this event last year?image

    hi limper!! *waves*

  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    Welcome loulabell. I don't want to jinx it but each time I've done this the weather has been sunny but not unbearable (22-23degrees maybe), possibly due to there being a bit of a breeze. Some parts are shaded by trees. I've always just worn a vest and shorts but I would recommend bringing suncream and maybe a cap.

    As long as the weather holds out the finish is a good place to sit around on the grassy slopes  snacking and watching others come in.

  • Hi all, doing my first half marathon at Reading on 1st April and on the back of a good training run today of 13.6mi whilst still high on my achievement booked a place in the South Downs marathon. Thinking that for upcoming marathons Reading could form part of the training case I'm never this fit again!

    Now, doing the research after the fact (is there any other way to do it image )it looks like it's going to be very this doable as a first marathon or have I set my sights too high too early. From earlier comments looks like I wouldn't be alone if I walked up some of those hills?
  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    It's tough but not impossible. i have run the route and all the hills are doable - ie you can run up them. (it bypasses the toughest hills  image)

    like most of the marathons over the South Downs, there is a fair spread of abilities. I have seen walkers in all of them, some from very early on.

    I was thinking of running the half but appear to have had my arm twisted to do other things ... again. Next year, next year. One day I shall run the marathon.

    Get your hill training in, you'll need it.

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    pete, i did my first mara in Jan and didnt pick the best for a starting mara!! was in Gloucester which although not tough terrain had hill x3 on the loop and undulating roads etc...but it was all really looking forward to south downs as i dont get to run trail much at all where i will be fineimage just go for it!
  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    PeteW -lots of people walk the hills and make up for it on the downhills. I've yet to see anyone running up the steep part of Harting Down.

    You haven't bitten off more than you can chew, it's a great first marathon, just don't go all out at the start . The main danger is never seeing a road marathon in the same light once you've done one like this.image

  • Hi Holly, just to answer your question about how hard it is - I have taken part in the South Downs Relay twice and run half the marathon route (from Cocking Hill to QEP) a few times as training. I'm a London runner and used to nice flat courses, my idea of a "hill" is a gentle incline.

    The South Downs Marathon has HILLS (with a capital everything). I love the challenge in a 6 mile relay stint, or a slow 13 mile half, but have yet had the urge to sign up to do the full distance. (Probably not helped by seeing at least 3 people throw up around the 20 mile mark in previous years!)

    I'll be doing it again as part of a relay team, have a fantasitc time no matter which distance you choose!

  • Thanks all for your responses...I don't feel it was as crazy a decision now as I did yesterday!

    Camillia, I'm going to start the hill training once I get passed Reading half, maybe hill training on the treadmill and distance work on the road - to try to minimise risk of injury.

    Loulabell, same here, I love running in the countryside and I'm lucky to have the Thames close-by; this trail run will be great for scenery by all accounts - might take minds off the hills image

    Helly d, I'm also thinking about the jarring on the knee's going down the hills as well as up. I reckon I'll take it easy up and down, just to be sure image

    The main thing I'm going to focus on is staying injury free in next 3 months and getting some good distance runs in.

  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    Pete - some  downhills are a bit rough underfoot but you can pace yourself and enjoy them. There's a very nice foresty trail downhill after Harting where last year I relaxed a bit too much and fell over prompting a visit to the St John's queue at the finish. The last mile or so is also great as you run through QE country park on a faintly downhill road(with a small diversionpast the barbeque area and car park). As I said before, make sure you save something for the last six miles as they contain some ups and downs  even though they aren't as dramatic as the earlier ones.

    It'll be your quads feeling it for the following day or so. 

  • After deciding against doing the marathon due to the thought of having to get down on the morning of the marathon from London I have kept following the forum thread and you have all convinced me that I just have to do the marathon this year!  Thinking about coming down the day before and staying somewhere nearby.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  I will be getting the train down from London and not sure whether it is best to be by the start or finish line.  I see you can get a bus from finish to start line to do the race but not sure if you can get a bus from finish after the race. Thinking of staying in Arundel. I guess I couldstay there and just put all my stuff in the van at the start line nearby and pick it up from the finish line and head straight back up to London from there (probably the best idea come to think of it).  Anyway thank you again for all your advice!  Really looking fforward to it. 

  • Loulabell,

    The "hills" in Gloucester are mole hills compared with the hills on the South Downs. The South Downs tends be a good mixture of long/steep climbs up, 3 or 4 miles "relatively" level and then long/steep downs (repeat 4 times). However, in the last 6 miles the climbs get shorter and steeper! Pacing yourself is probably the key to enjoying the day and not going off like its a 10k!


    I think that you would be better staying near the finish and getting the bus to the start. Try Petersfield as its on the rail line and not too far away (taxi?) from QE Park. I guess that you may be able to get a train from London on the day and still make it in good time for the buses.

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    sean...yes, i am fully aware that whilst Gloucester is hillier than im used to -i know there is much worse out there!! lol....i will take it steady all the way round..will be nice for me to get off expecting to hurt next day after the ups!...have chosen to do this though as 8 weeks later i am doing NDW50 thought this would give me a little insight of what to expectimage....
  • Loulabell, I was just trying to hightlight the difference between the 2 events. The South Downs have climbs that last for ages. TBH the ups hurt but the downs hurt even more!

    I will post the elevation profiles for Gloucester and South Downs later for comparison later - although they will be scaled differently.

    South Downs at about 5,000 ft up and down. Gloucester will be something like 1,500 ft.

    BTW Gloucester is positively mountainous compared to where I live and train. My regular 8 mile run has an elevation loss/gain of 20ft. However, that doesn't stop me running the entire event.

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    ....*knees start knocking*image....yes i think my highest elevation point on my regular run around here is a flyover on the M40image....woohoooo
  • Gloucester:

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