Downland Ultra 30 Mile Challenge

I am thinking about entering this challenge-but am totally rubbish at map reading/navigation :-/ Does anyone know if its a fairly "easy" route to follow or is signposted? Cheers image


  • Me too, although I haven't done this race (aborted with a torn muscle 5m in last year so trying again this year), I know the route well. It's dead easy.......and it's an out and back course anyway so whatever speed you are there will be people around (unfortunately in my case coming in the opposite direction on their way home.....image)


  • Thanks thats fab! I won't need to go out a buy a compass then!image I've sent off my form today.image I'll be with you at the back. Lets hope the weather is good to us. 

  • image Not too hot hopefully..........the Downs are difficult when it's baking, exposed and dusty. Doesn't look like much prospect of that this 'summer' though image Ran on part of the route last night funnily enough. Love it.

  • I’m considering doing this as my first Ultra having only done one marathon before (Brighton 2012). Was just wondering how good a course this is for a beginner and how hilly it is? Did the Mara in 4:30 so would like to finish by 6:30 does this sound reasonable?

  • Doable but it is a hilly course. Another thing to note is there are only a three water stops , well two but you do one twice.

  • Would have thought 2hrs on top of a road marathon is well within reach (I might regret saying that). It is hilly, but lots of nice downhill bits to make up time on......and most of the slopes on this route are not as severe as some other parts of the Downs. I haven't done this race but have run all parts of the route many times - save a bit as I think coming back will be harder than going out........and also likely to be into the prevailing wind

  • Oh sod it, I'm in - sending off entry this afternoon.   Marty, it's my first ultra too, so I'll see how I go - hopefully not too bad though as I'm down for another (longer) one in Sep.    Happy to hear that navigation is "dead easy" - though I'll believe that when I see it.

  • Old Gwasshopper wrote (see)

    ".and most of the slopes on this route are not as severe as some other parts of the Downs" ?

    The start is round the playing field and straight up the side of Ditchling Beacon

  • .......apart from the first bit.....image)

    Actually the Beacon is a couple of miles further on (and further up !). Seriously, I don't think, apart from the silly start, that this is the worst hillage on the Downs, but not going to pretend its easy.

    Hope I can complete after DNF last year as not done an ultra yet (unless 27m counts !)

  • Did this last in the build up for running L2B the start is a killer but after that it mostly downhill out the up hill comin back apart from the first hill tho there not steep just go on and on good prep for bigger distances tho
  • Yellow Brick Road image

  • Yep , agree apart from the start most of the hills are rolling (quite long but not steep), really want my sub 4hr this time. Should of had it last time but ran some of the downs on the way out stupidly fast as I was having fun and crashed on the way back. 

  • Sub 4 for this is stupidly fast full stop ! I'll be happy with anything under 5.........image

    Ran part of the route on Wednesday evening, mist came down severely and could only see c10 yards ahead, so kept coming across lively cows and calves on the track who weren't expecting to see me etc - quite eerie too. Also much muddier than usual for this time of year, but will be dryish as long as it doesn't rain for 2-3 days beforehand (seems unlikely given current pattern !)


  • It'll be like doing the 3 Forts again then! image


  • I've got some injuries. Can anyone tell me about entry on the day? Is it likely to be okay? (I know it can't be guaranteed but just wondering how full this one gets) - thanks

  • Pretty sure I entered on the day last year and no hassle at all. There is an entry limit of 150, but only 100 or so entered last year (according to the results page) so unlikely to be a problem I'd suggest.

  • I'm also thinking that with this weather it will put a few off - thanks - i know most of the route really well, so won't be a problem navigating - just depends on my poor old knee and hip!


  • Hope it's OK......I've picked up a knee problem since my last race (from cricket, not running) but still hoping to turn up as want to do this event as a first ultra rather than a slightly long marathon (ie finish in a reasonable condition etc !)

  • Yes will be my longest run. Did the Chichester Challenge this last weekend, got the Fairland Valley Challenge on 15th and then this 30 miler. Have been getting lots of sports massage and it's really keeping me going and the old torture foam roller helps too. - suddenly I seem to be entering lots of marathons. (I take it easy so it's manageable). Good luck with your knee. It's a good dipping of the toes into the ultra running world. I wanted to do L2B (still, possible, but i don't think my injuries will manage it, so maybe next year) - I haven't quite given up hope for this year either, so you never know!


  • Cool - I changed my running style c18 months ago and (until this knee niggle) it's been brilliant - don't get any aches, pains or anything. I'm focusing mainly on offroad marathons (Stinger, 3 Forts, South Downs this year so far) as I love 'em and also don't beat you up anythimg like long road runs do IMHO. As a result have lost interest in road running, although did Brighton in April (because it's local) and doing NYC in November. Helped 'pace' a pal for a few miles on the SDW100 ultra last weekend - fascinating insight into the world of ultra nutters,. L2B too much of a fag for me as it needs to be reccied and I don't have the time............if I go beyond 30 it'll be a simple or waymarked route ! Soooo lucky living near the Downs. Fabulous place for running image

  • I'm going to miss this one this getting married the day before and I think a lot of other ultra runners will miss it too with hangovers!

    I've run this 4 times. It is a beautiful route, very easy to navigate, you can't go wrong. The first 3 miles is uphill to Ditchling, then it undulates over Black Cap and then down to the first checkpoint at the tap on the A27. Back out of the valley it is a long climb up but a beautiful one! The hardest part is the climb back up the mettled road on the way up to Black Cap on the return! Beware the naked rambler!!!! Yes there was one last year!

    Unless the weather is really really bad, road shoes are perfect for this as the Downs drain fast and the pounding on the chalky hills requires a bit of cushioning.

    Incidentally this was 15 miles of the route of the SDW100 2 weeks ago, which was an amazing run.


    Good luck to you all!

  • great stuff - I think I heard about the naked rambler. (got a horrid fear it might be a crazy old bird watching friend of mine - although he would have binnocs and boots on) I've also done Stinger, 3 Forts and Southdowns this year - also London - couldn't agree more OG - I hate running road now - it's a small world isn't it? I wonder if i know you? Are you a brighton runner? do you run with a club? Absolutely love the atmosphere of these trail runs and the chilled out attitudes and lack of big egos - you just tend to get people who really just enjoy running in the countryside. last week at Chichester, there were only 56 of us and it was so friendly, it was just lovely!

  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    Would have liked to do Chichester but it was a very early start and I'm a public transporteer. One year I will.

    Which bit of the SDW did you pace OG? If you like the SDW as much as I do you don't have to be a nutter to just string those runs and walks together.

    UB - I have entered this race and I intend to turn up, hangover notwithstanding.image

    There's a couple of places where the route is not 100% obvious but the race instructions tell you where to go. The only thing I would stress is that this race is lovely but minimalist in terms of support so take some kind of drink container, bladder or bottle with you and any gels or snacky things you might need. You can normally get tea, cake and a shower at the end.

  • Thanks helly d and btw congrats on your wedding ultraBobban!


  • Is it worth buying the OS map, as per race information, or are the route instructions all I will need? Anyone on here do "The Wall" this year? Thinking of doing that next year-looks like fun! image

  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    I say forget the OS map and get the Harvey's map of the entire SDW - just in case you are tempted to run it all image

  • Pixelette - Burgess ? Sure we must have crossed paths on one of the local events !

    Helly - did Washington to Jack and Jill Windmills. Loved it (and full of admiration for those that did the whole thing). Must admit having done that little bit it's definitely sparked an interest. Did appear to be all about the mental side......I've covered most of the SDW in various events over the last few years since I started running. If I never ran anywhere else I would be happy image

    UB - congrats ! 

  • BTW UB, the event route doesn't go over Black Cap does it ? I thought it followed the SDW, which turns right at the bottom of Black Cap (before the gate) and drops down to the A27.........image

  • helly dhelly d ✭✭✭

    Definite right angle turn at Black Cap (fell over uphill on my way back to it last year).

    Sun was setting over Jack & Jill on SDW when we left and it looked stunning (as did Devil's Dyke, Harting, various yellow rapeseed fields etc.)

    I will probably be arriving in a rush as the train only gets in to Hassocks about 8:35 but will probably be sitting round chatting post race (weather and hangover permitting).

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