South Downs Trail Marathon and Half Marathon

Last year I ran the full marathon and this year am thinking of entering the half. Anyone else thinking of doing it. It's not in the RW Events yet, but is on 21 June. The web is



  • I've been looking at this too Terence. I'm tempted...

    How was the event for you last year?
  • Hi andyp,

    The marathon was really well organised. Ample parking on the Downs with plenty of portaloos, a short walk to a line of coaches waiting to drive us to the start, and plenty of time for us to apply sun lotion, Vaseline, visit the portaloos, of which there were plenty etc. There was a lorry parked near the start, where we handed our kit bags to a marshall who loaded them up. The race started with a lap of the grass running track and then onto the Downs, which was well signed, and Marshalls were positioned at key points, especially where we had to cross roads..

    The scenery was breath-taking and made up for all the slogging up the hills. I didn't set out to race it, as my aim was just to get round. It was my first time at the race, so I walked up hills where the runners round me walked. My finish time was 5.05 hours which I was pleased with, as I had set a target of 5 hours. 

    All of our bags were held safely under cover at the finish, and handed over to us by another Marshall. There was an excellent goody bag which included drinks, energy bar, a medal and technical t shirt. Excellent value for money.

    I hope my brief outline of my marathon experience has tempted you to enter. The half marathon is on a different route, so I am keen to try it this year, and perhaps the marathon again in 2015.

  • Really comprehensive update - thanks Terence.

    I like the thought of taking part with no pressure on time, just enjoy the event.

    I'll think seriously about this one then - cheers.

  • I am doing the marathon relay on the same day, think we start 30 mins before the marathon. 

    I did 6 miles last week on southdowns and forgot how hilly it is!

  • Zoe - you mentioned the "H" word!!

    Hills - aaaarrrgggh....

  • Loved the half last year. Mind I like hills. A monster climb to start up Butser and a few more long ones before a long drag up to Ditcham School. The last few hills were the worst. They are not that long but you're knackered at this point.

    I'm up for it again this year! and a chance to give at Harting Trail race forms.

  • I did the Gurkha trailwalker on the southdowns 2 years ago, although we started from qecp and walked out the park, 

    i know most of the route from the walk,

    andy could you get a team together for the relay?

    i am rubbish at hills, that is my challenge for this year to get better at hills!

  • Andy, it's one of my favourites, little bit hillier than GC though.

  • I used to live in Waterlooville and run 6 miles nearly all up hill on roads through Clanfield to the QE Car Park and on to the Downs. I ran up and down a few hills, finishing on the hill leading back up to the radar station. There was then the 6 mile run home downhill on road.

    I once got seriously lost on the Downs. It was a bright sunny day,  and I was just wearing vest and shorts. As I ran higher, I ran into thick mist with almost zero visibility. I eventually found my way back to the radar station and onto the road. As I descended, I ran into sunshine again, much to my relief.

  • Zoe. I'm rubbish at hills too as I live near a canal and the towpath is lovely and flat, apart from the odd lock or bridge.

    Kate. I'm hoping GC will be flatter tomorrow!

    Terence. That sounds like a great adventure.
  • Andy, it was more of a nightmare, but I don't want to put anyone off. There were no problems at all with visibility during last years race, which was hot, but not unbearably so. I wore a technical t shirt, cap, shorts and plenty of sun lotion, and the heat didn't bother me at all. I had a thermos flask of cold milk in the car to drink after the race, which helped to replace my energy.

  • PS. Relay team might work well, good idea Zoe
  • We have not yet decided in our team who will run what leg, although it does state to put strongest runners on legs 1 and 3, you can have a team of 2 people though.

    i get really out of breath going up hills! 

    I am in gosport which is flat!

  • I've started my HM training and ran 13 miles this morning over a hilly route, working hard on the hills.

  • annajoannajo ✭✭✭

    I'm so tempted by this - went for a run across the Downs at Kingston (near Lewes) yesterday although I only managed an easy-paced muddy 8 miles in 1.45... image 

    Here's a question, if anyone knows the local area - is it possible to get to the start of this race without a car? (and more importantly, back again to a nearby train station?) I looked up on Google transport and it suggested an 11 hour bus ride from Brighton...

  • annajo, it is possible, but the journey would involve buses, train and some walking and take at least 3.5 hours from Kingston Lewes. If you enter www.transportdirect into the address bar of your computer, you will find their suggestions. Sorry I can't be more helpful. The nearest train station is Petersfield.

    That link doesn't work. Try entering Journey Details Transport Direct into the search engine.

  • annajoannajo ✭✭✭

    Thanks Terence - I'll look that up

  • If you live in the area, think about joining a club....I am the sec of Portsmouth Joggers....plug plug. We have a lot of marathon / trail marathon runners in the club so plenty of opportunity to get in hill training.

    We had lots of runners in the SDW last year and this year we are looking to get some relay teams in which in previous years we have done in force.

    Good runnings one and all.






  • I have now entered the half marathon, which will give me added incentive to put in the miles.

  • Gams, I'm with Hardley Runners. We have several runners intending to enter. Our club  has several runners who specialise in Ultras.

  • I looked at this year but wimped out as figured it was slightly ambitious for a first marathon! Am tempted by it this year, not least as I know I'll be in Portsmouth that weekend for my sister in laws birthday. That said rural Hertfordshire is probably not the best training ground...

  • You should do it. It was my first trail marathon too. Really is a fantastic course. You won't regret it. Take your time and enjoy it. As you'll be there for the weekend anyway, Would be a shame not to.

  • Thought I'd resurrect this, before it got buried out of sight. We're almost into April, so now is the time to up the weekly mileage. Now the lighter evenings are coming, due to the clocks going forward an hour, I'll be doing a lot more mileage off road in the New Forest. My club does hill sessions throughout the year, on road in winter, and off the rest of the time. This should be invaluable to help running up the hills. 

  • I did 20 out on the route 2 weeks ago....yup the hills are still tough and that 6  a totall ball-breaker.   Must get my entry in :-]

  • gm, you are obviously doing the full marathon. I ran it last year, but took things very easily, with lots of walking, and really enjoyed it. This year, I've entered the half, and intend attempting to race it, which will probably be tougher than the marathon. Good luck with your training.

  • Not long to go now. I did a really tough 13 miles in the New Forest on Sunday, which involved a fair bit of walking, and going down as far as my left knee in mud. I was with a club mate who was able to pull me out. We ran it just under 2.20, which is my target time for the Half.

  • I ran 6 miles today on the southdowns way and my arms ache! I am doing the relay and believe we start at 9 and the marathon at 9:30, not had any more information from the company yet

  • Zoe, you are correct. Both start from Slindon College, which will be reached by coaches from the finish at QE Country Park. Another e mail will probably be sent nearer the day, and race number and map etc with full details sent by post. I believe the coaches started leaving from 7.00 last year.

    The half marathon which I am doing this year starts at 10.00 from the base of Butser Hill.

    Are you running in the D Day 10k on Sunday?

  • Yes running d day, ran it last year too. I am running in arlesford the week after, never been there before but had my eye on it for a couple of years. 

    Are you running d day?

  • Yes, I'm running it. It will be the first time for many years. I seem to remember when I used to run it that it was held on a Wednesday evening.

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