Ridgeway Challenge 2017

Due to the provisional F1 calendar changing with tickets already bought, my plan to do Race to the Stones this year is no more.

I have been looking for a replacement Ultra this summer and from what I have read here and elsewhere it looks like it may have been a blessing in disguise as the Ridgeway Challenge looks like great fun.

Has anyone done it in the last couple of years (someone somewhere said that ownership/management changed not too long ago) - is it any good?



  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    I did this fabulous event in 2009, 2010, 2011, dnf at mile 84 in 2012 (there lies a story ... ), and 2013.  I think quite possibly my favourite race.

    Still run by the TRA but with a different committee member as the organiser, as far as I know.  The aim was to do a few fine tweaks to the event but to keep all the good aspects.  And the event is good with the best CPs, and most cheerful people at them, of any event I have ever done.  

    The course is just about all runnable through the iconic scenery of the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs.  A good meal is provided at the half way, drop bag station at Goring.

    My diary is full this year but I intend to return in 2018, all being well.
  • All signed up. This will be the furthest I'll have ever done and the first through the night run. GULP! But really looking forward to it.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    You've chosen an ideal event for your first overnighter, Alastair.  Have you any idea what sort of time you are going to do it in?  What's a typical marathon time for you?
  • T Rex: advice appreciated as, having completed Comrades last Sunday I'd like to get back to the trails and I'm thinking about this... Not run through the night before, but have finished in the dark (e.g. Lakeland 50). Is a support crew essential? Any suggestions for estimating my finish time sensibly? My typical marathon time is about 3:50 (sometime I must try to train for a mara rather than running them as ultra training, see if I can get my PB under 3:40). I've run Beachy Head mara in 4:35 and my best NDW50 time was 9:53.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    I've replied to your message, Debra.
  • Hi T Rex

    As a vet of the course...

    How easy is it to navigate. I was planning on relying on the National Trail markers but I am starting to get nervous and am now wondering if I need to get the Harvey map which is suggested on the website (I'm not that good with maps when it is light), or even buy an etrex.

    I have a suunto ambit which I cant use for navigation all the way round as it wont last but maybe just turn it on once in a while to make sure I am on the right track?

    How have you done it in the past and how would that relate to someone who hasnt done many un-signposted races.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Hi LFSF.  As befitting my dinosaur status I use a map (OS 1:25000) and compass for navigating.  I print out or cut out from a real map A4 sections and put them in a flexible map case.  I find Harvey maps lack clarity - for instance some of their paths are in red and some in pink, and it's very hard to tell the difference, especially at night.

    You'll need some sort of map - I believe it is mandatory equipment. 

    The white acorn fingerposts, etc are quite good, but they can be far apart.  The field is quite large - you might be able to buddy up with someone who knows the route.  This often tends to happen during the night section in any case - strangers get together into small groups for the whole night.  This camaraderie on the trail is one of the great things about long ultras.

    I suppose if anyone I should have an e T Rex! But I wouldn't have a clue how to use one.
  • Thanks T Rex.

    The map is only suggested from what I can see, but I think I would be better off with something rather than nothing. I will try and find a good map online and print it out in pages. I have done this before but definitely the wrong scale, ~ mile per A4 page.

    Any particular points to worry about? Checkpoints easily missed?
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Hope all the prep has gone well.  Not much more you can do - or should do - now!

    I remember having to think carefully in the Hastoe area about mile 7 and there is somewhere in the Chilterns where you're running down a gully but there is an easily missed (acorn) waymark off it half way down.  Can't remember where that is though.

    All CPs are very clear.  6 and 7 are lit up at night and you can see them miles away.  8 usually has a huge log fire going making that CP hard to leave!

    The section after CP9 seems to go on for ever, the last bit along a difficult rutted track (where I finally came to a halt in 2012 and DNFd). The huge arrow sign to mark where you leave the Ridgeway and descend off the ridge is a very welcome sight.

    All the best with it.

    I'm signing up in 2018.
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