Downland 30 Ultra Challenge

Hi has anyone done this event before, if yes what's it like....I'd like to do the London to Brigthon next year and this looks like a good event for training ;-)


  • I've done this a couple of times - it's my local event so have too really. There's usually less than a 100 runners, it starts in a playing field at the foot of the south downs, and there's a steep climb up to the south downs way. Then, it's 15 miles following the south downs way over undulating, chalk paths through mostly beautiful countryside with great views, until you get to Itford farm, then turn round and run back. There's a couple of hard long climbs in each direction, and by the time you get to the yellow brick road (a straight concrete farm track that just climbs and climbs, gently, forever) you'll need your mental strength! The organisation is low key, there's only three water stations en route (this is the end of July so it can be very hot) so you'll need to carry a bottle and keep it topped up. Last year I took some extra water to Ditchling Beacon and ran an unofficial water station for my club mates! There's not much in the way of marshalling although the SDW is reasonably well marked.

    Overall I would say it was a friendly, low key event, and it would be excellent endurance training for the London-Brighton. Just remember to take extra water and sun screen. They recommend a minimum of a 5-hr marathon before entering. It's certainly not one to do if you are undertrained or carrying an injury, as dropping out would be difficult other than at the water stations.

    If you do do it, good luck. I'll probably do the 5 mile race instead this year.
  • Cheers skip, thats a big help, I shall work on the marathon first, doing Halstead in May so will see what time i managed there.
  • lurk


    cant do a sub 5 marathon

  • PH - 5 hrs was a recommendation, not a requirement. If you aren't far off at that pace and have the endurance to keep going then it would be worth considering. (but there wont be much company out there)
  • Im used to being at the back
    and last
    managed 30 miles in 6.04 a month ago-but that was flat
  • Hi I'm doing london this year and aiming for around 3:30 considering doing this as my next challenge.

    will keep popping in to say hi and any new info would be good cheers.
  • I quite fancy this one and may leave my entry until the day due to potential 'other committments'. As long as I dont get lost on the route - it should be a great event (scenic and the like).
  • Did this last year, entered on the day.

    It was very warm and like most events on the South Downs very scenic.

    Also quite impressive is the fact that it is out and back [15 e/w] and the lead runners were flying back past me before I got to 11 or so!!!

    Hopefully will be doing this one again.
  • <lurk>

    Want company for this one, Hipps?
  • Hello all,

    What is this race like for navigation? Is it an easy route or do you need to follow printed directions and map?
  • Alan, This one is quite straight forward to follow compared to MD33.

    As it is along the South Downs, there is really only one route to follow. Just make sure you keep the one in front in sight!

    Might do this one again.
  • ok thanks.

    I've just printed the entry form so it looks like I'll have the cheque book out tonight ;-)
  • Hi every one, is this a race that you seem to be running on your own for most of it or do you usually have other runners in view
  • luuuurrkkiiing

    If Hipps will I will.
  • Hipps will be in Cyprus! Is there anyone else out there who is tempted, but is really slow??
  • bear b hind i am tempted and i am really slow. did flm in 5h 05, i am doing chichester challenge on july 17th so may see how that goes before finally deciding. certainly i will be walking up any steep hills, reckon i will take about 6h30 for sure
  • db - that's still quicker than me!! Am doing 50 Mile Challenge on 17th so might be a bit too much too soon. Will decide week after.
  • I entered and I've just got race intructions and they look incredibly complicated!
    I know it's not well marshalled, but can anyone advise whether the route is well signposted? Do you have to carry the map all the way round to make sure you follow the right route (the instructions are ver very detailed).

    I got the OS map for the area but still can't follow the whole route from the instructions!

    Help please.
  • Hi Tanner I have not done this one before but the instructions are probbably more complicated to read than to follow, it should be ok. bring an os map just in case so you can check your position but the instructions are probbably very good.
    failing that find someone who is going at your pace who can read a map well.
  • Hi all,

    Thinking about entering on the day so I haven't seen the route. Just wondering whether I need to run out and buy an OS map just in case.
    If so any which one Landranger 198 or Explorer 122. I bought one recently and the route went off the edge of the map which was a bit annoying.


  • Hi
    I bought the explorer 122 a few days ago,which shows the whole route.Most of it is run along the south downs which is normally well signposted.Well worth buying a map to study a few days before, so you can get your bearings.
  • Sorry
    Its run along the south downs way.
  • Hi all, a quick question for those taking part; what are you carrying for drinks/snacks etc?
    I'm torn beetween carrying a rucksac with a bladder containing energy drink gels mobile warm top to replace vest if it gets wet/cold or running in shorts vest with a water bottle on a belt with a gel or two and maybe a cereal bar or two.
    does anyone know what fluids are provided at the water stations? if it's just water i may bring some powder in a bag to top up my energy drink (sis go)

    what times are ppl aiming for?

    I have just got over a few small injuries and have only done gentle training since completing the london marathon in 3:25 so hoping for around 5 hours maybe a bit more

    not long now
  • I'm considering entering on the day. I've run a few 4hr marathons but this would be my first ultra, so I'm quite nervous - any advice on what to carry would be most welcome.

    I'm thinking I would carry a small rucksack with a 2 litre bladder and plenty of food. Its about 7-8 miles between drinks stations on this one, which for me is well over an hour and the forecast for Sunday is warm and sunny.

    I'd be aiming to mostly run with some walking, probably about 5.5 hours

  • Agreed Nick.
    I did this one last year about 5.45 suffered with lack of water towards end
    Obviously weather today is very wet, last year was hot and water stops were quite far between.
    Most of it is 'run/jog-able' but as usual there are a few stretches where you need to walk [think just after crossing the A27]
    not sure exact road get muddled up with the South Downs events
  • Nick,

    Sounds like there might be a few of us around the same speed. I tried carrying a bottle around the Rutland Venture off road marathon last week, which worked ok, but I used about 2 litres of liquid which meant filling up at the checkpoints. Like the bladder idea, which one have you got. Would be interested to hear whats its like. This will be my first Ultra as well.

    Should be fun.

  • Its a "Storm Shield" rucksack, brand new from Millets today. Felt comfortable on a test run tonight but only time will tell what its really like after 5+ hours! Just big enough to carry a couple of malt loaves and some plasters plus the water.
  • i have a lowe alpine contour event witha 3ltr baldder which is 35 lts and a bit big for this event but is quite light and very stable when running, i am used to it.

    will prob take 3ltrs of sis go with a few cereal bars mobile phone map and jacket in case the weather turns.

    aiming for about 5-6hrs
  • i''ve never done an ultra, am a five hour marathoner - is it frowned on to run/ walk these??
  • This will be my first attempt at this race, too, although I've done a few similar events before.

    As there are three places where we can get water, I'm just going to carry a 500ml bottle of water which I can refill quickly. It shouldn't be TOO hot on Sunday and, for me, the extra effort and heat-creation of carrying a rucksack with 2 litres and therefore 2kg of water in it, would offset the benefit of having more to drink.

    I'll also carry a few cereal / Nutrigrain bars.

    I agree that the route description sounded complicated and I couldn't make sense of all of it when looking at the map, but if it's mostly just following the SDW, it should be quite straight forward... should be... !

    see you on Sunday, then. :-)
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