The Moyleman is born....

Run Brighton article behind the route idea in memory of Chris Moyle

Early runners at the trail head by HM Lewes Prison-Spital Road

No breeze, temperatures to reach approx 15c and lower than normal humidity. Today's tester marathon could get hot!!! With plenty of time before the 10:00 start, myself and Shawn chat to other runners and meet Ruth, a fellow Bosh-Runner, who like myself also ran The Wall Ultra last year. Ruth is training for her first 100 miler this year and wanted to sample our playground, the south downs...

Last minute stretches 

Getting ourselves organised and ready, we meet Ash head, one of the organisers as he checks us in as attending. A short briefing then a casual start heading up the trail towards Black Cap. We have a cute, white, Jack Russell in tow who stays with us up the climb until eventually joining his owner back at the start. 

Bosh Ultra Runner Ruth

Briefing for the brave guinea pigs

Some 20 or so runners have volunteered to be the guinea pigs of the day, in the hope that come next year this will become a new event with great sponsors and attraction. Similar to the Steyning Stinger and Beachy Head Marathon. Also there is talks of running the route in reverse for every other year...

We just have to try and finish in under 5 hours...

Front pack runners following little pooch

I keep up with the lead runners for the first climb then soon find my pace and run up ahead, following the lead bike as my guide. Luckily I have trained on most parts of the first half and following the South Downs Way markings is very straight forward. We have the advantage of arrow markers too.

Nice and easy markers on the course

Chasing my tail at Black Cap

Black Cap

After reaching Black cap the route follows the South Downs Way south towards Falmer but taking the next left, to head south east towards Kingston. It is a nice and fast downhill section, so I let myself fly taking in the amazing scenery. 

With no breeze in this direction the sun is really starting to feel hot on my skin...

South Downs Way south east looking to Kingston

Kingston junction-follow the arrow

After reaching the Kingston footpath, it is right and still following the south downs way route. Up through the woods and then steep, down towards Housedean Farm on the A27. A smile and thumbs up to the photographer, over the A27 and then under the railway line. 

Another climb, which I start to power walk. I can see the other fast runners approaching in quickly. Once reaching the top of the hills and looking south, I am guided right by the marshal and then left down Castle Hill. Another nice and fast moment before running through the valley and up the steep climb towards the Yellow Brick Road.

Castle Hill

South Downs Way south east looking to Lewes

South Downs Way looking to Firle Beacon

Chasing the lead on the 'Yellow Brick Road'

The runner behind me in 2nd soon catches up and over takes at this point. I keep him in view and just follow his tail for the time being. I am starting to feel quite thirsty and sweating salts, so I take an SCap and drink some diluted coconut water. I should have carried my bladder but I prefer to use it for my much longer distances. 

With just a gentle breeze it feels warmer than it actually is...

River Ouse at Southease

Piddinghoe and Newhaven looking south

Slowing down for some horse riders, down the steep slope towards the A26 at Southease. A quick stop for a few cups of water from Ash before crossing the road, the station crossing and climbing back up high on the south downs way. 

There is a gentle breeze up here but from the other direction, it still feels very warm...

By now the lead runner is climbing up ahead and is a minute or so from me. I have a few walking breaks on the climbs and try to pick up pace on the flats, but I am feeling worn out already just 15 miles into the course. Lack sleep, long hours at work, the unusual sunshine rays and last weeks 40 mile run, I think has tired my body out some.

Firle Bostal

With plenty of activity, bikes, hikers and strollers, the time passes quick enough and I reach a marshal to direct me off the south downs way and left down the road to Bopeep Bostal towards West Firle. This is the first road section of the route today. It is a steep winding road, before a marshal directs me left on the chalk track across through the valley to Firle. I ask for some water as I only have my chia seed coffee mix left on me. He only has Volvic flavoured water which I decline as I'd rather not start on the sugar.

I see the lead bike and advise him I will be ok. It is about 5 miles left to go. I have another SCap tablet. 

Through some wooded areas and staying on the track, which eventually meets the footpath into Firle Place Estate grounds. This was a last minute diversion to the course, which I only read about after the race. 

I ask the marshal here for some water, luckily he has a little left in his bottle for me. Thanking him he directs me to follow the track that meets the road heading through the grounds.

Looking south east to Glynde and West Firle

Well I can see a shingle track further over but follow the trail posts through the trees, this meets a cross section in the track and I head to the nearest gate, it follows the path into the village of Firle and passing the pub. I keep to the public path signs then behind the pub it is back into the estate grounds. So I have just gone around a slight detour. I can see a marshal in her high-viz waving on the shingle road to the entrance of Firle place. 

Picking up pace I run across to her and then she directs me towards the A27 cross over. Another marshal and much needed cups of water, I am helped over the busy road safely onto a brief section of road before heading towards Glynde up a small lane. 

The village is so cute and quaint, I have never seen Glynde until today. rather like stepping back in time, locals enjoy the sunshine on front steps. Passing rows of small cottages, A small pub and church, then over the station bridge before taking the footpath just after the local post office. Following the arrow 'The Moyleman'. 

At 24 miles and greeted by a huge beast of a climb towards Lewes, I wonder if the finish will ever emerge! Nothing but rolling downs and valleys to be seen for miles...

After 2,700ft of elevation gain it is a last glance back...

With a much slower pace and still hiking uphill the best my legs can manage, I take in the gorgeous views from 360 degrees around me. It is a steep drop down to the next style at the bottom. I fly down enjoying the breeze to cool me down...

Around the base of some hills before heading back up again for yet another steep climb. The dusty track carries on up, but along the side of the hill before finally reaching Lewes Golf Course. Where for the first time, Lewes can be seen below. It is so close by, but still so high above. This has to be such an owe inspiring sight and knowing the finish has crept up so quickly. 

I cannot see any markers so carry on down the very steep road by the golf course until it winds into Lewes. I see a marshal at the bottom of Chapel Hill and then it is straight over to Cliff High Street, where I can see the team clapping and cheering me into the finish, turning left at Rear Yard just by the Tavern. 


I see Ruth cheering and wonder how she got here. Sadly she had discomfort in her foot and twisted it on some rock about half way, so had to pull out. She is still in good spirits and really enjoyed what she saw of the route already...

I finish in just over 4 hours on my garmin and I am the 2nd runner to finish. Congratulated by all the support and organisers, some much needed water and then cheering in the third runner.    

Not my best off road time but a good training day 

Click Here: My Garmin

Official Finish Times 
(taken at John Harvey Tavern, Lewes)

Colin Bennett 3:50
Luke Ashton 4:00
Kevin Tourie 4:00
Paul Denby 4:20
Neil Watford 4;25
Kevin Bush 4:25
Dom Jones 4:30
Tim Jones 4:30
Brook Barbieri 4:33
Brian Courage 4;39
Naomi Ayers 4:39
(first and only female)
Shawn Timmons 4:55

Shawn coming into the finish on Cliffe High Street

Stop the Garmin at 4:55 hours

After freshening up and changing into dry clothes, we wait for Shawn to come into the finish. He had a great run and really enjoyed the day. 

After chatting to other runners, a first time marathon runner and the organisers, we head on home and reflect on the success of the tester marathon today. 

The team seem very confident that it will become an offical race for 2015 with some slight diversions, perhaps at the Firle Estate and the finish. Suggestions are welcomed as to where the starting area and registration could be held. 

I would like to thank the team and fantastic volunteer support for today and supplying the much needed emergency water on such a dry and warm day! 

See you in 2015!

Run Free



  1. Great stuff Luke. Looks like it went as well as it could have done and in such glorious weather!

  2. It was very impressive route and very lucky with the weather, although rather on the warm side compared all this wind and rain we been having!

  3. Sounds like a great challenge , let's hope it goes ahead in 2015 count me in


Please add your comments here. I would like to encourage discussion on running, training and nutrition. Luke