393 runners arrive to start the 5th edition, South Downs Way race today 

This will be my second attempt of this popular Centurion event. In 2015 I managed a six place finish in 7hr 18min. 

The conditions look to be much warmer with no cloud cover this year. After a lighter winter of training, work and family to juggle with I will be more than happy with a strong, safe finish and to use today as a training aid...


Race Bib

This year runners can attend race registration and kit check the night before the start. Myself, and good friends Steve and John decide this will be much easier than waiting in line before the race starts. 

We get to catch up with the Centurion Team, wonderful Nicci Griffin and Race Director James Elson. 

Kit check and number collection is quick and smooth. 

After a good nights rest, better than I usually get before an ultra event. I have a small measure of bulletproof coffee and half an avocado for breakfast. 

I catch a lift in the morning with Steve and Tina to Worthing, collecting Jay (Sussex Trail Events) along the way as he will be sweeping the first leg to Saddlescombe today. 

Ultra Running Friends Sharon, Myself, Steve, John, Trevor and June 

It is good to catch up with all the ultra runners from near and far. Mark and June are running their first 50 Miler today and Lee has yet to experience the SDW50.

Starting zone with Lee, John, June, Mark, Steve and Trefor

As usual the social catch up flies past and we listen in for the race briefing with just five minutes until we start. 

It is cool and misty out but clear skies and looks to be warming up very quickly today. I have P20 sunscreen on and plan on wearing my cap all day! 

Race brief before the 09:00 start 

At 9:00 sharp we head off down the field and follow the track that leads up past the golf course, to the South Downs Way which is just over a mile uphill. 

I can see where the mist has shrouded the downs overnight, but the bright and warm sun is lifting the temperature quickly. 

Once at Chanctonbury and keeping a steady pace on the inclines I can already feel myself warming up. 

Tough Climbs and heat already. Mile 4

Just four miles in and the sun is already shining hot and guinching my thirst.

Chanctonbury Mist. Mile 7

 Bostal Hill. Mist has lifted by Mile 10

Once down the hill and into Botolphs, a short section along the River Adur and into the first aid station by the A24. 

I refill my water bottle and have a few cherry tomatoes that I eat while crossing the road. 

Power hiking the steep track up towards Trueleigh Hill, passing cheering supporters and walkers on the way. 

I am feeling good and strong so far, but aware the sun is heating up my body temperature quickly, so keep myslef hydrated, drinking to thirst.

Making my way through Saddlescombe

Hugs from Mark Dean at Saddlescombe 

Saddlescombe Mile 18

Looking over to Lewes Downs. Mile 28

I start to feel fatigued and overheated now. The sun is really warming up and making me feel off and sick. 

I keep hydrated and try to graze at the aid stations but falsing myself to eat isn't easy!

Famous Yellow Brick Road. Mile 30

Once at Southease I am in better spirits and have started to pick up some pace the last few miles. 

A crowd of support greets me as I arrive. 

I refill, dilute some coke,  munch on some cheese and tomato. Some friendly hugs from lovely Rachael, who is crewing here, then I make my way over the bridge and the steep climb up to Bow Peep...

Pictures taken by Ultra Shawn  

At Bow Peep I am greeted by friends and support which is a much needed boost since the heat and fatigue has slowed my pace considerably... 

I pinch some chocolate coffee beans which actually gives me a boost and the encouragement has worked my spirits up.

Meeting Friends at Firle Beacon. Mile 38

Once down the stoned track into Alfriston I am feeling perked up and better on my feet, I have managed to cool my body down with plenty of fluids and an SCap tablet. 

Another warm welcome at the next aid station and help refilling my bottles. I catch up with Graham here, briefly before I focus on the steep climb out to Jevington!

Climb to Jevington and enjoying the rolling greens 

Climbing to Jevington. Mile 44

I power hike all the way up towards Jevengton and try to pick up some pace on the flat and downhill sections. 

I have enough water to see me to the finish so no need to stop at the last aid station by the Church. 

I remember the long mile climb back up to the trig point before Eastbourne so want to March on and finish now...

Thankful to eventually reach Eastbourne

I play cat and mouse with three other runners who, like me are determined to finish strong and keep a strong steady pace all the way. 

The last few miles to me are always the hardest. Long flat road and no sign of an end...

What feels forever finally becomes the sports track and a lap around until reaching the finish line! 

Just a little lev for the day...

 Nice new bling!

Finishing in 28th Place overall 

I finish up in the top 30 today and an hour longer than my first attempt in 2015. 

I am happy for a strong result and finish after a tough year of work, family and life commitments. 

My training has been much lighter over winter so to finish today so well and without any issues of injury is a result welcomed and great of base for the next two bigger events...