The 2020 North Downs Way 100 is scheduled to take place over the weekend of 8th-9th August. Whilst continuing to monitor all possible information, our intention is to organise this race and to do so in the safest possible manner. We have looked extensively at every single aspect of event weekend and the plan below goes as far as possible to reduce risk of transmission as possible.

The caveat to this is that of course, any local lockdown along the route or government guidelines that cannot be strictly adhered to in carrying out the event as listed below will result in cancellation. This could happen at any time prior to race day and we should all be prepared if that is the case. But we can also continue to be optimistic that the situation will continue to improve over the coming month.  

Ultimately the event can be conducted safely, within government guidelines, almost entirely outdoors and with social distancing possible at all stages. All staff and volunteers will be provided with full PPE.

Things that can remain close to or the same as a ‘regular’ NDW100 (this is our tenth edition of the race):

  • Medical support
  • Number of volunteers
  • Number of staff
  • Timing system
  • Course Marking
  • Course Sweeping
  • Crew and Pacer Support and Access
  • Overall timings and cut offs
  • Start and Finish locations
  • Number of check points

We must accept that for the time being, racing in the traditional sense with a mass start and regular aid stations is not going to be possible. But with the following adaptations to our regular event weekend, we can mitigate for the risks concerned whilst delivering a great race weekend with as much of the traditional framework maintained as possible. Long distance trail races are by their very nature, largely self supported endeavours travelled solo or in a pair at relatively slow speeds (average between 3.4 and 4mph). Therefore many of the traditional ‘issues’ of mass participation or road events are completely removed.

Ultimately the safest way for a runner to take part in this event, is to arrive at the start line ready to run with their bib on which has been posted out to them in advance, having been dropped off by a member of their household. To run the course with their full mandatory kit and a supply of water and race nutrition on their person, topping up from the crew person(s) at all the crew access points which are unchanged from previous years. To complete the course, collect their awards and to travel home with their crew.

But of course we are still able to cater for the runner who is alone and needs support from us as organisers.

We have a starting field in 2019 of 283 runners. We allowed the same number of sign ups for 2020. The event sold out in September of last year. Due to the ongoing situation, we expect less than 283 runners for 2020 - approximately 250 starters. Our highest ever finish rate at this event is 67%, therefore we would expect there to be approximately 170 finishers (2019 - 188 finishers).

The following articles are where the 2020 NDW100 has additional or adapted protocols specifically to reduce the risk of transmission. All must be adhered to and should be looked at as an extension of the regular race rules. All of the usual race information applies, these items are in addition to that information:

Two overriding principals apply:

Social distancing along government guidelines is mandatory and entirely possible at every stage of event weekend. Runners, volunteers, crews, staff and pacers should all maintain social distancing at all times.

Gatherings of runners/ volunteers or any groups should be kept to a minimum and it is entirely possible to keep these to well below the government limit of 30** at any one time.

** This number is the current legal gathering limit and will be reviewed and updated prior to race weekend should that figure change.


If any runner, crew, pacer, volunteer or staff member has had any symptoms related to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to race day then they must not attend the event.

Runners are limited to a maximum of 2 crew people and/or 2 vehicles at any one time on course. Eg. Runner may have two members from their household/ bubble in one vehicle, or two separate crew people each driving one vehicle each.

Runners must provide in advance of race day the name, email address and phone number of any person who is either crewing or pacing during the event - such that if an infection is reported post race, we can hear from them or contact them immediately depending on circumstances.

Spectators are asked not to attend the race anywhere on course.

Runners must ensure their medical details and postal address are up to date on the race director registration system.


Race registration will not be open at all on Friday 7th August.

Runners will not need to register on race day itself. All bib numbers with timing chips attached will be posted out prior to the race.

Registration will still be available at the Leisure Centre for bag drop, toilets, emergency bib collection (if a runner forgets or did not receive his or her bib) and pre-purchase store collections. Runners must only attend registration if they have to, and should make plans to move directly from there to the start to begin their race. Changing and showers are not available.

There will be no kit check prior to the start, runners must have all mandatory equipment  on you at all times as per the normal race rules. Random kit checks will be carried out on course as usual by staff in full PPE.

Bag drop: Queue for bag drop (finish and checkpoint drop bags) will be socially distanced and marshalled. Bags must be pre-labelled prior to arrival. Bags will be handled by volunteer or staff in PPE but bags will be placed against other bags and therefore runners should sanitise hands before and after collection.

Toilets: Will be kept clean and sanitised by staff and the Leisure Centre.

There will be no ‘in person’ Race Briefing, The briefing will be recorded via video and the link shared 72 hours prior to the start.

Start: There will be a rolling start. Runners may start any time between 0500 - 0700. If runners miss the 0700 start they may not start the race. Runners may not start before 0500 as the timing system will not be set up before then. The start will as always, be signed from the leisure centre, to the start line itself.

Runners may start whenever they wish between 0500 and 0700 but we ask you to be as honest with your projected finish time as you can be and aim for the following approximate starting windows:

  • Sub 21hr: 0500-0530
  • 21-25hr: 0530- 0600
  • 25-28hr: 0600-0630
  • 28-30hr finish: 0630-0700

All runners will have their temperature checked at the start from a socially distanced volunteer or staff in full PPE/ face shield -  via a temperature gun. Runners exhibiting temps above 37.8C will not be permitted to start. Runners should expect not to wait at the start for any reason, just to walk up, have their temperature taken and begin their race immediately. When runners cross the timing mat their time will begin and they will have 30 hours maximum to complete the event from the time they cross the mat.

Runners can start with or run with other runners in the event, but must maintain social distancing at all times and please keep group sizes to a minimum to make as much space as possible for other trail users.

No Spectators , pacers or crew will be permitted at the start except to drop a runner off.


Gates and stiles: Runners should not touch any gate or stile with uncovered hands eg. wear gloves or cover hands with sleeves to use.

Markings: Will be laid out as normal. Volunteers and staff laying markings will wear gloves/ appropriate PPE for the duration. Marking will be labelled with stickers detailing that volunteers have laid markings whilst wearing PPE/ Gloves. 

Masks/ PPE: Any indoor location you visit, you must wear a mask. These include the indoor checkpoints at Knockholt Pound, Wrotham and Detling. We will have disposable masks available at the entrance to all indoor checkpoints but of course if runners have their own they should bring them. Runners will not be permitted in any indoor location without a mask on.

Staff/ Volunteers are to wear PPE at all times indoors and/ or when performing duties in or outdoors. 

Check Point etiquette: Each checkpoint will be split into three mini check points. Arriving at the checkpoint, runners may just run past making sure their time is recorded by the timing beacon, or head into the tent/ hall. A staked funnel with social distancing imposed will be laid out for runners coming to use the aid. All runners must use sanitiser as they enter a checkpoint. If any of 3 mini checkpoints are empty, then a  runner can come straight in. The checkpoints will be 3 tables set out length ways, with one volunteer managing each table. Runners will top up their bottles from the drinks provided and take any food that they need. One volunteer will marshal the entry process into the checkpoint/ sanitiser use and ensure no gathering in the check point area. Runners will take fluid and nutrition, then sanitise their hands again before moving out of the checkpoint on down the course.

There will be no check point 1 at Puttenham mile 6.8 to reduce queues. The first checkpoint will be at Newlands Corner mile 14.5. Runners should carry appropriate fluid and nutrition from the start to cover that stretch without support.

Runners will serve themselves drinks, including refilling bottles and bladders. The normal three fluid options will be provided: Water, Tailwind and Coke/ Pepsi. All food will be served in single serve packets only (once again hands are to be sanitised on the way in and out of every check point). The minimum food provided at every check point will be (single serve packets/ items):

  • Cut Up banana
  • Satsumas
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Crisps
  • Mini Cheese/ Babybel
  • Gu Energy Gel Packets
  • Tailwind
  • Coke/ Pepsi
  • Water

Hot Drinks: The check points providing hot water are unchanged, each checkpoint from Knockholt Pound onwards will provide hot water. Runners will be given packeted milk, tea bags, coffee and sugar with wooden stirrers to make their hot drink in the hot cup that they bring as part of their mandatory kit as usual.

There will be no hot food anywhere on course apart from the finish.

All of our sweepers will wear PPE/ gloves. Markings will be deposited at check points on arrival in bin bags and tied up.

Minibus: The sweeper minibus will operate as normal, our regular 17 seater bus. The maximum capacity of that bus will be 8 people including the driver to ensure social distancing and windows will be open as far as practical. The bus will be wiped down and sanitised after each use. Runners using the sweeper bus should wear a mask whilst on board. The driver will wear a mask whilst driving the vehicle.

Cut offs: Are as per normal - but are not fixed times during the rolling start. Any runner that misses a cut off will be informed at that check point or at worst, the following checkpoint if they are missed initially. Runners must stay within the relative cut offs for each check point. (eg runner starts at 0500, and arrives at Newlands corner at 0930. The regular cut off there is 1025, but as the runner started at 0500 their cut off there is 0925, so they will be withdrawn at 0925 or later.

The medical team will operate a “Non” Standby at Aid Stations policy, but will attend when called in.  Ambulance Crews will be attending every incident in a minimum of Level 2 PPE (Gloves, Mask, Apron, Eye Protection) and reserves the right to pull anyone suspected of exhibiting Covid-19 Symptoms from the race with immediate effect. Where a runner, volunteer or crew exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms on race day, they are to be isolated from all other participants.  They will then need to be returned to “Home” to self isolate and arrange a swab test.   We may need to consider this for people who have used public transport to get to the event (they won’t be able to use public transport to return home). Those who have driven themselves to the event can be returned to their car by the Ambulance and given instructions to return home immediately for isolation. Those who have taken public transport will need to find another way to get home (I assume this is their responsibility).

Logistics vehicles: There will be full provision of wipes and sanitiser and spray in each vehicle. 

General Public/ Other trail users: As always, runners should give way to other trail users and be especially courteous when passing walkers, bikers and riders. To make sure to maintain social distancing when passing any other user and particularly through pinch points on narrow trail or through gates and stiles to stand well back where appropriate and allow others to pass safely and at distance.


Runners will be encouraged to move on as soon as possible from the finish line, unless medical attention is required. A static medical team will work the finish as usual.

Award collection: Awards will be laid out on tables for collection by each runner

Provision of hand sanitizer will be available at all stages, the finish, the food and the drop bag collection areas.

Photographer will operate as normal, but socially distanced.

Food and Drink will be in single serve packs: Hot drinks, hot water, basic single serve supplies. Takeaway hot dog or veggie dog will be provided, pre wrapped and prepared.

Runners must take immediate onward transport with crew, family, friends or taxi to hotel/ home. 

No Changing or showers are available. Toilets are available and will be cleaned hourly. 

The Coach will depart at a latest time of 1300 (45 mins later than usual) and be filled to 50% capacity so maximum 24 seats. All seats are currently sold.


Any runner, crew, pacer or volunteer must contact us if they show any Covid-19 symptoms within 7 days of the race. 

If there is any reported transmission or risk of transmission post race then all parties with any possible risk will be contacted.


The staging of all of our remaining 2020 events is subject to government guidelines and we must await further data and information before final decisions can be made.

However, actions that will be taken with regards to social distancing and reduced transmission at all of those events, have been assessed and are listed below. These are designed specifically to limit transmission even if the events are able to proceed. 

Please note some or all of these will be required, and that the list is not exhaustive, others may be added. The purpose here is to give runners as much forewarning as possible with regards to potential changes to their 2020 race.

To enable us to adhere with current guidelines and to play our part in reducing possible transmissions we will be introducing the below outlined actions in 2020 (and possibly beyond where required).  We must ALL play our part in enabling race events to go ahead and therefore your understanding and help in implementing the below is required and appreciated.


  • One over riding rule is that social distancing can and will be maintained if advised as necessary by the government, in all of the below settings not limited to dropping bags, starting the event, aid stations, or at the finish. 
  • It will be possible and potentially required to organise an entire event outdoors. Any indoor registration, start, finish and indoor checkpoint can be moved or staged outside to reduce transmission without other risks being posed to runners.  
  • All volunteers will be provided with PPE including but not limited to nitrile gloves, face masks and access to sanitiser.
  • All staff including set up and sweep teams will be provided with PPE and will sanitise each area on arrival and departure, eg aid station set up or sweep.

Pre Race

  • Runners who are displaying any possible Covid-19 symptoms including but not limited to high temperature, dry cough etc will be asked not to attend the race.
  • Race Bibs and Kit check: All race bibs will be sent out via post prior to the event.  Runners will not be required to pass kit check or register at the event. Any runner missing a bib or who did not receive one can still collect on the day. 
  • Bags : Runners will be required to ensure any drop bags or finish bags are clearly labelled with their race number prior to arriving. Bag deposit will function as a socially distanced drop off with Centurion Staff in PPE collecting and storing them, to transport and offload for the same procedure at the finish.
  • Pre Race Temp Check : Runners temperatures will be taken (by use of handheld laser style thermometer).  Any runner with elevated temperature of 37.8 degrees C as recommended by the CMO will not be allowed to start the race.
  • Race Start: The race start may be a large starting window of 2-3 hours (TBC). Runners may arrive directly to the start wearing their bib number and with mandatory kit and will be permitted to start whenever they like. The chip timing will activate at the start so runner times will be based on their own chip alone. Social distancing will be in place and marshals will ensure no runner is within 2 metres of another through the start process. 

During Race 

  • Kit Check : Due to elimination from this at race start runners need to be aware for safety reasons this will be randomly checked on course, by a staff member in PPE and be prepared to stop and show proof of any required items.
  • Aid Station Etiquette: Runners to sanitise hands at designated entry and exit points to aid stations. Runners will only be permitted into the aid station areas with social distancing and will be held at distanced intervals prior to the aid station if others are in the check point when they arrive. Aid stations will be split into two halves, both delivering the same aid options (for example water, tailwind, packeted food), to speed up the rate at which runners can receive aid and move on. Due to field sizes and the spread of start and finish times, this will likely be a short wait, nevertheless runners must be patient with staff and volunteers.
  • Hydration and Fuelling : To reduce/eliminate runner and volunteer contact runners must use hand sanitiser prior to using the aid station or will be refused access. Runners must fill their own water bottles and all aid station food to be individually packaged.  Where possible runners should aim to be self-sufficient nutrition wise. Runners must also sanitise hands on the way out of aid stations.
  • On Course Etiquette : At known pinch points there will be marshals deployed.  All runners must be prepared to observe social distancing at all times and slow down/stand aside to allow members of the public to pass safely without issue. Runners should call from behind if they wish to pass a slower moving runner ahead and ask them to move aside. Runners must run to one side of the trail if being passed allowing the widest possible distance between each other.
  • The minibus picking up dropped runners will run at half capacity to ensure every other seat is left clear - and sanitised after each use. We are not ancitipating any additional delay for runners awaiting collection.


  • Awards : All t-shirts and medals/buckles will be individually packaged and runners are to collect these themselves at finish line rather than be presented with them. Runners must use hand sanitiser provided before and after collecting awards.
  • Post Race: Finish line food and drink will be more limited and individually packaged to reduced transmission.  
  • All runners will be encouraged to make quick onward travel and social distancing will be required.
  • Finish line shuttle buses will be only half filled so 2 people per row

20 Apr 20 by James Elson

2020 SDW100 and WW50km Postponement

As of Monday 20th April 2020:

The 2020 South Downs Way 100 has been postponed to the weekend of 7th-8th November 2020. 
The 2020 Wendover Woods Night 50km has been postponed to the 14th November 2020. Alongside the 50 mile. 1700 start.

The ongoing coronavirus/ Covid-19 pandemic has result in obvious challenges for any events in the near future and unfortunately these two events have succumbed to the continued issues we all face. The reasons for the postponement of these two events are as follows:

- Inability to guarantee being able to staff and volunteer the event to ensure minimum safety standards.
- Loss of numerous check point locations and/ or start finish locations for both events.
- Retraction of permission for the route/ course in some or all areas

The questions that may flow from this information should all be answered within the updated race pages for each event but to summarise the key ones here for ease:

Q. I had an entry to one of the above races, what happens now?

A. If you want to race on the revised date, you need take no further action. Your entry will be carried forward to the new date. We will see you on the start line in November. 

Q. I can't make the new date, what are my options?

A. You may cancel your place any time up until 4 weeks prior to race date for a 70% refund. 

Q. How long do I have to decide if I want to keep my place?

A. Ultimately as long as you want up until race day, but for the 70% refund you must cancel before 4 weeks prior to race day, so up to early/ mid October.

Q. I don't want to or can't make the revised date, why am I not eligible for a full refund?

A. Please see full details here

Q. I was entered for both the Wendover Woods Night 50km and the Wendover Woods 50 mile, they are now on the same date - what are my options?

A. Both races take place on Saturday 14th November. The 50 mile starts at 0930 and the 50km starts at 1700, joining the course of the 50 mile 7.5 hours in to the race. It will therefore not be possible to run both races. You may cancel either of your entries for a full refund.  

Q. Are there any other changes apart from the date to the two events you mention?

A. Yes. SDW100: Expanded mandatory kit list. No kids 1 mile event. WW50km: Expanded mandatory kit list. New start time of 1700, cut off 0230 Sunday - the race will still take place entirely in darkness.

Remaining 2020 events

The first two events on the 2020 calendar are now: 

4th July: NDW50
8th-9th August: NDW100

We are keeping these two races in the diary for a number of reasons. Firstly, all of the permissions to stage these events remain in place - including the landowners, course, and start/ finish locations. Secondly, these are races where we anticipate approximately 230-250 starters. If things have opened up in the UK by that stage, we are able to consider options like remote registration, wave starts and adaptation of check point and finish procedures to drastically reduce any group size. We are not suggesting this will be necessary, or even something that could be accepted or permitted. But there are further options open to us with these two events that are not currently possible with the SDW100 and WW50km. Lastly, runners in the UK where 97% of our entrants hail from, are still able to train consistently and sufficiently under government guidelines, for races of this nature.

For any questions as always, please simply email us by clicking here. We will come back to you as soon as we can, we may initially be inundated so please bear with us a few days whilst we get to everybody.

Thank you to all of you, runners and volunteers for your understanding.

9 Apr 20 by James Elson

2020 Event Status Update

As of today, the global situation regarding Covid-19 is still extremely serious, unclear and dynamic. Whilst in the grand scheme of things, running events are not in the least bit important, there are a lot of runners and volunteers within our community, who have forward planned races with us and who will be wondering what the current situation is with regards to those going ahead, postponing or cancelling. For lots of those us, having a race to look forward to provides focus and hope in otherwise difficult times and we are keen to keep things scheduled as they are until we know for sure that it is not possible to stage an event. Here in the UK where over 95% of our runners reside, we are also able to run and train every day. For those who are unsure or unclear on how to train during this period, please refer to this article written by James the RD at Centurion.

The aim of this post is to give our community the maximum amount of information that we can at this stage and to explain how or why that might change.

Everything laid out below is the best vantage point on the future that we can offer. Of course, the details may change or have to be changed further down the line and we ask you to be patient with us if that is necessary. But we have gone as far as we can to make things as clear as possible.

Firstly, if you are a frontline worker in the ongoing crisis then we will most happily accept a request to defer to 2021 or cancel your entry for 2020. We’ve implemented this for all events up to the NDW100 in August but we will consider this for any of our 2020 events if you need. Email us by clicking here if you need to do so.

As of today, the calendar is unchanged following the 4 initial postponements and cancellations earlier in March. The primary option for each event is to go ahead, with risk mitigation and reduced transmission potential. We can’t outline the exact details of that at this point, because if we are in a situation where public gatherings are permitted by mid June, we don’t know how many people that will be limited to and/or which of these measures we might need to use. We may look at all or none of the following:

Removing race registration, bibs to be posted out in advance

No kit check at the start, a smaller number of random kit checks to be performed on course

Rolling wave starts of small numbers over wide windows

Check points reverting to drop bags instead of standard check points

Sanitiser provision at every aid station, start and finish

Etc etc

What will prevent any event from taking place? Much of this is obvious of course but some points may not be. This list is not exhaustive:

Government mandate banning public gatherings - the size of those gatherings also is clearly a key factor.

The NHS being overwhelmed - no organiser can in good conscience go ahead in a situation where the NHS is pushed to the limit, but if that is the case then the primary point will stand anyway and the government will not permit large gatherings

Governing body and hence insurance for the events is withdrawn for any given race date

Landowners retracting or removing permissions to use locations as start/ finish venues or key check points

Inability to safely staff or get volunteers to and from the event

The ability to shield all parties from transmission of the virus

So for each of the events below, we can now outline what will be the likely Plan B and Plan C scenario for each event. Please note that the possible SDW100 and NDW50 postponement dates have most of the permissions in place but are not yet agreed by all landlords so may still be subject to change.

South Downs Way 100 13th-14th June: If the event is not viable on the given dates then we will postpone the event until the weekend of 7th - 8th November. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 6th - 7th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.

North Downs Way 50 4th July 2020: If the event is not viable on the given date then we will postpone the race until November 28th 2020. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 28th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.

Wendover Woods 50km 17th-18th July: If the event is not viable on the given dates then we will postpone the event until Saturday 14th November, the same weekend as the Wendover Woods 50 mile so that it takes place at night as the original format - a possible 1700 start time. The 50km will be run as a separate race alongside the latter stages of the 50 mile. In that instance, all entries will be carried forward to the new date, runners will not need to do anything. If a runner is unwilling or unable to race the new date then they will be eligible for a 70% refund, any time up to 4 weeks prior to race day. If the event is not able to take place on 14th November, then it will be cancelled until 2021. If you are entered in both the 50 mile and 50km at Wendover and the 50km is postponed to November, you will have the option to cancel either. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.

If any of the NDW100, TP100, CW50, A100, SDW50 or WW50 are not vialble in 2020, then they will be cancelled to 2021. Scroll down for what happens in the event of a cancellation.

When will we know if an event is viable/ is definitely going ahead?

That we are not in a position to answer right now. We anticipate that around 6 weeks from race day it will be much clearer if there is a chance that an event can still go ahead. We will make the decision by reviewing the situation daily, exactly as we are now. As soon as we are able to confirm either proceeding or cancelling we will do so immediately via mail out to competitors and via all of our social media channels.

Initially for the SDW100 in mid June we will update runners weekly via social media and fortnightly via email from today.

What will happen if an event is cancelled?

If any of our events is cancelled in 2020, then all entrants will have the option to defer their place to the 2021 event at no cost. If you can't make the new date you can receive a 70% refund of your 2020 fee. The decision on whether to cancel or defer must be made within 2 weeks of the announcement that an event is cancelled. There will be no refunds available on any deferred entry, for any reason, after the two weeks have subsided, so you must decide at that point to commit to 2021. This is because the cost to us of missing a year of the event and allowing deferals with no fee is heavy financially and we must know what we are dealing with as a business as soon as possible should this be required, so that we can plan properly for a difficult period ahead.

I can't make the postponed 2020 date, why am i only eligible for a 70% refund?

If this situation transpires, please read through the post here for full details. It is not a decision we want to have to make but it is the very best we can do in the circumstances we all face. 

Why are you looking to postpone up to three further events rather than cancelling to 2021?

Whilst many events are cancelling to 2021 rather than postpone into an already busy second half of the year, we obviously have the additional challenge of trying to keep the Grand Slam of 50s and 100s alive for almost 200 of our 2020 entrants in either the 50 or 100 mile slam. As such we will look to postpone up to three more events before we cancel to 2021.

What happens if I am a Grand Slammer and one of my four 2020 events is cancelled?

Any 2020 event that goes ahead will act as part of the 2020 Grand Slam. If an event is cancelled in 2020, then the 2021 edition of that event will count towards both the 2020 Grand Slam and the 2021 Grand Slam. Examples:

Eg. 2020 NDW100 is cancelled but the other three 100s go ahead. 2020 Grand Slam of 100s will include the 2020 TP100, A100, SDW100 and the 2021 NDW100.

Eg. 2020 NDW50 and CW50 are cancelled. 2020 Grand Slam of 50s will include 2020 SDW50, WW50 and 2021 NDW50 and CW50

When will the 2021 events open for registrations?

We will be opening 2021 events in the usual time frame irrespective of the ongoing situation and irrespective of the fact that some events will not have taken place in 2020, before the 2021 event is launched. The first example of this is the 2021 South Downs Way 50 which will open for registrations in mid-May, date TBC shortly. The TP100 will follow in mid June and so on and so forth.

What happens if I enter the 2021 event, but then the 2020 event gets cancelled and my entry deferred at no cost, such that I have two entries to the same event?

At that point we will cancel your paid for entry and refund you in full.

I am a volunteer from 2019 with a free entry to a 2020 event, what happens if that event gets cancelled?

Your entry will automatically be carried over to the 2021 event at no cost.

I want to run the double grand slam in 2020 and now the events are extremely close together, what are my options?

Before answering this it is important to define the double slam. The 50 and 100 mile grand slams are separate ‘events’ and awards are presented for the achievement of either the 50 or 100 mile slam. The double slam is not an official event. Whilst we recognise it on the website statistics in the form of the 600 club, there are no awards for the Double Slam - much in the same way as the downs double -  it is a record keeping exercise only. Running eight extremely arduous events in close proximity to one another is not something we will ever actively promote. Nevertheless we recognise that for a very select few - usually 5 or so runners each year, this is a journey they want to test themselves against. Anybody entered the double slam for this year who now has events on back to back weekends either has the opportunity to test themselves against a truly arduous task, or to try either the 50 or 100 mile slam with an event or two added on and go for the double slam another year. If we could spread the events out any more, we would do so, but it is not possible for a raft of reasons. This schedule will take a massive toll on volunteers and staff, so please consider that we really do empathise if your dream is now even harder to attain. But for the 13 double slam entrants for 2020 we wish you luck if you choose to accept the task and will support you every step of the way.


If you have any questions on any of the above please just ask. Thank you to our community for pulling together and providing support for both us and each other during this difficult situation. Special thanks to the many front line workers fighting to keep the country safe and working, we are greatly indebted to you all.

This week we have held two facebook live sessions just to re-iterate where we are in terms of the 2020 events season and what runners should be thinking about in terms of running and staying strong at this time.

This post could be extremely long and broken into different sections, but it if it is to be of any use as a quick resource to make things easier for our runners, it needs to be short and to the point. So we'll go with just the headlines for now and we can expand if asked.

From the Q&A's, people asked for info on:

- How to train for 100 miles during the crisis
- Ideas for treadmill sets
- Home Strength workouts
- Mental training and preparation
- Immune system supression as a result of training


The SDW100 is our next event scheduled for June 13th-14th, with the NDW50 scheduled now for 3 weeks after that on July 4th.

Both of these events are very clearly at the mercy of the ongoing crisis, but as it stands, 27th March 2020, we are not going to postpone them just yet. The situation is extremely volatile and with over 11 weeks to race day there is simply so much yet to happen. This could change tomorrow, or in a few weeks, or not at all - we simply don't know. The reasons we would have to postpone are obvious and the same for any organiser: possible addition to an NHS under extreme burden, a continued ban on gatherings, landlords/ authorities retracting contracts etc.

Right now, in the UK today, we are able to run once a day. For the next 3 weeks, any runner of any ability who is training for a June ultra should be looking to run or exercise for 5-6 days a week for up to an hour at a time - and that would be Gold Standard training for a 100 mile race which is 11 weeks away.

A training block for an event should not last more than 12-14 weeks, for any athlete. Because that is the maximum sustained period of training where improvements are continuous before a plateau would be reached and a race or easy period would need to be inserted.  

If you are entered into the SDW100 - break your training into the following phases starting from now:

Base training: 8-11 weeks out from race day
Build phase: 5-8 weeks out from race day
Peak phase: 2-5 weeks out from race day
Taper: from 2 weeks out until race day
Recovery: 2 weeks post race

Right now we are in the base phase of your training. You should be looking to build consistency and include variety. Speedwork should be done at the start of a training block for a 100, not at the end. You should be looking to increase specificity through a training block, so more volume and aerobic conditioning the deeper into your training block you get.

An ideal week at this stage might be (all of this can be done locally to you)

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Progression run 60 mins: 15 mins easy, 15 mins at breathing threshold, 15 mins Lactate threshold/ zone 4/ 10km effort, 15 mins easy
Wednesday - Recovery Run: 30-40 mins very easy / 100 mile race pace
Thursday - 60 mins easy/ zone 2 overall with 3 x 6 mins at 10km effort with 2 minute easy jog recoveries in the second half
Friday - Recovery Run: 30-40 mins very easy
Saturday - Easy/ Zone 2/ Aerobic Endurance 60 mins with 10 x 10 sec pick ups working legs but not lungs
Sunday - 60-90 mins at race pace with race day kit on board

Total Volume: 5-6 hours

Of course ideally in time we would stretch that long run in terms of duration but far too many athletes are guilty of leaning almost exclusively on that long run each week and losing any consistency day to day. That is a balance which never pays off. I would rather have an athlete run 5 days a week an hour day, rather than a three hour weekend run and twice for an hour in the week. 

If you run a similar shape of week every week as above for the next 3 weeks you will be in fantastic shape coming into the Build phase of your training block. 

If you are not used to running extremely local routes then I would urge you to get the OS Mapfinder app. Which allows you to see all the local roads and trails around you and plan new routes that keep you within a relative stones throw of the front door. If you are not used to training alone, not doing 'training races' or running shorter loops, use this as a chance to explore those things and I guarantee you, that you will open up your running horizons. When this is over you may not want to do your 20 mile long run on the 0.5 mile local loop but the option is there to use that for other things - double days, speed work, back to backs, mental conditioning.


Many people have less recovery time available to them given the current situation. Front line workers may have none whatsoever (which is why we are offering those people exceptional cancellation options), those at home with young kids still trying to work may also struggle. However if you are someone who is now not commuting and potentially have more recovery time available to you, use it. You may be training lower volume than usual, but the more you focus on sleep, routine and eating as well as possible, the more energy and motivation you will take into your running when things free up again.


As ultra runners one thing we know for sure is that through tough times, we endure and return stronger. If you are finding the current situation is causing anxiety or stress - and that will be the case for the vast majority of us, you will find your cortisol levels are higher and associated symptoms prevail including but not limited too fatigue, 'fuzzy brain', fluctuating appetite and mood swings. Use your running and training to add structure to your day, and use these things to relax your mind. If you can get out even for 20-30 mins for a walk that is absolutely better than nothing at all - for your mind and your body. Relax and don't stress about training. The above plan if you can run it will give you the feeling of working productively and improving fitness and conditioning for whatever is ahead.


Just a brief idea of a few sessions we often presecribe as treadmill workouts for those who have access at home. These can be translated into turbo, eliptical, watt bike sessions etc.

Treadmill hills - set to 8% and jog slowly for 1 mile then 1 flat mile at a faster pace and repeat x 3

Treadmill HIlls/ Hike: 5' w/u on 0 incline, speed 6.5kmph. Maintaining speed throughout, alternate 5' at incline 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 with 5' on flat in between each climb. Total time 55 mins

Treadmill Hills/ Hike: 5' w/u. Keeping speed at 6.5kmph, 2' at each incline 8,10,12 then 4' on flat. Repeat x 4 for 45 mins total

‘Michigan’ speed session – This involves no stopping or slow running. Run ¾ mile fairly hard (around half marathon effort) then ½ mile faster (around 10k effort) and repeat x4 (total distance of 5 miles). Include a 1 mile warm-up and warm-down jog with strides and dynamic warm-up exercises like butt kicks, fast high knees and skipping. 

Pyramid speed session – 800m-1200m-1600m-1200m-800m with rests/ easy jog of 2 mins-2.5 mins-3 mins-2.5 mins-2 mins, running the shorter distances at 5k effort and the longer ones closer to 10k effort. Try to have the second half distances run slightly faster than the equivalent distances in the first half. Include a warm-up and warm-down jog with strides and dynamic warm-up exercises like butt kicks, fast high knees


Now is the time to be doing some strength and conditioning work to accompany your running. With the current restrictions, this is the ideal time to get into the habit of doing these exercises regularly to complement your running. Twice a week for 20 minutes using just your body weight is a great place to start and much as with the running plan above, is gold standard if you can keep this up consistently. A 15-20 minute set might look like this:

Plank Hold - 30 secs
Side Plank - 20 secs
Bridge - 60 secs
Bridge Hold - Lift alternative legs x 10 on each leg
Clams - 15 on each leg using band
Squats - x 12 Using ski pole to hold weight
Lunges - 6 forward and 6 back
Press Up - Hold for 60 secs
5 Press Ups
Side Lunges - 6 on each side concentrating on balance
5 Press Ups 


For those concerned about immuno suppression through training please read this article carefully, it is expansive and informative. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and there are some very strong ones in this area. IN particular the hypothesis that training hard/ at or above lactate threshold might supress the immune system day to day (which is something we all clearly want to avoid at this time) has long been touted as fact, but more modern research shows that may not be the case.


Lastly, from Eddie Sutton one of our lead coaches at Centurion Running. Some advice on kit to look at using during lock down

As the gyms have shut down, lots of us are now needing to move our strength work outs to our homes. At Centurion we have come up with some great bits of kit which will help keep you motivated, moving, strong and further bullet proof you against injury. 
Mat - Providing yourself a ‘space’ to work on will help-both for safety, but also for mental focus- once the mat comes out the work begins! A towel can be used, but is more lightly to slip!
Kettlebell- go for an iron one- easier to grip and make you look really tough in the background of all your insta shots…go for a medium weight one so you can do lots of exercises with it. Anything between 8-14kg should do the trick. 
A TRX which attaches to a doorframe-This I reckon is  a brilliant way of at home exercising without the need for any weights…you just need a strong doorframe. Lots of videos out there of good exercises and also really good for mobility for those tea breaks between sitting at your desk for hours. Pop up and stretch, squat and lunge everytime you make a cup of tea or get bored during that conference call and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel. 
Resistance bands - again here are a million of exercises you can do with these bands (not just ping them at the kids when they head to the biscuit tin again!) you can also add them to your everyday strengthwork outs to make them harder when you dont have access to weights 
Ladders- this is a bit of a hidden gem for trail runners. Lots of us wont be able to hit the gnarly technical trails we love so much, but with a ladder you can still work on foot speed, reaction and look really cool (ahem!) at the same time 
And for comedy points and a great game for playing with kids (or dogs or both!) try these….
Tag us with your indoor work outs  @centuriongrunning and we can share all the great ideas and sessions everyone is doing! 

I wanted to take the opportunity to expand further on the situation regarding our race postponement, cancellation and explain the financial and logistical issues faced not just by us but by organisers in general. 

Overall since the news the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, particularly on our facebook Centurion Community page. But there have been those who have asked for 100% refunds and become quite angry with us for only offering 70% of their money back if they can’t make the new date. Then in between we have some runners frustrated that we aren’t offering deferrals and transfers. I feel that everyone deserves the full picture, we have always tried to be as transparent as possible.. Because of the overwhelming support I realise also some people who are not happy do not feel able to speak out or ask questions, so I hope that this goes some way to alleviating any frustrations.
What I won’t do is re-iterate why we are postponing and or cancelling events. Please see the Full Statement here for those details. This is an unprecedented situation.
We have had a few complaints from people about the new race dates. In particular why the SDW50 has been moved to the start of Half Term weekend and the day after the Beachy Head Marathon. We have one group who are proactively mobilising to complain and ask for that to be changed. 
Whilst I understand the frustration, this affects a very small number of people and ultimately the date is good news to many others. The summary here is, we simply can’t win. Whichever date we choose, someone will be unhappy. But here’s the factors we have had to consider when finding new dates:
- We are postponing 3 events, and doing so into a period of 18 weeks, where we already have 5 other events scheduled. 
- We cannot have a 50 mile within 3 weeks of another 50 miler, because of the Grand Slammers - less than 3 weeks is what we deem the minimum safe recovery period between races without encouraging runners to injure or compromise their health. We cannot therefore also have a 100 mile race within 3 weeks of another 100 miler. Roughly 25% of the field of each event is comprised of Grand Slammers so this is a significant issue.
- We need to ensure the Start and Finish are both available, these are locations that cannot be moved, in some cases because there are simply no alternatives - over the last 10 years of staging these events, we have looked.
- We need to ensure there is no clash of events on those dates on the routes.
- We need to ensure the key check point locations are also available. In the case of the 100s we have 13 check points to move too
- We need to have availability of the Medical Team
- We need to have availability of the Timing Team
- We need a core of Staff from our regular team to be available.
- We cannot have certain events on at certain times of year. The prime example being the Thames Path 100 too late in the year, because of regular flooding on the route. The same has been true however of both the NDW50 and the SDW50 both courses that have flooded regularly this winter (River Mole NDW50, River Arun/ Alfriston SDW50). 
When you take the above considerations into account, we were left with 5 possible weekends for 3 events, total. And then in terms of configuration of the calendar we were reduced down to three options, the three we have gone for. Quite simply, we did not have alternatives. 
Ultimately, postponing or cancelling is extremely expensive and in offering the policy that we have, we have taken a substantial financial loss. We are yet to see the full picture of this because a. we do not know how many of our runners will take the refund and b. if necessary to try to replace them which is almost certain, how many of those ‘lost’ entries we will be able to replace.
We have also lost money when moving the events in question, so there is an immediate financial implication here too.
We have offered runners two choices in the postponed or cancelled events. Around 85% of the costs of staging an event, are incurred prior to race day. When we elected to postpone an event, at this stage for the three races in question, outgoings have been lost to the following, this not an exhaustive list:
- Deposits for venue hire. In some cases we have received free transfers to the new dates. In some cases we have been charged the full hire amount. Because those contracts stipulate that if the venue cannot replace the booking then full charge is incurred. Obviously at this juncture, our bookings have a close to zero chance of being replaced. As harsh as that may seem, those venues are in the same position as us, they are hurting too and they need to do what they can to keep their ships afloat.
- Deposits for contractors. In some cases we have received free transfers to the new dates. In some cases we have been charged the full amount. This situation is identical to the one above. Contractors for events include toilet hire, medical, timing, race day staff, vehicle hire, caterers etc etc.
- Card and registration fees that are incurred at the time of booking which are non-refundable (we pay all card fees when entries are received, the card fee is not levied on top of the entry fee as in the case of some other events).
- Disposables for the initial events that will be out of date before the first event can now take place. This includes large amounts of short dated sports nutrition (our sponsorship agreements with our nutrition partners are that we get a discounted rate on the products we put on the check point tables), and all the food we already have in stock for the first three events. Some can be rolled over but much cannot. We will of course try to send this on to be used in some way but with all events looking at going the same way this might be impossible.
- Insurance which is now invalid for the original date. We have had to arrange new insurance for the new dates.
- Admin. This is the most vast and incalculable area. How much admin is involved in a move of this nature? A very large amount. Time effort and cost is sunk here that a figure cannot simply be put on. 
- We also have in stock medals, tees, buckles and trophies for these events. These do not have a date on to reduce waste which is a great advantage here as they can be stored.
The money lost to each postponed event varies greatly, but having more than one event we need to show parity in our decisions across each event. Refunding different levels for different events would lead to all kinds of issues.
Why are we not offering transfers?
Because most of the other events are full to capacity. We cannot increase the start list of races like the A100, CW50, SDW100 even by a handful or the venues will be over the safety limits we and those venues have set. Until we know how many people will cancel for a refund, we cannot be sure how many places we will have available in the postponed events. If we have say 50 cancel from both the SDW50 and NDW50 and we have requests for transfers that is absolutely something we can consider. But transfers from the TP100 to other 100s is not possible.
Why are we not offering deferrals?
To do so is to delay the problem. Ultimately if we are forced to move another event that may be a consideration. But if we defer entries to next year and cannot re-sell them, then the financial liability of those events is compromised for 2021. If we offered deferrals it is likely we would see a large number of athletes flow out of 2020 into 2021. We cannot calculate that number. But if for example 30% of people deferred, our events would not be viable for 2021. We cannot at most events, expand the field size because of venue restrictions. 
We have this. It allows us to be paid in full if we have to cancel events for the majority of reasons, including communicable diseases which we pay an additional premium for. However for us the timing was extremely unfortunate. our policy renewed on the 6th of February. At which point no insurer would cover any event organiser for COVD-19. It is now a named exclusion on every insurance policy out there. So we are not covered under our cancellation insurance for this virus. Many are in the same boat and include in this hotels, restaurants etc etc. Everyone is hurting here.
Longer term for us but a reality for some events who have already cancelled is, If we do have to cancel events, our sponsor contracts will not be fulfilled and they may be forced to withhold payment.
If we do have to cancel, many of the charges listed above will be incurred again and in fact increase. Because some of the contractors that have rolled forward without charge or with a partial charge, have done some purely on the basis that we will still hold the event within the calendar year, which we yet not be able to do. If that happens, we will still be charged.
Ultimately, we may yet be forced by the constantly changing situation, to cancel or postpone other events. Rest assured if that happens we will continue to do everything we can to offer everyone the best financial and logistical outcome we can.
Thanks to everyone for your continued understanding in this situation.
Thank you all for bearing with us whilst we have been through every possible scenario with regards to the upcoming events and the issues presented by COVID-19/ Coronavirus. 
We announce today that:
- The 2020 SDW50 will be postponed from Saturday April 4th 2020, to 25th October 2020 (Sunday).
- The 2020 Track 100 will be cancelled and will take place again in 2021.
- The 2020 Thames Path 100 will be postponed from 2nd-3rd May 2020, to 5th-6th September 2020. 
- The 2020 North Downs Way 50 will be postponed from 16th May 2020, to 4th July 2020.
All entries will be carried forward to the new dates. If you are entered into one of the events listed above and still want to run on the new date, you do not need to do anything else.
If you cannot make the new date, or would prefer not to run the event on the new date, you are able to cancel your entry now for a 70% refund. 
Whilst the situation regards to public health may force a change, at the moment all other 2020 race dates stay as they are including and from the 2020 SDW100.
We have waited as long as we could to see how the situation would develop, in the hopes that we would be able to stage one or more of the early season races safely. That time has passed.
At this moment we simply cannot be sure we can stage the events above safely or even at all, from a staffing, volunteer, medical team or runner perspective.
- We cannot guarantee volunteer numbers required to carry out the events safely.
- Staff shortages due to infection or self isolation are a very real possibility in which case the events could not be held safely.
- Whilst legally and technically we are still able to put the events on, we cannot guarantee zero transmission at this point - for runners, volunteers or staff.
- Our medical team are at this moment in time still able to meet the safety requirements for the individual events. But if and when those personnel are called in to bolster the NHS and handle excess cases, we may no longer be able to guarantee that cover. It is also completely unfair to place any additional burden on the NHS at this time as a result of a long distance event. Accidents and issues both minor and major do happen frequently at events of this nature and we need to be in a position to eradicate that possibility.
This is a truly heartbreaking decision to make, as it has been for all event organisers over recent weeks. Some of you will be frustrated with the outcome, please rest assured we explored every alternative and every one came with significant downsides. We have tried to pick the path which offers the greatest net positive whilst keeping safety and sustainability at the heart of each event. 
- We want to give you each the chance to run the event you wanted to - in 2020
- We wanted those of you attempting both the 50 and 100 mile slams to still be able to do so in a more congested but not dangerously over congested fixture list
- To provide all runners the best financial outcome we can, without sinking the Centurion ship, so to speak.
As it stands, we are aiming to deliver all  postponed events as originally advertised in everything but the date. We ask runners please to be accepting if for reasons beyond our control, minor details need to be changed. 
All runners in all four affected events have been emailed with details on how to process the refund if they wish. 
To all of you, we must ask you more than ever to pull together as a community to get us to help these events happen. The new calendar will take a toll on all of us, staff and volunteers in particular. By having a more congested calendar, we need more volunteers over a shorter space of time. If you were considering volunteering for the earlier dates, please do let us know if you are able to attend the revised dates.
We are confident that we can succeed, however, in putting on the same standard of event that we always have and always will - across the board. In this plan we have strived to do the best despite the costs on all levels and we will continue to do that throughout a difficult year and into the future.
On a final note, this situation places a burden on all of us. If we share that burden then we will all emerge from this better, with a stronger sense of community and well being. We have been met with an overwhelming response from members of the community, contractors, landlords and in fact all parties involved with the sport and the race. It shines a great light on what good we can all do if we try. We want to treat everyone the same way with one clear and transparent policy for all. 
If any of you have questions or concerns, particularly if these changes affect you personally in a way that we can assist with, please contact us as usual at [email protected] . Please bear with us for a response, we will come back to every email as quickly as we possibly can. Thank you.

11 Nov 19 by James Elson

WW50 2019 Preview

The fourth edition of this now classic and highly popular end of season race kicks off this coming Saturday, 16th November at 0930. 

We have perhaps the most competitive field yet assembled in both the mens and womens events. The mens course record of 7:16 is one of the highest performance index runs we have had at one of our events, from Stu Leaney the king of Wendover who also won the 100 mile here in July. He doesn't compete this time though. Amy Sarkies' womens record of 8:50 set here last year is also a stout one, just a second inside Sam Amends previous best but could be the more likely to go of the two.

The course has received a lot of rain recently and with an orienteering event this weekend just past, there are definitely some soggy patches but a dry forecast ahead and a very fast draining area should mean that things could yet be pretty optimal for fast running on the day.

52 runners are aiming to complete the Grand Slam here and as usual, we expect some of those finishes to go down to the wire! The table as it stands is available here


Jon Ellis: Grand Slam 50 Record Holder which indluded 3 wins and a second place at this event in 7:49 which still ranks him 5th all time on this course.

Rob Payne: What a year this man has had. 1st at the NDW50, 2nd at the West Highland Way Race, 2nd at the NDW100 and a win at the recent Tooting Bec 24hr in a 251km total. Can he cap a phenomenal year with one more stellar result.

Rob Payne

Rob Barnes: A man who can run fast over all surfaces and distances. His best results include a win at the Cape Wrath Ultra, 3rd at Dragons Back and a win at the Druids lats year, over the Ridgeway. In single stage stuff he has finished on the podium of the Ridgeway Challenge, 11th at Lakeland 100 and won the St Peters Way twice.

Neil Martin: Our 50 mile Grand Slam leader by a huge margin will be looking to finish his year with one more solid run out. He has finished 5th, 4th and 4th and also finished 4th at the Night 50km here in July. Can he podium for this final one?

Steve Hobbs: Steve has finished 7th here twice before. Podiums at the TP100 a few years back and the SDW50 this year as well as a second at the Thames Trot a couple of weeks ago indicate he could go better yet this weekend.

Jack Oates: Jack had some super results in 2017, winning the Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 and the Stort 30 in a super time of 3:01. Since then he has been quiet from the looks of it with just a couple of finishes at short ultras, further down the order. 

Daniel Weller: 8th at the SDW50 last year.

Will Frank: 3rd place at Marlborough downland challenge this year. 


Sophie Grant: Exciting to have a runner of Sophie's calibre running with us here. Sophie's accolades are numerous and many of them at international level. She has 5 x UTMB finishes under her belt including a top ten there in 2016. She has 4 x Laveredo finishes including a top ten there too this year and one previously. She has represented GB on the trails and in 2018 was UK Skyrunning champion. This year so far she also has a 12th at MIUT and an 11th at the TDS to her name. Recently running a sub 1:30 half marathon for London qualification next year, she also has great speed on the flat stuff. The combination of the skills involved at this course will suit her. 

Rachel Fawcett: One of the most consistent runners of the past couple of years. Rachel currently leads our 50 mile Grand Slam with a 4th at the SDW50, a 2nd at the NDW50 and a win at this years CW50. Amazingly, all of her times have been within a range of 7:47 to 7:59 elapsed. Last year Rachel finished 4th at all four of our 100 milers. 

Rachel Fawcett

Charley Jennings: Second behind Rachel in the Grand Slam standings, Charley has finished 6th, 4th and 3rd at the 50s so far this year, also showing incredible consistency and pushing Rachel in the table. 

Rachel Dench: Rachel has a string of top ten and podium performances over recent years. She finished 5th here back in the inagural edition but will surely go substantially faster this time. In a very consistent 2019 she has won the Essex 50 and Northants Shires and Spires, taken 4th at the Tahoe 100km and finished 7th at the TP100.

Rebecca Lane: Recently crowned this years Grand Slam 100 mile champion, she has had quite the year. She has raced here before and finished 7th so if she has a little energy left over from a monumental 2019 she can do well here also. 

Rachel Lindley: 7th at this years SDW50 and 5th at this years NDW50.


Join us from 0930 on Saturday 16th November via the live page here, with updates from all 10 check points/ every 5 miles. 

The format is 5 x 10 mile loops, returning each time to the field in which you will register on race morning. There is one other aid station at 5.5 miles in to each 10 mile loop. So effectively 9 aid stations and then the finish. 

The point of this post is to give you an insight in to the course, the possible conditions and how to best prepare during these final few weeks to race day.

Many of you have recce'd the course so are by now familiar with the terrain and are well placed to think about the format and your race plan. Some of you cannot get to the course before race day and/or are new to this area and this format so this post is designed to give you some key pointers to think about in order to have your best day out on course.

Remember that whether you have recce'd or not, this course will be marked, re marked and checked constantly throughout the race with the intention that navigation never be an issue for you on course. Nevertheless you must concentrate throughout the race because of the number of turns/ markings you will see. It will be very easy to wander past a marking or a turn if you are in a daydream.

The Gruffalo Resides in the Woods at Mile 1.


Laps are not to everyones liking, but if you are running the race then you have signed up for a race including 5 x 10 mile loops so we are taking it for a given that you either like a looped format, or giving it a go for the first time to see!

The benefits of laps are: Familiarity with the course during the later loops. Sharing the trail later in the race with runners at differing ends of the speed spectrum. A natural break down of the race in to smaller chunks than 50 miles point to point offers. Regular access to both our aid stations and your own provisions (you may access your drop bag each 10 miles).

Some potential challenges of laps are: Repetition of the course. Sharing the trail with faster runners who come past looking as though they are out for a 5km. A natural break down of the course in to the perfect point to quit every 10 miles. Regular access to aid stations and your own provisions where you may be inclined to waste time.

Think about the positives, not the challenges. 


The course is tough. No doubt. It contains specific challenges - but these things are relative. Despite some runners returning from recces with reports of experiencing 'unrunnable bushwhacking', 100% of this course is on legitimate trail, some of it is just a bit more challenging that you get on a National Trail.

Last year the winners came home in an average of 9 min miling. If it were unrunnable bushwhacking, those kind of times would simply not be possible.

The course is characterised by a variety of different trail formats.

About a third of the course is wide open groomed trail or dirt road. Descents tend to allow for some very quick running. Ascents on these can be steep but some are runnable.

A Smooth Runnable Trail Descent in Wendover Woods

About a third of the course is on narrower trail/ single or double track which if dry makes for good running downhill, and will yield quickly to a good efficient hiking technique uphill. If muddy and wet some of these sections will become tougher going particularly later in the race with the passing of many feet before. 

An Uphill Section of Trail Towards the End of the WW50 Loop

The final third of the course is a mixture of challenges which are the signature of this course. We wanted to include features that you can reflect on and try to explain to your mates post race about just how epic they are. There are five climbs on the course that in anyones book are very steep and probably unrunnable for all but a few at the sharp end of the race. The bonus is that these steep climbs are short. In reality the longest they will last is just a few minutes each. BE PATIENT, go easy, hike away. The top will come. Some have some small sections of stairs, you may even need to use a few trees as resting posts along the way. That's ok. From the top you get a nice runnable descent on the other side - of every single one. There are two descents which are narrow and rutted and require a steady footing, one down in to a field we have dubbed Power Line and one down a section of what is actually the Ridgeway National Trail which resembles somewhat a ditch and is challenging because it is filled with loose branches and stones. These sections last no more than a couple of minutes.

The Snake - A Steep but Wide Climb in the Second Half of the Loop

A Steep Section of Single Track At The End of the Loop

Gnarking Around - One of the Steepest Sections on the Course. 


You need not fear the race or the route. Rather come armed with:

- Patience. A sensible pacing plan early on will reap huge benefits later as you find yourself trotting past runners who went out too hard, on very straight forward runnable sections. We expect a large number of runners to stop after 3, 2 or even just 1 loop. The excuses will as usual run the full range. Most of those who stop will simply be beaten psychologically. Probably having gone too quickly. Don't come to us and complain that the course was too tough to finish. You have 15 hours to get this done should you require them. MUCH OF THE COURSE IS GOOD RUNNING which means that even if you take a large amount of time to make your way up the few very steep (and short) climbs - as long as you keep moving, focus on an even effort and don't waste time in check points, there is an extremely good chance you will finish. 

- A good hiking technique. Practice during training. 10000ft of climb is not excessive in the world of MUT Running. Relatively, UTMB has the equivalent of 16500ft of climbing per 50 miles for example. However it is substantial and requires runners to be efficient in switching between running and hiking. If you want to bring poles, bring poles.

- Condition your quads. Descents, even shallow ones offering relatively good running, turn to painful plods later on if you race the early downhill miles and damage your quads.

- Time Targets. We've set a 15 hour cut off at this race, rather than the usual 13 hours we allow at our other 50 mile events. The reason for this is that the course is tougher than the other three mainly in that it contains more climb and will therefore be slower going. We have a large number of 50 mile Slammers starting this final event and we want to give each of you but especially those runners every opportunity to finish this final race. Not to be beaten by a tight time target. The fact that we have added two hours to the overall cut off should tell you something about how difficult we rate the course vs the other three 50 mile events we stage. Plan for that. 

- Footwear: The Age Old Question, what shoes should I wear? A decent trail shoe with good grip is advised. If it's very muddy, in some places it won't matter what you've got on because you will be slipping around whatever the case. BUT if you wear something with good grip you stand a much  better chance of making good time and preventing slipping and sliding around on the vast swathes of the course which will be good going no matter what the weather.

Relax, Enjoy, You Got This.

7 Oct 19 by James Elson

2019 Autumn 100 Preview

The fifth and final 100 of our 2019 season sees 250 runners toe the line as usual, with a raft of different goals.

34 are hoping to finish their fourth 100 of the year and complete the Grand Slam. Of those, particular mention goes to John Melbourne. John needs to run 20:21:09 or better to take the new mens record from last years champion Peter Windross. In the womens standings, Karen Doak leads Rebecca Lane by just 8 minutes coming into this final race. 

The Grand Slam table is available here.  

Here is a quick preview of the leading runners coming in to this weekend.


Laura Swanton: 2018 winner here in 18:27 as she capped off her Grand Slam record setting year, Laura also finished on the podium at all of our other 100s in 2018. She started 2019 with a win at the Arc of Attrition 100 before winning Devon Coast to Coast. She has recently run long, at the end of last month she ran Tooting 24 hour and looks to have made just over 100 miles.

Laura with her first Centurion trophy after winning this event in 2018

Amy Sarkies: Amy set a new Wendover Woods 50 mile record at the end of the 2018 season, racing home just a second inside Sam Amends existing mark. That followed an excellent third place at Lakeland 50. This year she opened her account with a second place at the SDW50 in 7:22. It looks to be her first 100.

Amy set a new course record at last years Wendover Woods 50

Edwina Sutton: Centurion Ultra Team runner Eddie has an ultra career spanning back to 2011 with many notable wins and records to her name. Earlier in her racing days she set the SDW50 course record which was only betttered this year for the first time. She has amongst other things also taken home the crown at the Chiltern Wonderland 50 and finished 2nd in the British 100km champs. This year to date she has picked up a win at the Devils Challenge multi-day over the South Downs Way, but dropped out of the SDW100 in June with a foot injury. She has been working her way back to fitness and therefore has a primary focus on finishing what will be her first 100, as she returns to full strength.

Eddie running to victory at the CW50 in 2016.

Samantha Lloyd: Samantha took 3rd at this years SDW100 and has previously finished in the top ten at Wendover Woods 50, SDW50, NDW50 twice and was 5th at last months CW50.

Catherine Stoneman: Catherine has a 2nd at the Pilgrims Challenge and a win at the Serpent Trail 100km to her name so far in 2019.



John Melbourne: John as mentioned already leads the Grand Slam standings this year. He has run under 15 hours twice so far in 2019, at both the TP100 and the SDW100, finishing second in both. The NDW100 was a tougher day out but he got it done and will certainly want to finish an incredible year well at this race.

John Melbourne at this years NDW100

Geoff Cheshire: Geoff ran out front of this years SDW100 until deep into the race, where issues compounded to force him to drop at the final check point with 4 miles to go. It was a charging John Melbourne who passed him just before that point. Geoff has previously taken home victory at the Chiltern Wonderland 50 and race to the stones. He has a great deal of ability and if he has a good day here will go fast.

Geoff winning the CW50 at this very location in 2018

Henrik Westerlin: Henrik has some impressive accolades to his name. In 2014, he ran a then Danish 100 mile record of 14:42 at Rocky Raccoon 100, having shared the trail with this author for the final loop and running off to beat him by 8 minutes at the end :) He has represented Denmark on the Trails and at the 24hr format and finished 5th at Spartathlon. In 2019 so far he's had a 15th at the competitive Ultra Trail Mount Fuji and solid finishes in half a dozen other ultras. It will be great to see him racing here in the UK.

Ian Hammett: We had Ian down as a DNS as two weeks ago he ran a superb 7th at this years Spartathlon. The winner of this years TP100 has decided to toe the line here too so it will be fascinating to see how quickly he can bounce back from another long effort. 

Peter Kaminsky: Peter was our SDW100 champion in 2015, a year when he also ran this event and came home in 5th place in a time of 16:29. In a short space of time he ran 100 ultras and had wins at various different distances on the way. He then took a couple of years off before last year racing a dozen ultras again in 2018 though not to quite the same standard as before. 

Stephen Marks: Earlier in the year, Stephen finished just behind Geoff at the 43 mile country to capital, in third place. His pace on the flat is excellent and with the experience of going long, having run Lakeland 100 in the pairs division with running partner Dean Oldfield for each of the last five years if he can put both things together here he could run a blazing fast race. 

Paul Russhard: Paul had a superb run for 2nd at this years NDW50 where he finished just over 7 hours. Earlier in the year he won the Pilgrims Challenge on the same trail. In 2018, he was 2nd at the NDW100 having led much of the way before a hard charging Matt Dickinson ran though late on for the win. In 2017, he finished in the top 5 at the first three 50s of the year. He has lots of fine performances behind him and if he comes in with his race face on he will push the front. 

Alistair Palmer: Alistair finished 5th at the CW50 last month and that followed a win earlier this year at the Testway 50. Last year he ran home 2nd at the SDW50 and took 5th at the SDW100 in a solid 16:35. 

There are at least five other guys in the field with the potnetial to run well inside the top ten, so we are looking forward to a really exciting race. 

Follow it live from 0900 Saturday via the Live Timings Page here, and via our social media channels.

10 Sep 19 by James Elson

2019 CW50 Preview

The fourth edition of the Chiltern Wonderland 50 and the third 50 miler of our season takes place this coming Saturday 14th September.

Of an anticipated starting field of 250, we have a huge 61 runners looking to complete race three out of four in their Grand Slam journeys. The full table is here listing runners in order of total cumulative time for the first two events. 


Ali Young: Ali comes into this race on route to yet another Team GB 24 hour race this coming October in Albi, France. Ali has been performing at the highest level in ultras over the past seven years as well as having an incredibly consistent road and shorter distance running career. Ultra wise her top results have included a win at GUCR earlier this year, 2nd place at Tooting Bec 24hr where she ran a 100 mile PB of 16:29 and a 10th place at Spartathlon. But over shorter distances she has also won events such as Country to Capital and has a marathon PB of 3:01 which she has run numerous times. 

Rachel Fawcett: Rachel is a past winner here having pipped Charley (featured below), by just 1 second in 2017. Since then she has gone on to finish 4th in all of our 2018 100 milers as well as the SDW50 earlier this year, before finally stepping back on to the podium at this years NDW50 with a 2nd place in a solid 7:52. This years two runs put her at the top of the Grand Slam table and significantly ahead of record splits, currently held by Charley, below. Second behind her in this years Grand Slam table, 57 minutes back, is.... also Charley! 

Rachel Fawcett on route to 2nd at this years NDW50

Charley Jennings: Charley has a string of fine results behind her particularly in the 50 mile format. As mentioned above, she holds the Grand Slam 50 record and this year stands second in the table with a 6th and a 4th at the two races so far. In 2017 she took second here behind Rachel and also took third at the NDW50 that year.

Amelia Watts: Amelia has been racing ultras since 2013 over a variety of distances and terrain types. Stand out results include a win at this years Classic Quarter, 5th at the 2018 Mozart 100km, 15th at Transgrancanaria (2017) 2nd at the SDW50 (2016) and a 5th at the MDS.

Annabelle Stearns: Annabelle ran Western States this year breaking the magic 24 hour mark. But has been dealing with an injury since so may not be ready to go for this one. Previously she has a score of excellent results over many years behind her. Wins at the NDW50, Druids Challenge and London to Brighton (trail) have been intespersed with second places at SDW50, SDW100, NDW50 and NDW100.

Samantha Lloyd: Samantha took 3rd at this years SDW100 and has previously finished in the top ten at Wendover Woods 50, SDW50 and NDW50 twice.

Emily Dixon: Emily finished 8th at the competitive Mozart 100km this year, a UTWT event.


Mark Innocenti: Mark ran home 2nd at this years SDW50. Previous to that he has taken the win at Race to the King and the Stort 30. With a podium at the NDW50 in 2017.

Mark in action at the North Downs Way 50

Rahil Sachak-Patwa: Our recent Wendover Woods Night 50km winner, Rahil ran away from the field there at mile 7 and never looked back. He is new to ultras with what looks to be only four under his belt but he has run well in all. A 7th at last years Autumn 100 and a 3rd at Country to Capital figure among them.

Neil Martin: Neil leads our 2019 Grand Slam 50 rankings with a 5th and a 4th so far. He has also won the Arc 50 and finished 5th at the Wendover Night 50km in what is turning out to be a really fine year for him.

Alistair Palmer: Already has wins this year at the 50 mile distance, twice at Winchcombe Cross and the Testway Ultra. Last year he was 5th at the SDW100 in a solid 16:35 and was 2nd at the SDW50 under seven hours. 

Neil Kirby: Neil exploded on the scene in 2016, picking up wins at both 50s and both 100s on the downs. Since then he has struggled to get back to fitness and each time we preview him it seems to curse him and lead to a drop, but we are more hopeful than ever that this will be the return to glory.

Neil Kirby after winning the SDW100

Ed Knudsen: Ed had a strong 2018 with 4th at the Ridgeway, 2nd at the NDW50 and a win at the Marlborough Downland Challenge. This year so far he has taken home the win at the Imber ultra and ran 6th at the NDW50.


As always you can follow the race live on race day this coming Saturday 14th September, from every check point via the link here

2 Sep 19 by James Elson

2019 Track 100 Preview

As we look ahead to our inaugural Track 100 Mile this weekend we do so hot off of the back of a new 100 mile mens world record from Zach Bitter at Six Days in the Dome in Alaska less than 10 days ago. He lowered the world mark to 11:19:13. It goes to show that through many years of perseverance and experience, it is possible to hone in on and improve upon outstanding marks. We hope that this will remain a fixture in the calendar for many years to come and allow the best of British and International runners to have a run at British and World Record marks. 

The all Time GB 100 mile records can be found here

This year we welcome a field of 8 to the start line, 6 men and 2 women. All with high hopes of running big performances and the set up of this race is designed to provide them exactly that. 

Race start is 0600 Saturday 7th September, with a 17 hour cut off in place. You can join us live on the day via the live link here which will give lap by lap splits for all runners. Follow our twitter feed and insta page for further content across the day.


Runner: Thomas Payn
Qualifier: 100km, Marathon. 
Details: 2009 Fukuoka Marathon: 2:17:29. 2013 Self Transcendence 100km: 7:25:34. A further 10+ Marathon Qualifiers.
Bio: Tom's career as a road runner is an impressive one. It's hard to know which of his PBs is the most impressive. But he has done it at all distances. 800m - 1:52. 1500 - 3:50. 5km - 14:13. 10km - 29:46. 10 mile - 49:49. Half - 64:55. His marathon at 2:17 put him in the top handful of runners in the UK. But his consistency is perhaps even more impressive than this pinnacle as he has year after year gone after fast times and achieved them. He broke 2:30 and often 2:20 almost every  year between turning to marathons and moving up to ultras in 2013. He ran 2:26 as recently as last year. His 100km of 7:25 is just one of a number of ultras under his resume. He has represented GB on the trails. More recently he has turned his hand to some tougher mountain races and looks to have had much lesser results in that area as he has perhaps yet to hone is craft there. This is far more in his wheelhouse and it will be fascinating to see how someone with as much raw speed as Tom can turn his hand to the distance on the track.

Runner: Matt Dickinson
Qualifier: Marathon 
Details: 2018 Valencia Marathon: 2:29:23
Bio: Matt cracked the 2:30 barrier at Valencia Marathon last year, which followed his win at the 2018 NDW100 on this very track. A race in which he exercised a lot of patience early on and ran super strong over the final 15 miles having taken the lead with that distance left to run. He's shown he has both the speed, endurance and combination of a smart head to have a great race here, though this is a step into the unknown. 

Matt Dickinson took the win on this track at the end of his 2018 NDW100 debut 100 miler

Runner: Rob Isolda
Qualifier: 100km, 6hr. 
Details: 2019 6 Ore del Parco Nord: 79.252km. 2018 100km di Seregno della Brianza: 7:15:02.
Bio: Rob ran a 7:15 100km in Italy last year and he has followed that up with a solid 6hr already in 2019. His resume includes the full spectrum of different terrains and conditions as he has raced everything from UTMB to 24hr track. 

Runner: Andy Jordan
Qualifier: 100 mile, 12hr.
Details: 2016 Tooting Bec 24hr 100 mile split: 15:29:45. 2017 Barcelona 24hr (12hr split): 131.684km.
Bio: Andy has raced lots of track events in recent years, mainly over the 24hr distance and indeed both of his qualifiers were interim splits in 24hr events. He has gone on to 2 solid 24hr runs in the low 220km range following those initial faster eariler splits, which strongly suggest this distance could suit him well. So far in 2019 it looks like he has raced just once with 71km and 2nd place at the Crawley 6hr.

Runner: Mark Bissell
Qualifier: 12hr 
Details: 2018 Crawley 12hr: 133.753km.
Bio: Mark had a solid 2018 where is 12hr qualifier was run, on his way to 2nd place at Crawley 12hr. He has a number of 24hr performances behind him with a best of 217km. He is clearly a fan of the track format, looking to combine his experience across 6, 12 and 24hr hour here.

Runner: Ry Webb
Qualifier: 6hr
Details: 2019 Dorney Lake 6 hour - 80.145km
Bio: Ry comes in off of the back of a qualifier just recently at Dorney Lake 6hr where he cracked the 50 mile barrier. He ran a solid 24 hour last December in Barcelona finishing on 216km which will stand him in good stead experience wise for this, with that race also taking place on the track. Other solid results from him have been mainly on the trail with 2nd at the SDW50 in 2017 before taking 3rd at each of the remaining 50 mile races in our Centurion Grand Slam of 50s. 5th at the 2016 NDW100 in 18:31 is his best trail 100 result. 

Ry finishes third at the 2017 NDW50


Runner: Debbie Martin-Consani
Qualifier: 24hr, 100 mile, 12hr.
Details: 2015 World 24hr Champs Turin: 221.714km. 2014 Crawley 12hr: 129.171km. 2012 World 24hr Champs 100 mile Split: 15:48:18. 3+ Further 24hr.
Bio: Debbie is the most qualifier runner over long distances in either the mens or womens field. She represented GB in the 24hr format five times, with a PB of 221km from Turin in 2015. She still holds the Scottish 100 mile womens record of 15:48 set on route to one of her 24hr finishes. On the trails she has won numerous events over the 100 mile (and greater) distance with the SDW100, NDW100, TP100 (x2) Lakeland 100 and Grand Union (overall win) amongst the key ones. Her course record at the NDW100 still stands where you finished on this very track and she is already off to a great start in 2019 with a win at the TP100. Having recently improved her Marathon PB she has greater speed coming into this and it will be great to see her achieve what is possible here.

Debs running to another Centurion 100 mile victory in 2016 at the NDW100

Runner: Jess Gray
Qualifier: 100 mile, 50km.
Details: Autumn 100 2016: 16:42:12. 2014 Royal Parks Ultra 50km: 3:37:14.
Bio: Jess has had excellent results in the past few years with wins at the Ridgeway 86 (Course Record at the time), SDW50 and perhaps most impressively a second place at the Autumn 100 with a time of 16:42 which puts her on the all time list. This will be a new challenge for her in what looks to be her first lapped/ track event.

Jess at the conclusion of her victory at the SDW50

30 Jul 19 by James Elson

2019 NDW100 Preview

This is the ninth edition of the North Downs Way 100 and our biggest ever field is set to give this tough 100 their best.

In terms of the front runners, we have one notable absentee. After struggling through much of Wendover Woods 100 with injury, Ian Hammett has unfortunately had to abort his Grand Slam attempt for this year. Second in the standings behind John Melbourne and well under overall record splits it is a real shame and leaves John to try to carry the effort forward to a new Slam overall record.


John Melbourne - Two sub 15 hour 100s already this year and two second place finishes at the TP100 and SDW100, the latter by under 2 minutes. He has taken things to a new level this year and he will want to continue that run, but also be itching for that first win too.

Rob Payne - A superb year for Rob so far, with a win at the NDW50 in May and then a second place at the West Highland Way Race in June. These follow a string of podiums, top tens and a handful of wins at various ultras in 2018 including Dukeries 40, Hardwolds 80 and Country to Capital.

Rob Payne

Rich Riopel - A star on the US scene this looks to be Rich's first UK race. This year he has already run some world class performances on road and trail. A 260km distance and win at the Dusk to Dawn 24hr ultra, second at the Old Dominion 100 in June and at least four other wins at various shorter distances all since January. He is a member of the US 24hr team and has plenty of experience with the 100 mile distance, with what looks to be a 15:14 PB from Desert Solstice (100 mile split) a few years back. 

Barry Miller - Barry is a vastly experienced ultrarunner and particularly at the longer stuff. He cut his teeth with some shorter ultras before moving to our Grand Slam and then the following year, he completed the US Grand Slam. He has since gone on to finish classics such as Spartathlon and GUCR with some superb results along the way including second at GUCR and a win at the Viking Way. He can certainly do something special here if he is in good shape.

Ed Catmur - Still the course record holder with his mighty 15:44 back in 2013. Ed still hasn't fully returned to the rich vein of form of those days but is increasingly returning to fitness and was briefly in the top three at the TP100 earlier this year. The fire still burns!!!

Ed Catmur gliding to a course record in 2013, which still stands today

Ed Knudsen - Ed came within a whisker of winning the NDW50 last year, eventually missing out to Stuart Leaney by just a few minutes. He has been 9th at the SDW100, 4th at the Ridgeway Challenge and this year was disappointed to finish 6th at the NDW50. He knows the trail and can go long too.

Alfie Pearce Higgins - Alfie had a great 2018 with 4th at Mt Gaoligong 100 in China and 5th at Oman by UTMB - two tough 80-100 milers. Previously second at Ultra trail Gobi to boot, Alfie can also do it on the UK trails with top 10 finishes at SDW50 and SDW100 over the years. 

Mark Shannon & Kevin Shannon - There are three Shannon brothers running this race and they are all quick! Mark and Kevin often run together and the two were 3rd and 4th at last months Wendover Woods 50km and recently ran a strong Bob Graham Round. In 2013 the two ran together at this event and finished 12th and 13th in a respectable 20:34.

Mark Darbyshire - Mark has shown his pace over shorter and/ or more mountainous routes than this but this looks to be his first 100. He was an impressive 39th at Transvulcania this year and has previously run home winner of the Brecon to Cardiff Ultraand finished second at the Beacons Ultra.


Susie Chesher - Susie holds the record as our fastest ever female 100 miler. Her 15:22 at the 2016 Autumn 100 is 49 minutes better than the next closest time. She's won events at a mix of distances over the years, mostly on UK trails and whilst she had a dnf at the Fling in April we hope she will be back on top form for this one.

Susie on her way to a massive record at the 2016 A100

Rebecca Lane - Rebecca has finished 5th at the TP100 and 4th at the SDW100 already this season and is on her way to a Grand Slam title, leading the way in the womens overall positions by a big margin. With the field looking less deep here she will certainly be one to watch as her consistency is superb. Her TP and SDW times were just 2 minutes different from one another.

Karen Hacker - Karen finished second at last years Wendover Woods 50 and took home third at the Race to the King in 2017.

Lindsay Hamilton - Lindsay has a string of podium finishes to her name at shorter ultras but this looks to be her first 100. She has finished in the top three at Gritstone Grind, Norfolk 100km and the Jurrassic Quarter over the last year. 

Karen Doak - Karen lies second in the Grand Slam table with 2 x Sub 24hr runs under her belt, 22:44 good enough for 8th at the TP100.


Follow the race live via the link here, updates begin at Newlands Corner mile 14, race start is 0600 Saturday 3rd August.