30 Jul 22 by James Elson

NDW100 2022 Preview

 

Our fourth 100 mile race of the 2022 season takes place this coming weekend - the twelfth edition of the North Downs Way 100. Our first event back in 2011 this race is always a special one for us. The point to point course from Farnham in the west down to Ashford in the east is a tough one. At 103 miles, with 10,000 feet of climb, the numbers are big but underfoot is often where this race is most challenging due to the steps and stairs, most prevalent in the second and fourth quarter of the race. The course records say it all - both held by Centurion Ultra Team members. 18:34 for the women run by Debs Martin-Consani all the way back in 2016. 15:18 for the men, run by Mark Darbyshire in 2019. Can anyone get close this time? Here are the likely contenders at the sharp end.

WOMEN

Amelie Karlsson: Whilst this looks to be her her second 100 miler, her results at previous ultras suggest she has all the speed to go well and that this course will suit her. Top tens at international events such as 100 miles of Istria, Mozart 100 and Ultravasan 90km are coupled with wins at Coastal Trail Series events over the last couple of years.

Jennifer Sangster: Has raced twice with us so far in 2022, finishing fourth at the NDW50 and more recently placing third at Wendover Woods Night 50km. She was third at the TP100 in 2021, so she has proved she can run well over a good range and over this terrain.

Linn Erixon Sahlstrom: No stranger to our events, she has been running ultras for over ten years and has some great results behind her. Last year she was third at the Autumn 100 in 19:05. She has won the Jurassic Coast 100 twice, as well as UTS50 in 2019.

Anna Brown: Second at Robin Hood 100 in 2020 and went on to win Gloucester 24hr that year. In 2021 she was third at Race to the Stones amongst other top ten placings in a few shorter ultras. This year she ran home eleventh at the SDW100 in a time just over 20 hours.

Sarah Challans: Lots of podium and top ten finishes at a range of shorter ultras in the past four years for Sarah. This year she won the River Aire Ultra (50 miles) in April.

Tina Bergman: Second at Al Andalus in 2017, a year when she also won the Tring Ultra 50km with XNRG. In 2020 she finished third at Country to Capital.

MEN

Pete Windross: Pete needs know introduction amongst our community. Twice Grand Slam 100 mile finisher. Past winner of both the Thames Path 100 and the South Downs Way 100, a race he was second at this year. His best at this event, where he goes for a sixth finish, was third in 2021.

Simen Holvik: Simen has excelled at the 24 hour distance in recent years, twice running 253km+ for event wins, with a 100 mile split of 14:06 at Gloucester in 2019. He has shown his range by running a 3:16 50km and is happy on trail too, so putting everything together here will make for very interesting viewing.

Lloyd Biddell: Perhaps the Wild Card here, Lloyd is by far the quickest runner in the field over shorter distances with a 2:20 marathon PB. His only ultra looks to be a very solid 11th place at the Marathon Des Sables.

Mark Lynch: Mark has been gradually making his mark at our 100s over the last several years. Last year he ran his best finish of fourth at this event in 18:45. This year he has already finished 4th at the TP100 and 5th at the SDW100, both almost bang on 16:30 finish times. He will surely be looking to keep his streak of top performances going here.

Mark Lynch at the NDW100 in 2021

Matt Gallagher: Third at the Thames Path 100 in 2021 in 16:21 and has this year so far finished third twice, at the Fox Ultra and St Peters Way 45 mile.

Guy Hudson: Like Mark, Guy has been steadily improving over the years, to the stage where he ran on to his first Centurion podium in April at the South Downs Way 50. In 2019 he had top ten finishes at SDW50, NDW50 and CW50. This looks to be his first 100 miler.

James Bennett: James probably takes the crown as most prolific 100 mile+ ultra distance runner on the circuit, at this moment in time. This year he has already finished at least ten 100's. He has also managed to be competitive in some of those, his best being a win at the Dublin to Belfast ultra in April. 

FOLLOW LIVE

The race starts at 0600 on Saturday 6th August. The Leaderboard and Live Tracking will be available via this link over race weekend.

For 2023, our Wendover events will be back but across one weekend, as part of a Festival of Running.

The date will be 7th - 9th July 2023 and the line up will be as follows:

Wendover Woods 100 mile is back for a third edition. With a start time of 1000 on Friday 7th July and a cut off of 32 hours, it will kick start the weekend of festivities.

Wendover Woods 50 will start at 0930 on Saturday 8th July. Moving from November into the summer will change up the challenge of this event, which will still act as one of our four, 50 Mile Grand Slam races. The cut off remains at 15 hours.

Wendover Woods Night 50km will start at 2100 on Saturday 8th July, with a cut off of 9 and a half hours. It will bring the weekend to a close at 0630 on Sunday morning.

Wendover Woods 10 mile will be a new event for 2023 and an opportunity to involve a much broader group of runners. 

Wendover Woods kids race will be our second kids event and will obviously be the highlight of the weekend!

Around the races, runners, friends and family will be welcome to camp and hang out with the wider community as we have use of our regular field but also the adjacent field, expanding out the races into a full weekend of action. 

The site will be open from 0800 Friday until midday on Sunday.

There will be opportunities to catch speakers/ talks. Try out demo kit from some of leading in store brands and sponsors. As well as access food/ drink on site across the weekend. 

Stay tuned to the website in the second half of August for full details and opportunites to register.

7 Jun 22 by James Elson

Film: The Extra Mile

 

A film by Steve Ashworth, The Extra Mile tells the story behind the Centurion Track 100 and some of the record breaking performances seen at the 2022 Event.

 

7 Jun 22 by James Elson

SDW100 2022 Preview

 

It's race five of our season this weekend and it's the big one. The 2022 South Downs Way 100. This race has always held a special place for us and for many of our runners and with conditions set to be warm but dry for this years' edition, we can't wait to get started. 

A field of approximately 425 runners are expected and within that number are some exciting contenders to the womens' and mens' events as well as a couple of others who deserve special mention, perhaps most notably Elaine Battson, who is looking to become the first person to finish 10 editions of the event (a full breakdown of all of our historic race stats can be found here). 

Also within the starting field is one Mark Perkins. Mark was one of the original members of our Ultra Team back in 2013-2015 and was a shining light in our sport. Amongst many other sensational performances he ran and set what is still the course record of 14:03 here in 2014. He was dealt an injury blow not long after which essentially ruled him out of the sport but he returns for this edition, an event which obviously still holds a special place for him. He won't be pushing the sharp end, just looking to make it to Eastbourne and enjoy the day along the way but it is wonderful to see him back able to even consider starting.

Both the mens but also the womens course records, are our longest standing. Jean Beaumont's 16:56 from 2013 hasn't been touched since. But there are athletes this year capable of running close to both. Will either finally tumble?

A quick recap of the 2021 event to whet the appetite!

 

WOMEN

Alice Robinson: Alice won the last edition of this event in 18:48. It is fantastic to see the reigning champion back on the start line again.

Bethan Male: Bethan warmed up to this nicely with a win at the SDW50 in April with the fourth fastest time ever of 7:12. She led the Autumn 100 with blistering splits last October before an injury stopped her just 25 miles from the finish. With a host of ultra wins behind her this is her second bid for a first 100 mile finish and it will be great to see her get it done. 

Bethan Male: Photo Stuart March Photography

Hannah Rickman: Our 2021 North Downs Way 100 Champion, Hannah started 2022 with an impressive second at the Spine Challenger North.

Hannah Rickman (Stuart March Photography)

Nicola Soraghan: Nicola came home second at the NDW50 last month. She won our Wendover Woods Night 50km last July. She is also looking for her first 100 mile finish.

Nicola Soraghan

Claire Howard: A star of the Hardmoors events Claire has won the 30, the 55, the 60 and 110 with them! Already in 2022 she has run a 7:12 50 miler at the Manchester to Liverpool Ultra for second place. 

Samantha Lloyd: Sam was third here in 2019 in 21:24. A year when she also placed fifth at the Chiltern Wonderland 50. 

Anna Brown: Anna was second at the Robin Hood 100 in 2020 in 19:10 before going on to win Gloucester 24hr in late October. In 2021 she was third at Race to the Stones.

Ellie Baverstock: Has started 2022 well with a win at the Fox Ultra and the Devil's Challenge which takes place on the South Downs Way over three days.

Julie Pickering: Fifth at the South Downs Way 50 this year in a time of 8:08. Previous winner of the Northants Ultra.

Dani Battersby: Dani finished third at the SDW50 this year in 8 hours flat.

Jackie Stretton: Jackie is a very experienced runner and amongst her credentials, she's finished Lakeland 100 six times. In 2021 she placed second at the Spine Challenger Summer and back in April finished the 190 mile Northern Traverse in fourth place.

 

MEN

Rich Mcdowell: 2021 SDW50 winner, Rich then went on to set the Thames Path 100 course record, becoming the first man to break the magic 14 hour barrier at one of our trail 100s. The 2:21 marathoner has to be the man to beat here and with his detailed preparation will no doubt have an eye on the course record. His 2022 started well with a 4:57 for the win at the 43 mile Country to Capital in atrocious conditions.

Rich Mcdowell: Photo Stuart March Photography

Peter Windross: The 2021 champion in a time of 15:30, Peter has become one of the most consistent performers at our events. Later last year he also broke the 14 hour mark, this time at the Autumn 100 where unbeliveably he missed out on the win by just 10 seconds. 2022 started for him with a tilt at the Vet 50 100 mile record at our Track 100, but ended early. That being said he set a new British 6 hour Mens Vet 50 record of 82km before calling it a day hours later.

Pete Windross: Photo by David Miller

Matt Blackburn: Matt has dozens of solid ultra finishes under his belt at everything from Spartathlon to 24hr events down through to 50km. But he is perhaps best known for providing the assist to John Stockers then World Record at the Suffolk Backyard Ultra, where Matt ran 536km.

Matt Duckett: Matt won the Devon Coast to Coast ultra last year over 190km, before coming 7th at the Autumn 100 in a strong 16:32. He was fourth at the Spine Challenger this January.

Ash Varley: Won the unofficial award for best paced race at the TP100 earlier this year on route to fifth place in 16:39. Seventh at the SDW50 earlier this year. He finished second at the 2020 North Downs Way 100.

Chris Kelly: Two time winner of the SVP100km and course record holder by a country mile with an 8:09 in 2020.

Alex Tate: Fourth at the 2019 NDW100 and winner of the Thames Trot in the same year.

Jose Rodriguez: Fifth at Chiltern Wonderland 50 in 2020. Won Ultra X's Scotland 125km last year but against a relatively small field of 35.

Barry Bryant: It appears Barry has seven ultra finishes and seven wins to his name - five of those coming at various Green Man ultra events and two at the Ox 50.

Marius Posa: Second at Country To Capital this year in 5:28. Does not look to have gone over 50 miles before.

Paul Broadway: Second at the 2018 Robin Hood 100 in 17:49 and third at our Wendover Woods Night 50km last year.

Matthew John: Second at our Wendover Woods 50 last year and a third at Lakeland 50 back in 2016.

 

As always you can follow the race Live via our Tracking Page and the Leaderboard via the link that will appear on the homepage. Race starts in two waves at 0500 and 0600 on Saturday 11th June.

11 May 22 by James Elson

NDW50 2022 Preview

 

The eleventh edition of the North Downs Way 50 is right around the corner. Kicking off from 0700 on Saturday 21st May, below is a list of the possible front runners in the womens and mens events. A field of 300 is expected to start this one, with the ambition as ever, of making it to the finish under 13 hours. 

WOMEN

Sarah Hill: Our 2021 SDW50 champion, Sarah has a raft of wins behind her on the ultra scene including Race to the Stones, The Druids Challenge and the Fox Ultra. Earlier this year she was 7th at the SDW50 but only because of a time penalty she received along with a group of runners who accidentally took the wrong turn resulting in an unintential course cut. It will be great to see her back racing here to make amends for that and get a result she deserves.

Amy-Jo Clarke: Three ultras and three wins in 2021 including Race to the Stones, The Fox Ultra and Endurancelife's CTS Exmoor.

Nicola Soraghan: Won our 2021 Wendover Woods Night 50km. Went on to finish sixth at UTS 50km and third at the Ecotrail Wicklow 80km later that year. 

Nicola Soraghan

Kat Short: Third at the SDW50 this year after beating fourth by literally a few metres. Has also taken a fourth at Chiltern Wonderland 50 in the past, though a while ago.

Rachel Lindley: Some very solid runs of late with a fith at the Arc 50 and a sixth at the SDW50 already in 2022. Finished ninth at this race in 2021.

Dawn Godwin: Has twice run 3 hours dead for a marathon but this looks to be her first ultra.

 

MEN

Ed Knudsen: Possibly the favourite coming in to this. He has been second here before in 6:50, just 4 minutes behind Stuart Leaney. Previous winner of the Chiltern Wonderland 50 in a superb 6:34, he has also taken second at that race another time as well as second at the SDW50 in 6:18. He's had a strong start to the year with a second at Country to Capital in a steady 5:17. 

Ed Knudsen

Luke Davies: This years SDW50 champion in 6:49:10.

Daniel Weller: Daniel is off to quite the start in 2022 with a win at the Lakes Traverse and a second at the North Downs Ridge 50km just a fortnight ago. Has previously won the Grand Tour of Skiddaw and the Beacons 50 amongst others. 

Ben Gibbon: Winner of the Fox Ultra in 2020 an 2022. Regular sub 2:30 marathoner.

Ed Fisher: Third at the 2016 Autumn 100. Several other podium positions at shorter ultras to his name in the UK. Has also raced some longer stuff including UTMB and Western States.

Oliver Knowles: Winner 2021 Eden Valley Ultra Trail. 1:15 Half Marathon.

Samuel Anderson: A good number of consistent top ten finishes to his name. Stand outs a 4th at the WW50 in 2021 and 4th at the CW50 in 2020.

Andrew Classey: 5th at the 2021 Wendover Woods 50. Won the Hangman Ultra earlier that year.

John Borton: 2:33 Marathon at London in 2021. No ultras to his name.

Follow the race live via our tracking page which will be available here from 0700 on Saturday 21st May 2022.

3 May 22 by James Elson

TP100 2022 Preview

The eleventh edition of the Thames Path 100 is upon us. A stunning, incredibly flat journey from London to Oxford along the banks of the Thames awaits 300 eager (some of them!) starters and we can't wait to kick off our trail 100 season in great style. 

The mens course record fell a long way last year with Richard Mcdowell posting a 13:43. The womens still stands at 16 hours flat, run by none other than Sam Amend who set a new British 100 mile womens record at our Track 100 less than a fortnight ago. 

The womens field this time looks particurlarly interesting with a lot of potentially competitive athletes. The mens looks much more open.

One thing is for sure, the course is in fast condition, with very little rain to speak of lately and a largely dry forecast between now and race day. Here are some of the likely contenders for the overall positions.

WOMEN

Ingrid Lid: Ingrid was second here in 2019 in a time of 17:34. One of our past NDW100 champions, the Norwegian athlete has taken things to the next level over the past six months, lowering her 100 mile PB to 15:10 at the Bislett 24hr and running home the winner of the Bergen Ultra 100km just a month ago. 

Ali Young: Stalwart of the GB 24hr team, Ali racked up a 100 mile PB at our Track 100 last year running 15:41 for a new National Age Group record. She can run the trails too however and crucially, bearing in mind the profile of this race, won the GUCR in a solid 28:35 in 2019.

Ali Young at the 2021 Track 100

Zoe Murphy: Winner of our 2020 Autumn 100 in 18:23. A memorable run that day and one she will no doubt be keen to repeat!

Zoe Murphy - 2020 A100 Champion

Sarah Morwood: Has won no less than eight of our races including this event back in 2014. Has represented GB on the Trails and in the 24hr format and has a 100 mile PB of 16:13 putting her in rarified company on the all-time list. It is great to have her back racing after recovering from her car accident and operation in recent years. 

Ally Whitlock: Ally ran home fourth at the 2021 SDW100 having previously also finished fourth in the 50 two months prior.

Anna Brown: Third at Race to the Stones in 2021. 19:10 for second at the Robin Hood 100 in 2020 and went on to win Gloucester 24hr later that year with a 100 mile split of 19:30 along the way.

 

MEN

Tristan Stephenson: Shot to fame earlier this year when he nailed the Arc of Attrition in a stellar 20:01. If it hadn't been for one Mark Darbyshire the course record would have been his. Has several other wins behind him on the ultra circuit including the Serpent Trail 100km and the South West Traverse.

Ed Catmur: Ed has featured on probably more pre race previews than anyone else. He has finished no less than 24 of our 100s, so many of them podium places and wins. He was champion here in 2014. He showed in 2020 that he still has it, with a second at the A100 in a 100 mile PB of 15:38. This year he has already taken a solid third at the Lakes Traverse.

Ed Catmur

Julian Cazorla: Sixth here last year in 16:18, before going on to a prolific year of racing with second place at the Beacons 50, SVP 100km and our CW50. He then placed third in the Autumn 100 in a storming 15:02. 

Kallum Pritchard: Won the Robin Hood 100 in 2021 in 15:39, suggesting this race could be right up his street.

Matt Gallagher: Ran 16:21 here in 2021 for seventh. Several other top ten performances in shorter ultras preceeded that.

Ash Varley: Second at the NDW100 in 2020, Ash has more recently posted a top ten at the Autumn 100 and started the year well with a seventh at the SDW50 in a little over 7 hours.

Tom Kingham: 2021 Race to the Tower winner and then went on to a solid seventh at the NDW100 later that summer.

Craig Purle: Led our Chiltern Wonderland 50 for 50km last year before a big detour lost him all of his lead and more. Had finished second at Wendover Woods Night 50km in an excellent run, the previous July.

Daniel Moloney: 19:07 here in 2019. Third at Wendover Woods 50 in 2021 and fourth at the Arc 50 in January of this year.

 

As always you can follow the race live via our live tracking page which will be available here from 0930 this Saturday. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers who will make this weekend possible.

For 2023, there will be one new event in our calendar and one significant date change to be aware of. 

The 2023 season will start with the Hundred Hills 50km on March 18th and all regular race weekends will remain as they are, with the exception of Wendover Woods 50. 

After traditionally closing our season in November, we are bringing the Wendover Woods 50 into July, to run on the same weekend as the Wendover Woods 50km and, back for 2023, the Wendover Woods 100 mile.

The major impact here is on the 50 Mile Grand Slammers who will go to racing in April, May, July and September instead of April, May, September and November. Whilst that brings the calendar into a tighter period, there is still a good space between the NDW50, WW50 and the CW50. With changes to Foresty England policies we needed to combine the events into the one weekend. We are hopeful this will make for an incredible atmosphere over the July weekend. 

The below calendar is provisional except where listed as confirmed:

  • 18th March 2023: Hundred Hills 50km Confirmed
  • 8th April 2023: South Downs Way 50 Confirmed
  • 22nd April 2023: Track 100 Confirmed
  • 6th-7th May 2023: Thames Path 100 Confirmed
  • 20th May 2023: North Downs Way 50 Confirmed
  • 10th-11th June 2023: South Downs Way 100 Confirmed
  • 7th-9th July 2023: Wendover Woods 100/ 50 Mile and Night 50km Confirmed
  • 5th-6th August 2023: North Downs Way 100
  • 16th September 2023: Chiltern Wonderland 50
  • 14th-15th October 2023: Autumn 100

For 2023 our entry fees have risen to £105 for the 50 milers and £215 for the 100 milers.

The cost of organising events has shot up an incredible amount since the end of last season. Quite simply, we need to raise prices to maintain our team and the level of event we put on. Every aspect of the events have been subject to price rises. From the fuel, to the medical cover, to landlord charges, awards, food - everything has gone up, in most cases way in excess of the 10% rise.

We know this might come as a blow because these races are not cheap to enter. There is of course always the option of volunteering at any given race, to earn a free entry for that event the following year. It has always been the best way to get the most out of the sport - help others, learn about the events and come back and run them with that extra knowledge and experience.

Within entry fees for 2022 and beyond, we will also be offering all runners free on course photograpy, adding some extra value in. 

Thank you to all of you for your continued support. We will never take it for granted.

14 Apr 22 by James Elson

Track 100 2022 Preview

 

We are delighted to announce a starting field of 18 elite athletes for the third edition of our Track 100 Mile. With splits being taken at 50km, 50 mile, 100km, 6hr, 12hr and 100 mile, we expect to see a raft of national and international records go. With the right conditions several World Records are under threat with the calibre of the field. After the success of 2021 where new Mens World 100 mile and 12hr records were set along with 12 other National Open and Age Group Bests.

WOMEN

Camille Herron: 

Camille has list of accolades that is simply too long to do justice to her here. She is the current 100 mile, 12hr and 24hr World Record Holder. Former 50km and 100km World Champion. Camille's vein of form is richer now than ever before. Having turned 40 in December she has already established new age group marks on her way to a new 100 mile world record at the Jackpot 100 in February. Camille will be focused on setting new best World 12hr and 100 mile marks here along with a raft of new Age Group and Overall US marks.

Camille Herron

Dominika Stelmach:

Dominika is the European 100km record holder, with the fourth fastest womens 100km of all-time. Second on the all-time list for 6 hours. Tenth on the all-time list for 50km. Her 2022 has already seen a second at the highly competitive Black Canyons 100km on the trail. Dominika is focused on 6hr and 12hr World Records here.

Dominika Stelmach

Samantha Amend:

Sam ran a new British 100 mile record at this event last year of 14:34:03. She has earned international vests at the 50km, 100km and 24hr formats. Previous 100km British Champion she ran her way back on to the British Team for 2022 with a 7:48 for second at the ACP in Perth at the start of April.

Sam Amend running a new GB Record at last years event (photo: Steve Ashworth)

Jo Zakrzewski:

Previous British 100km Champion, with a best of 7:31 for that distance (fourth all-time GB). A 24hr best of 236.561km (sixth all-time GB) which saw her clock a 14:47 100 mile split on route. Jo has achieved incredible success over every distance and terrain type. 

Cat Simpson:

Team GB 24hr runner and one of our Centurion Ultra Team, Cat has a PB of 221.435km over that format, where she recorded a 15:34 100 mile split on the way. 

Cat Simpson (Photo: Norbert Mihalik)

Eloise Eccles:

Eloise ran 214.4km at Gloucester last year, which included a 16:48 100 mile split.

Johanna Oregan:

Jo is a 2:41 Marathoner with that best mark set in 2020.

 

WHEELCHAIR

Claudia Burrough:

Claudia will be aiming for a new World 100 mile Wheelchair record here. As far as records go there are no recorded British marks over this distance at all and from the US the best global mark appears to be in excess of two days. Claudia races all distance and terrain types and in 2020, covered 100 miles in 15:20 on her way to winning our virtual 100 mile One Community event.

 

MEN

Aleksandr Sorokin:

Aleksandr 'Sania' Sorokin set new 100 mile and 12 hour World Records at this event last year. He has since gone on to better his 11:14, with a 10:51:39 100 mile split in Israel and lifted his 12 Hour Record to 177.41km at the same time. In 2021 he also ran possibly his greatest ever race, clocking 309.400km for 24 hours in Poland, breaking the 'unbreakable' record of Yiannis Yourous. This time he will focus on the 100km distance. 

Aleksandr Sorokin at last years Track 100 (photo: Steve Ashworth)

Mark Innocenti:

Ran 12:34 to finish second to Aleksandr at this race in 2021. Represented England at the ACP just two weeks ago and ran 7:00 for eighth so may aim for a shorter distance mark, this time.

Mark Innocenti, Front (Photo Steve Ashworth)

James Stewart

Team GB 24hr team regular James has had a run of very consistent results at that format over the last 6 years, with a PB of 258km. Has represented Scotland over 100km with a PB of 7:25. He has also won Rocky Raccoon 100 in 13:39 as well as the WHW Race.

Alex Whearity

24hr PB of 257km set at Crawley in 2021, which he followed up with a superb 23:25 win at the GUCR 145 just 7 weeks later.

Mike Stocks

24hr PB of 249.15km and a 100 mile best of 14:17, split in that event in Tooting. Past winner of the TP100 and third at British 100km champs in 2018.

Mike Stocks (Photo Steve Ashworth)

Peter Windross

A 100 mile PB of 13:59 set on the trails (unratified as a result) at the Autumn 100 in 2021. 24hr PB of 231km on the track and 15:15 for 100 miles. Will be looking for V50 British records.

Peter Windross (Photo Stuart March Photography)

Alastair Higgins

Fourth at Spartathlon in 2019. Twice winner of Belfast to Dublin Ultra. 

Ian Hammett

TP100 winner in 2019 in 14:36. 100 mile track PB 14:54 at Gloucester in 2021.

Peter Abraham

24hr PB of 231km and a 100 mile best of 14:37, split in that event in Tooting 2021 where he won the race.

Thomas Lepers

100km PB of 7:24. Ran 7:36 at the French 100km Championships in 2021.

6 Apr 22 by James Elson

SDW50 2022 Preview

Our 2022 season opener is here, the tenth edition of what has always been one of our most popular events - the South Downs Way 50.

Both of our mens and womens fastest 50 mile times have been set on this course. Tom Evans' 5:44 from 2018 and Julia Davis' 6:54 from 2019 stand as the times to beat. There is good reason to believe one or both could be under threat from the high calibre field who toe the line this coming Saturday.

Live Tracking is available here and the Leaderboard will update live through every checkpoint here

Here's a quick snap shot of the likely key conetenders for the overall wins.

WOMEN

Anna-Marie Watson: The La Sportiva athlete has been one of the most successful British runners on the world stage over the last several years. She has finished Top Ten regularly at headline international events such as UTMB, Laveredo, TGC, Grand Trail Courmayeur, MDS (twice). On home soil she has won events on the SDW before and knows the trail.

Bethan Male: Bethan led the way at the Autumn 100 last October for the first 100km on a blistering pace before injury stopped her in her tracks. There is so much more to come over the longer stuff from her, this one being a stepping stone towards the SDW100 in June. Her biggest wins in the past have been against very large fields at both Lakeland 50 and the Beacons Ultra.

Bethan Male

Laura Swanton-Rouvelin: Laura has been one of the most consistent performers at events of all distances in recent years. Her list of accolades is long. Starting out in 2017 she went long quickly and won our Grand Slam in 2018 with 4 stellar races, three podium finishes culminated in a win at the Autumn 100. Since then she has gone on to set the course record at our Chiltern Wonderland 50, won the Arc of Attrition and the Ridgeway amongst others. She raced Bethan over a 100km on the SDW last June and Bethan came out on top so it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds this time - especially as Laura finished the Spine this past January!

Sarah Hill: Last years winner here she has quite the run of ultra victories including Race to the Stones and the Fox Ultra twice. Her time of 8:45 from last year will need to move up significantly one would think if she is to retain her crown.

Sarah Hill on her way to winning the SDW50 in 2021

Claire Kanja: Claire finished second at both the Wendover Woods Night 50km and 50 mile in 2021. That followed a second at the Autumn 100 in 2020 - her third consecutive top ten there. Another younger runner like Bethan with a bright future ahead. 

Rose Penfold: With a 2:48 marathon PB and an 82 minute Half at Cambridge earlier this year, on paper she is as fast as any other lady in the field and that could make for very interesting racing on a course as fast and runnable as this.

Liz Steward: Previous winner at Portsmouth Coastal 50km, CTS Dorset and the Druids Challenge. 

Gemma Buley: Has a 2:59 marathon PB and a couple of top tens in 50 mile ultras including the CW50 and NDW50.

MEN

Harry Jones: The stand out athlete in the field by quite a stretch. The GB international has finished on the podium at many of the worlds leading ultras. With top ten finishes at TGC, Tarawera, CCC, Eiger Ultra Trail, Ultra Trail Australia and many more besides. 

Lyndon Cooper: Lyndon took second at the 2021 NDW50 in 7:10 Previously also fourth at the Ridgeway Challenge and SVP 100km and fifth at Wendover Woods 50. Has a range of other UK ultra wins and podiums over recent years.

Seb Betouret: Our 2021 Wendover Woods 100 champion. A prolific racer this is likely a bit short and a bit flat for him to be competitive at the very top.

Jack Oates: 3:01 at Stort 30 and wins at a couple of other 50km events. 

Luke Davis: 11th here in 2021 in 7:18. 2:33 marathon suggests he could go a lot quicker.

Andrea Fraquelli: Ran a 2:29 at London last year. He also finished second at the Lea Valley 50km in 3:16 and sixth at the Serpentr Trail 50km.

John Stoddart: Second at the Steyning Stinger last month and a strong marathon pedigree.

Tom Ridsdale: Winner of the 2020 Thames Trot in 6:11. 2:39 marathon from the same year.

Nick Williams: Has done well at CTS events in the past with a win at the Gower Ultra. In 2022 he has already scored a third at the South Devon event.

Stuart Farmer: 2:33 marathoner run at London last autumn but has only a few ultras to his name.

Stephen Peck: 2:40 marathon, looks like his first ultra.

We are shocked and saddened beyond words, at what we are currently witnessing with regards to the unprovoked and unprecedented attack by Russia on Ukraine. It is so hard to know what action to take. We all feel helpless. But also because action punishes individuals who want nothing to do with Putin’s regime.

Nevertheless take a stand we must, silence will not solve this problem.

As a result we have taken the decision to prevent any Russian or Belarussian athletes from running in our events under their national flags, they may compete as neutrals only. Entry fees from Russian and Belarussian athletes will be donated in full to Unicef’s fund for the children of Ukraine. In addition, all of the money taken from food and drinks sales at all of our events will go directly to the same fund.

Sport should unite not divide. But we have to unanimously send the message to Russia and Belarus that this war will not stand.

Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine.