The South Downs Way 100 returns for the thirteenth edition over the weekend of 8th-9th June 2024. 100 miles of incredible trails with 13,000 feet of climb and descent, the route traverses the South Downs Way National Trail from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east. Runners have 30 hours to complete the route. With 13 check points along the way, a marked course, drop bags at 54 and 76 miles as well as crew and pacers, this is the perfect opportunity for runners looking to take their first step into the world of 100 milers, or for those looking to run fast.

 

A historic race on a historic trail

Established in 2010, The South Downs are the UK’s newest National Park and runners are treated to one of the jewels of Southern England. But the history of the South Downs Way goes back very much farther. Humans have been using the tracks that have been linked to form todays SDW trail for over 8000 years, as its elevation made it a safer and drier route than the wetter lowlands. The trail is dotted with Iron Age forts such as Old Winchester Hill and Cissbury Ring. Ditchling Beacon, mile 72 in the race, is one of the most famous hills on the trail and was used to warn Queen Elizabeth I of the Spanish Armada that could be seen sailing up the English Channel.

The South Downs Way 100 is the third generation of point to point racing on the South Downs Way. One of 16 National Trails across the UK, the SDW was the fifth to be established in 1972. Originally starting in Buriton, the SDW was 80 miles long and between 1983 and 1997, the South Downs 80 was held over 14 Editions. It stood as one of the worlds premier ultra distance trail events and acted as the World Trail Championships from 1990 to 1997. In 1987 the route was extended to 100 miles and that is the route the race uses to this day. After the hiatus from the South Downs 80, the SDW100 was established in 2012 after two years running in the opposite direction and has remained one of the most important races on the UK ultra calendar since.

2024 and the GranCanaria World Trail Majors

500 runners from 25 countries will toe the line on what will be the fifth stop of the Gran Canaria World Trail Majors Series. The race has always attracted the best of British trail and ultrarunners, but with a new partnership through the World Trail Majors the race opens up to a global audience for the first  time. 

In its current entity, the race began in 2012 with a field of just 162 starters, but has grown organically and sustainably over the intervening period to sit at the top of the UK tree in the top three field sizes for UK 100 mile races, every year. 

In 2014 an astonishing run from Mark Perkins set a mens course record of 14:03, a time which hasn’t been bettered since. At that time, Mark was at the Vanguard of the UK scene running 12 hours for 100 miles on the track and 13 hours for the win at Berlin 100, before 14 hours here put him on an untouchable pedestal. In fact nobody has come with 25 minutes of Mark’s time since. 

The women’s course record was initially owned by Jean Beaumont in 16:56, a kiwi runner who had had a lot of success on more mountainous 100 milers. That stood until 2022 when Bethan Male lowered it to 16:49 in what remains the course record today.

The 2024 Race

A deep field is expected across both the women's and men's events. 

WOMEN 

Nicole Bitter: US based runner, Nicole is a multiple time top ten finisher at Western States, three times a winner at Rocky Raccoon 100 with a best of 14:22. Winner of the Black Canyons 100km. In 2024 she has won three races already including Rocky Raccoon 50. 

Karen Benway: Another US based runner, Karen was third at Quebec Mega Trail in 2022, one of our partner races in the WTM series. She has three top ten finishes at the competitive Vermont 100 miler to her name, was fifth at Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile in 2023 and has a host of other top ten and podium finishes at US ultras to her name including a fourth at JFK50. 

Cat Simpson: Second at this race last year and a two time finisher of this race, GB 24hr team runner and Centurion Ultra Team meber Cat has a string of accolades to her name including a win at GUCR, fifth at Spartatlon and a 100 mile PB of 15:34 set at Crawley 24hr.

Cat Simpson on her way to second place in 2023

Alex Coomber: Ex-Olympian Alex, has a second place the SDW50 to her name and was eighth at the same race in April of this year. In recent years has picked up podium spots at Serpent Trail 50km and 100km as well as at the Testway Ultra.

Sophie Bennett: Second at the Winter Downs 200 in December of last year. Sophie was fifth at UTMR 100km and at Wendover Woods 100 last year. This year she's already picked up the win at the Bruniquel 24hr in France.

Anna Drake: Second at the Jurassic Coast 100 mile in 2023 as well as the Dartmoor Way Granite 50 and East Devon Round. Two ultras so far in 2024 including a first and a fourth place.

In the hunt for top ten: Becky Pearson, Louise Langmead, Becky Langmead, Jessica Dicks.

MEN

Dan Lawson: Dan most recently finished second at the South Downs Way 50, a race he led until a couple of k's from the finish. Our Centurion Ultra Team runner has been one of the leading lights in the sport for a very long time. Dan's back catalogue is simply too long to go into here, highlights include but are not limited to at least half a dozen Team GB 24hr vests where he has performed brilliantly and more consistently than any other including a European Champs gold in 2016. GUCR record holder. World V50 100 mile record holder with a 12:37 at our track 100 in 2023. Winner of Ultrabalaton, Ultra Trail Gobi, third at Badwater, second at Spartathlon the list just goes on and on.

Jez Bragg: A past winner of UTMB and a best of third at Western States, Jez was at the pinnacle of the sport globally for many years and has one of the deepest running CV's today. He raced for GB on both the road and the trails and really excelled across a variety of distances and terrain types. In the last few years work and family have taken priority but it truly is an honour to have him making a longer run come back here. 

Geoff Cheshire: Geoff has been a stones throw from nailing this race twice - coming unstuck literally in the final few miles, and he is hungry to get it right this third time.  Geoff is course record holder at the Autumn 100 where he ran 13:58 in October. He also won the Thames Path 100 last year in 14:18 in what was arguably a better run. The Chiltern Wonderland 50 champion has kicked off 2024 well with a solid win at the Chiltern Ridge Ultra - this will be the one he wants to get right most.

Rob Payne: Team GB 24hr runner Rob has been very succesful with us down the years. 2023 Wendover Woods 50 Champion, his best year with us was 2019 where he won the NDW50 and finished second at both the NDW100 and WW50. Ran 7:11 for 100km at the ACP in March so is on form.

James Turner: 6:34 for 100km and second at the ACP in March, a sensational start to 2024 for James. On the trails he has placed well at other events on the South Downs from Marathon through to 100km. 

Matt Hammerton: Third in 2022 and eighth in 2023 at UTS50km, course record holder at Wendover Night 50km - this is longer than he's used to but he has serious speed over technical and mountainous terrain. Will it convert here....

Dave Phillips: Dave is fresh off of the back of a win at the Northern Traverse (190 mile) in April. Winner of the Summer Spine in 2023 in 77 hours. Dave also holds the FKT for the South West Coast Path and made the podium at the Arc of Attrition in 2022 and finished fourth in 2023. 

Sam Skinner: Sam finished second at our Winter Downs 200 in December. The SDW is his back yard and he knows the area well. Previous top ten finisher at Lakeland 100, the Arc of Attrition and at the Dragons Back - he has recently finished ninth at UTS 100km. 

Peter Windross: Champion in 2021, Pete has also won the Autumn 100 and Thames Path 100, a race he finished fourth at just a few weeks ago, once again. Four time Grand Slam finisher, Peter is one of our most decorated runners both in terms of finishes but more so top tens, podiums and wins. 

In the hunt for Top Ten: James Whetman, Matthew John, Stuart Ross, Jacob James, Joe Ackerley, Jamie Pugh, Michael O'Neill, Simon Withers, Andrew Churchill, Pere Capdevila. 

LEGENDS RETURN

Toeing the line at this thirteenth edition of the race are two true legends of the sport.

Ken Fancett is gunning for his 102nd, 100 mile finish. He has finished our Grand Slam of 100s, 9 times and is on route to number 10, has 44 x 100 mile finishes with us to his name and this will be his tenth South Downs Way 100 and he will go home with the 1000 mile buckle at the finish. A reminder that Ken is 75 years young.

Elaine Battson became the first person to complete ten editions of the South Downs Way 100, in 2023 and earned her 1000 mile buckle there. She will be going for eleventh finish at this event. 

How to follow the South Downs Way 100

We will for the first time, have a live broadcast across the entire event. You can follow all the action via the live stream as well as on social media and live tracking.

9 May 24 by James Elson

NDW50 2024 Preview

The thirteenth Edition of the North Downs Way 50 kicks off this coming Saturday 18th May over two starting waves - with all of the leading contenders heading off in Wave 1. The field on both the mens and womens sides this time is as deep as we've seen before and we are excited to see some fast racing. 

Holly Stables' womens course record of 7:11 from all the way back in 2016 has only ever looked troubled by one athlete and that was Beth Pascall. Can someone finally give it a shot?

In the mens, we saw a new record of 6:33 from Jose Rodriguez last year but that looks under serious threat this time.  

Follow the race live from 0700 on race day via the link here. On to the likely leading contenders: 

WOMEN

We welcome back first, second and third place from this years SDW50 in round two of what was a highly competitive, close race. Made interesting by cast of other potential candidates for the top places.

Michelle Attridge: This years South Downs Way 50 Champion is back for round two of the Grand Slam.

Michelle Attridge

Helen Moss: Second at this years SDW50 just behind Miranda, in 7:53. Lots of other prior top tens at shorter ultras to her name. 

Ally Whitlock: Third at this years SDW50, also third at the Winter Downs 200 last December. Other top ten finishes in recent years include the Autumn 100, Thames Path 100, South Downs Way 100, Wendover Woods 100, Spine Summer Sprint and the Arc 50.

Natalie Taylor: Natalie has had a long ultra career spanning back to 2012, with some fine results at races a lot tougher than this. Stand outs including wins at both the Arc of Attrition and Arc 50, Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (Stage Race) and a second at both Glencoe Skyline and Ultra Trail Great Britain 215 mile. A huge spread of distances and terrain types.

Michelle White: The only downside for Michelle is how short this race is! Last year she won Leeds to Liverpool Canal 130 mile, the Kennett and Avon Canal Race as well as placing third at Grand Union. 100 mile best of 18:24 at Gloucester 24hr.

Sharon Walker: Third at the TP100 last year, previous podium finisher at both Race to the Tower and Race to the King. Ran sub 3 hours at Brighton Marathon last year.

Vicki Balfour: Fourth at the Arc 50 last January, previously also a podium finisher at SDW50 and seventh at Wendover Woods 50. 

 

MEN

Alastair Courtney: Winner of this years South Downs Way 50 after a close fought battle with Dan Lawson. That followed a third place at the Hundred Hills 50km in the lead up. 

Patrick Wightman: Second here last year in 6:42, bettering his 7:23 from 2018.

Paul Russhard: Four time finisher of this race with a best of second and a best time of 7:01. Chiltern Wonderland winner in 2022, his first win with us having featured in the top ten of so many of our events over the years.

Paul Russhard on his way to winning CW50 in 2022

Guy Hudson: Third at this years SDW50, a race he has finished third at before - but he is improving. With a sub 6 hour 50 mile at Crawley last year and a few other wins to his name, he should go well here again. 

Ben Parkes: Ben is one of running's biggest YouTube superstars and for those interested in learning about how great the London Marathon, his video here really is one of the best. His pace is quick on the roads, with a marathon PB of 2:25. His ultra background includes a win at the South Downs Way 50 in 2019, can he claim the title of the other Downs 50. 

Pierre Meslet: A superb sixth at the 2023 Marathon Des Sables bettering his ninth there from a couple of years prior. Pierre's other top results include a third at Wendover Woods 50, Second at the RAT 100km just ahead of Johnny Hesnan featured below. 

Marius Posa: Third at the SDW50 last year in 6:43.

Brady Poskin: Winner of the 2023 Tahoe Rim 50 and 3 Days of Syllamo Stage Race. Lots of ultra experience over a range of distances. Stand out results aplenty, with past wins at Badwater Salton Sea and Quad Rock 50 amongst others.

Johnny Hesnan: Third at the Roseland August Trail 100km last August, also took the win at the EnduranceLife Gower Ultra last year. 

In the Hunt for Top Ten: Andrew Collin, Oliver Knowles.

28 Apr 24 by James Elson

Thames Path 100 2024 Preview

The thirteenth edition of the Thames Path 100 kicks off this coming Saturday 4th May at 0900. After one of the wettest winters on record, the path has been muddy or literally under water for vast periods over the preceeding months but has just begun to clear up - with a dry week ahead we look forward to good conditions on race day. At least, not a weather event as has been the case the last several years! The runners do have to contend with a few miles of added diversions due to structural issues with bridges at points along the course - we have made provision for that by adding an extra hour to the cut offs from Hurley onwards. But the race at the front of both the womens and mens fields are exciting and the potential for fast times is still very much there.

WOMEN

Chavet Hills: Her second time racing with us, after she finished the 2023 Track 100 in 16:58. Based in the US, Chavet has had great success at the flatter longer ultras so this race should suit her. Amongst many other solid performances she's clocked up a second at Daytona 100 in 16:46, wins at Prairie Spirit, Pony Express and Nanny Goat 100s and has a couple of solid finishes at Badwater to her name.

Chavet Hills

Anna Brown: Anna set out to run the Grand Slam in 2022, but fell ill in the lead up to the TP100. She went on to finish 11th at the SDW100, 2nd at the NDW100 and 4th at the Autumn 100 - she then ran a solo TP to complete the set, but is back this time to complete the race officially!. Last year she finished a strong 3rd at the Battersea Self-Transcendence 24 hour with an 18:28 100 mile split. 

Anna Brown

Jette Anders: The German runner won the Wesbergland Backyard Ultra last year and took three other podiums at distances ranging from 50km to 40 hour multi-stage events. Has raced once in the UK before with a 7th at Hardmoors 110 a few year back.

Victoria Henderson: Fifth at the WD200 in 2023, Victoria has previous top ten finishes with us at the A100, WW Night 50km and in 2019 won the Testway Ultra.

In the Hunt for Top Ten: Stephanie Innes-Smith, Natalia Fokina, Kasia Atmaca, Rachel Vernon.

 

MEN

Mark Innocenti: Second at our Track 100 in 2021 in 12:34, previous winner of the Autumn 100 in 14:44, with a 50km PB of 3:02. Mark is strong at all distances, winning local 10ks and upwards all the way to multi-day events and a long flat event like this is right in his wheelhouse.

Mark Innocenti

Kallum Pritchard: A really strong start to the year for Kallum who won Country to Capital, finished runner up to Mark Darbyshire at our Hundred Hills 50km and then finished first at Manchester to Liverpool 50 mile in 5:39. He does have 100 mile experience too with a 15:39 win at Robin Hood 100 in 2021.

Peter Windross: Four time Grand Slam finisher, winner of this event back in 2018 in 15:49. Peter is one of our most decorated runners both in terms of finishes but more so top tens, podiums and wins. This race would be his 25th 100 with us and 7th TP100. 

Adam Kimble: Great to see another strong American runner, this time on the mens side. Adam has twice finished 12th at Western States and has been competitive at a range of distances, including some big events. Top 10 at Canyons 100, 5th at Kullamannen 100 and 8th at Leadville all in the last few years. Plenty of wins at shorter distances too.

Matt Gallagher: 7th here in 2021, 4th in 2023 in a time of 15:34, he has also had a 7th at the A100 in 16:34 and a 4th at the NDW100 in recent years. 

Andrew Churchill: 3rd at Winter Downs 200, he also finished in the top 10 at both the A100 and SDW100 in 2023. 

Milan Sumny: 14:52 for 100 miles last year as part of his Venice 24hr race where he finished second, he has twice finished in the top 5 at Spartathlon and was third in 2021 in a sub 24hr time, something that is exceedingly rare over the classic ultra of 153 miles of Greek roads. 

Ben Carrol: Second at Crawley 24hr in 2023 with 248km, this is actually a step down in distance from his seemingly more regular format of 24hr. Also Top Ten at GUCR in 2021.

 

Follow the race live via the website here from 0900 Saturday 4th May, until its conclusion at 1400 on Sunday 5th.

3 Apr 24 by James Elson

SDW50 2024 Race Preview

The 12th Edition of the South Downs Way 50 kicks off Saturday 13th April 2024 at 0830 - with 450 runners making this the biggest field ever at this event. Runners have as usual, 13 hours to make it from Worthing to the track finish at Eastbourne Sports Park - 50 miles across the hills and valleys of the beautiful South Downs National Park. 

Here is a quick look at some of the likely leading contenders for overall positions in both the womens and mens events. Follow the race live via the link here on race morning.

WOMEN

Helen Moss: Was 14th here all the way back in 2016. Since then she has recorded some solid results including lowering her marathon time to 2:59 in 2023. In ultra distance events she's recorded a win at the Downslink Ultra and the Chiltern Challenge 50km, a second at Ultra-X Sri Lanka and fourth at Hurtwood 50km.

Rachel Lindley: Third at the Hundred Hills 50km a few weeks ago with a really strong second half to her race. Sixth at this event in 2022 in 8:10, a year when she finished in the top ten at all of our 50 milers as well as the Arc 50.

Rachel Lindley

Ally Whitlock: Podium finisher at the Winter Downs 200 in December, Wendover Woods 100 2023 and Autumn 100 2022. Best of fourth at the SDW100 and several finishes at this race in the past including a best of fourth place in 2021.

Ally Whitlock

Michelle Attridge: Third at the inaugural Hundred Hills 50km last year. Winner of the North Chilterns 50km in 2023 and second at Round the Rock - 48 miles around Jersey.

Amelia Culshaw: Winner of the Pilgrims Challenge and 7th at the Marathon Des Sables in 2022.

Beth Rainbow: Winner of Round the Rock in 2022, sixth at the MDS in the same year, once place ahead of Amelia! Previously sixth at Wendover Woods 50.

In the Hunt for Top Ten: Kasia Atmaca, Rebecca Lane.

MEN

Dan Lawson: Our team runner finally makes a his debut on home turf here. It's a race that has been calling him for a long time and now he gets to step up! Dan's back catalogue is simply too long to go into here, highlights include but are not limited to at least half a dozen Team GB 24hr vests where he has performed brilliantly and more consistently than any other including a European Champs gold in 2016. GUCR record holder. World V50 100 mile record holder with a 12:37 at our track 100 in 2023. Winner of Ultrabalaton, Ultra Trail Gobi, 3rd at Badwater, 2nd at Spartathlon the list just goes on and on. 

Dan Lawson at the Track 100

Kim Collison: One of the premier British Mountain Runners in recent times steps onto flatter terrain and races with us for the first time. He does it all from short fell races to the super long. His main focus of recent years has been on the Rounds where he's set many records, some of which have been eclipsed and some of which still stand. Lakes 24hr, Munro 24hr, Paddy Buckley, Winter Bob Graham - all his with one of those still standing. Race wise Kim won the Northern Traverse in 2022, Arc of Attrition 100 in 2019. But he's represented GB on the trails too and 80km was/ is right in his wheelhouse as well. Will be great to see what he can do here.

Harry Geddes: 2022 Autumn 100 winner in 14:52. Previously fourth at both the TP100 and A100 in super fast times. This year started with a third at Country to Capital in 5:22.

Harry Geddes

Alastair Courtney: Third at Hundred Hills 50km a few weeks ago against solid competition, he could go very well here.

Guy Hudson: Third here in 2022 in 6:52, last year he ran over 50 miles in 6 hours on the track at Crawley.

In the Hunt for Top Ten: Andrew Born.

11 Mar 24 by James Elson

Hundred Hills 50km 2024 Preview

The 2024 season opener is upon us. The second edition of our Hundred Hills 50km kicks off this Saturday 16th March from 0900. As usual you can follow the race live via the website here - both the timing and tracking pages will be updated in due course. 

We welcome a record field of 500 to Stonor Park for this years' event, which many are hoping will be a little bit drier both overhead and underfoot vs the 2023 event where let's just say things got a bit slippery. 

On to the likely contenders for the top spots in both the womens and mens fields.

WOMEN

Sophie Biggs: Winner of our Chiltern Wonderland 50 in 2022 a year in which she also finished on the podium at the North Downs Way 50. In 2023 she raced ten ultras, eight of them in the UK and finished in the top five in all of them, only slipping outside of that at this event last March where she was sixth.

Sophie Biggs

Rachel Lindley: Fourth at our Wendover Woods Night 50km in 2023, in 2022 Rachel ran our 50 mile Slam and finished in the top six in all four events, including a podium at Chiltern Wonderland 50.

Rachel Lindley

Anna Klucnika: Twice ran under 3 hours for the Marathon last year, at both Chester and Manchester, as well as recording an 81 minute half at Cambridge, making her likely the fastest road runner in the field. It looks like she has just one 50km to her name up at Yorkshire Wolds, a race which she won and in fact beat all of the mens field too.

Victoria Henderson: Fifth at the Winter Downs 200 in December, Victoria goes to the other end of our distance range here! She has previously won the Testway Ultra, finished fifth at Wendover Woods Night 50km and eighth at the Autumn 100. 

In the hunt for top ten: Rebecca Ash, Catherine Hicks.

 

MEN

Centurion Head Coach and Team Runner Robbie Britton is back at a Centurion event for the first time since his win at the South Downs Way 100 in 2013. Prior to that he won our first ever event, the North Downs Way 100 in 2011 and finished second to Craig Holgate at the inaugural TP100, which earned him an England vest from which he has gone on to much international glory. Robbie is probably best known for being the British Mens 24hr Record holder - 277km which he ran in Turin early last year, but his range is what really sets him apart. He has won races all the way from 5km up to 24 hours and has the ability to race well on any surface. With plenty of trail and mountain in his regular racing and training as well as road and track. His 2:57 50km in 2022 makes him the fastest over this distance in the field. 2024 is off to a good start, with a win at the Anderson Trail 46km over a field of 250 at the end of February in Italy, which he now calls home.

Robbie Britton

Mark Darbyshire is another member of the Centurion Ultra Team and is without doubt at the very top of both his game, and the sport in the UK. His most recent outing saw him set another course record at the Arc of Attrition, winning the race by well over an hour in 18:51. He holds the course record at Lakeland 100, the North Downs Way 100 and the 13 Valleys Ultra. But he also dominates at shorter ultras too. Course record holder at Lakes Traverse and the Arc 50 he has won plenty of trail ultras in the marathon to 40 mile range in recent years too. 

Mark Darbyshire on route to another Arc of Attrition win (Photo: David Miller Photography)

Jacob James: Living just a few miles from Centurion HQ in Hertforshire, local speedster Jacob James has picked up plenty of wins, podiums and top tens at events ranging from 5km to 50 miles over the last few years. He has started 2024 well, with a third at the North Downs Ridge 50km. In 2023 he repeated that result, was third at Hurtwood 50km and second at the Maverick Chilterns X ultra on similar ground to this event. Second at the 2022 Chiltern Wonderland 50 has been his best Centurion result.

Kallum Pritchard: A man with real pace over shorter ultras. Winner of Country to Capital this year in 5:01, he also ran a sub 3 hour marathon around Wendover Woods in November 2023 to record a win there. Previous Robin Hood 100 mile champion.

Mark Potts: Possibly too short for Mark by around 200 miles. Mark has had a 6th, 5th and 8th in the last three editions of the Spine Race which is incredibly consistency especially there. He has also had Top 5 finishes at Lakes Traverse, Northern Traverse, Summer Spine, Hardwolds 80 and won the Spine Challenger.

In the hunt for top ten: Centurion Coach Jamie Pugh, David Hanna, Adam Lucas-Lucas, James Whetman, Joachim Hassel, Jason Leaf, Ben Hall, Thomas Wright.