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: 


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. 



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.