Downland Devil 9


Location: Coombes Farm, Steyning, BN15 0RS
Date: Sunday 1st December 2019
Time: 10:00

I entered this race on a whim a few days ago (it’s amazing what you can find to do when you’re meant to be revising for an exam). It sounded attractive because of the long sweeping hills of the South Downs which are challenging without being too muddy plus the promise of beautiful views.

Amanda and I arrived in good time and after parking in a slightly slippery field went to collect our race numbers. Race HQ was in a corrugated tin building whose interior decor surprised us until we realised it was a wedding/ party venue! The smell of cooking bacon was distracting (to a vegetarian and a vegan!).

Some 350 runners lined up at the start then we were off. The first quarter of a mile was steep enough that I was already wondering if it might have been a mistake to enter this race. Once at the top of the hill the gradient levelled off and there was an opportunity to recover and settle into a comfortable pace. We skirted the top of the hill and curved round and down. Before we’d run 4 miles we ascended another incline (okay, a hill) and were rewarded at the top with stunning views across the Downs!

The next rewarding view came a while later where the sea could be seen in its shimmering glory in the winter sun. More recovery in a downhill section then gradually up for some time. The route eventually rejoined a section we’d already covered in the opposite direction. Finally it was time to climb again, approximately one mile to the top of the hill then a fabulous smooth decent to the finish. I was thrilled I managed to overtake someone in a sprint finish. Hooray!

The distance on my Garmin was shy of 9 miles but I think the race was good value for money with all those hills. What fun!

Louise Hazelton 1.20.58
Amanda Smith 1.24.42