On Saturday 27th May I competed in The Fox ultra – a 60 km circular route around Guildford. The course starts (and finishes) at Godalming and follows the Fox Way which is, for the most part, very scenic. About 30% of the route is on road, which may explain why my legs were so sore at the end. I got round the course in 6:43:52 (11th woman and 72 overall out of 224). It was a well organised event and the course was well signed. There were some very swift times at the sharp end of the field.
Then on Saturday 4th May I ran the Devil’s Challenge. When I entered this event I didn’t take account of the fact that it the two events were on consecutive weekends! The Devil’s Challenge is put on by XNRG and is a three-day, 97 mile ultra marathon along the South Downs Way, passing the legendary Devil’s Dyke valley – hence the name of the event.
The race starts in Winchester and the route heads south east through the South Downs National Park, finishing in Eastbourne on the third day. It is possible to enter the whole weekend event or just to run individual days. The route is easy to follow as the SDW is well signed and XNRG put out their own signs in all the tricky areas.
The event coincided with the Three Forts Marathon on Sunday, which was quite fun as competitors were running in opposite directions to one another. Although not fun for the two leading men who somehow managed to get confused and ended up running an additional 4 miles! They still managed to finish in the top 10!
The event was brilliantly organised. Everything was done for you – all one had to do was run! The only drawback was sleeping in the school hall with almost 100 other people! I don’t think I’ve ever suffered having to listen to such resonant snoring as I heard each night!
Even so I managed to complete all three days (31, 35 and 31 miles respectively) in an accumulative time of 18:30:01 (7th woman and 24th overall). Interestingly 49% of the field were women.
All in all a great weekend – although my legs are slightly stiff today! The weather was perfect – not too warm but sunny enough to show off the Downs in all their glory.