A quick race report by David Barket
I’d entered this as I wanted a long hilly run as part of my training for my ultramarathons later in the year. There were three races (10k, 10 Mile and Marathon), all starting at 9am and heading on the same trail route south from the University campus in Falmer. After a 10 mile loop over some steep hills, we headed back towards the start, and across the A27 at Housedean Farm, for an out and back stretch on the South Downs Way, over Ditchling Beacon and beyond to the turn around point at the Clayton Windmills (Jack & Jill). For the first few miles it was hard working out who was competing in which race, but once we got on to the downs it became much clearer. At the turn around (mile 17), I realised the group I was running with were competing for 3rd place. At that point my mindset switched from “long hilly training session” to “competitive racer”. The friendly banter ended, and I picked up the pace for a couple of miles to break free from group. On the long run back down to Housedean Farm I checked over my shoulder a couple of times, but couldn’t see anyone, and figured I probably had a two minute lead going into the final 2 miles – one more big climb before a fast downhill finish.
I’m still not sure of the official results (not yet published), but my Garmin time was 3:48:33, and I finished in 3rd place, and quite some time after 1st and 2nd, who I had seen running back almost a mile before I turned.
It was a great race, well organised and beautiful to run in the sunshine on the Downs, despite the cold wind. It was certainly a tough route, but possibly not quite as steep as the Beachy Head Marathon.