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North Downs Way 100

08-Aug-2019 Farnham, South East, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
161KM / 100Miles
2 Days - 250 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  

This race starts at Farnham and ends at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford and follows the North Downs Way footpath with only two deviations. Total distance is 103 miles.

The route: Farnham, Puttenham, Guildford, Ranmore Common, Box Hill, Reigate Hill, Merstham, Oxted, Knockhold Pound, Wrotham, Holly Hill, Medway Bridget, Detling, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Charing and Ashford.

The route is marked with the national trail marker posts (acorns), barrier tape and Centurion markers.

The cut-off for this event is 30 hours. Partial cut-offs are in place at every checkpoint. There will be 13 fully-stocked checkpoints along the route including drinks and snacks. Checkpoints in the second half of the route will have hot food and drinks. Drop bags are allowed and there will be kit checks of the mandatory kit required throughout the route.
Pacers are permitted from the 50-mile point. Runners may be crewed at the appointed locations only. A medical team will be available throughout the event and at the aid stations.

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Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review North Downs Way 100

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10:19 29-08-17

As with all Centurion events the race information, organisation, support and course marking are second to none. All the volunteers are superb and a real boost when the going gets tough. I personally found the South Downs a much more pleasant route to run. On the NDW you do find yourself running through a few non-descript towns towns and areas and there is also quite a lot of running through wooded areas compared to the relatively open South Downs. That is just preference though and the statistics of this race seem to prove the NDW100 is the tougher challenge.

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07:35 29-08-17

August 2017
My first 100 miler but my 2nd Centurion Running event.
Centurion Running look after you. From the pre event emails right up to as you cross the finish line. You can't go wrong.
Following the North Downs Way from Farnham to Ashford for 102.9 miles the NDW100 is an easy to navigate route and although always good to recce a route beforehand I'd say it's not essential for this one.
As with all Centurion events the aid stations are well stocked with a good selection of foods and also drink including squash, water, cola, and Tailwind. Hot food and drink is also available from halfway onwards.
It's a tough run but very enjoyable and thoroughly recommend it.

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11:32 15-08-17

As usual with all Centurion events, brilliantly organised.
I already wrote a detailed summary of my day: http://blog.ivor.org/2017/08/ndw100.html so I won't go overboard with detail here.
This was my first successful 100 after 5 failed attempts and I was glad I picked this one to finally crack it. With the 6am start the only (very minor) hassle was getting over to the start (my long suffering wife decided the best option was to drive me over the night before) and planning a decent(ish) breakfast (instant porridge).
As far as route goes, navigation is a doddle since the course follows the brilliantly signposted North Downs Way national trail, and the addition Centurion course marking makes it one less thing to worry about.
I won't lie, this is a tough course to run and taking it really steady will pay dividends later in the race as you hit constant steep climbs and descents over and over as you run up and down the downs.
Support, checkpoints and aid stations absolutely brilliant, and good camaradarie from other runners - although I did find myself chatting a lot less than I usually do.
Overall - brilliant event, lovely course. Will do again.

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03:32 12-08-17

I took part in this race in 2017

Probably one of the most friendly races I have done and I think this has to be down to how Centurion run their races. If you volunteer for their races you get a free entry in a race the following year. This is a nice deal, but it also creates a band of past/present volunteers that know each other, support each other and strangers in the race and the obvious one – everybody from the bag check team through to the last checkpoint are also ultra-runners and know how you feel and what you need. I think this alone is probably the No.1 reason I would recommend anyone to run a Centurion race, the support is amazing and the events are very professionally run with a lot of info provided in advance.

Start line is easy to get to by train, though best to stay the night before and set your alarm for at least 04:40 and not 05:40 like I stupidly did (6am start, which was 1km from the hotel!). Most places won’t have breakfast out at this time so plan on bringing your own. Plenty of places to eat in the town and you can get your bags checked and drop bags taken the night before. The start is a narrow lane and you hit a few stiles/gates in the first 5-10km which really stretches out the crowd quickly. There are plenty of opportunities to pass along the way and it was nice to do a race that didn’t feel crowded with less than 300 runners on a 100 mile event with sections where you got to run alone.

Plenty of food at the checkpoints and as I said above – awesome support at them all. Centurion provided a lot of info for support crews with postcodes and directions. A lot of the runners had crews and pacers to help them through the race

The race itself for me was fun - running at near sea level, not in 30+ degrees and with a lot less altitude than other races this year was great, though I do understand if mountain races are not your thing the 3,000m vert can be daunting. You can just get away without poles for this race, but I did have them in my half way point drop bag as I find that in the later half of a race they help me to keep a walking/jogging/running rhythm going. Way finding was good though we did have to double check the route a few times at some of the junctions, so you do have to keep your wits about you on it.

The North Downs was stunning even in the rain and thunderstorm that hit, it was still beautiful to look at (though the peace was usually interrupted with one of the nearby motorways).

Overall a great race, and one I would love to do again next year.

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08:15 29-08-16

A superb 102.7 miles and one for any serious ultra runner but It should not be underestimated. My 4th Centurion 100 miler (have run A100, TP100 and SDW100) for context and my toughest. Lots of steps and some steep climbs. The first 25 miles is deceptive, then come the steps at Box Hill and a steep climb at Reigate Hill. Beautifully organised (Centurion races are superb) and great aid stations. Personally, I found this tougher than the SDW100 and the second half with Orford Hill, Holly Hill and the section at Detling are tough on tired legs. Highly recommend a recce of the 2nd half of the race as the NDW is not well marked in Kent and there are lots of opportunities to go wrong/get lost. That said, a lovely trail, the last 15 miles are quite kind with gentle undulation. A fantastic race - just what you would expect from the team at Centurion.

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03:44 17-08-16

Since I read Confessions Of An All-Night Runner, I wanted to run ultra distance events. Having winged the first few at London and Rotherham, I got a coach because I really wanted to run Land's End to John O'Groats (a multi-stage event with an average of 50 miles per day).

James, the ever wise coach, steered me away from 17 days of 50 miles average per day. And we explored some other multi-day events as I wanted to see whether that suited me more than longer single-stage events. And that went well and I enjoyed it. But the time came when I really wanted to pop my 100 mile cherry and see how that might go. And NDW100 was the race for it.

In short - it is really very pretty for the majority of the extremely well marked route (I didn't miss a turning at all, and that's pretty awesome for me!), the aid stations are well spaced out (I didn't find myself whining when the next was was going to come), well stocked with goodies and experienced volunteers, and the reception at the finish line pretty special. Yes, there's some elevation involved but it's the right amount to stave off the horror of having to have a run/walk strategy because it's too flat for the excuse to hike. Yes, there are stairs, but that all adds to the charm :o) But yes, it's pretty rocky/stony so shoes with good sole protection are a good idea to save those poor feet some huge soreness by the end.

I loved it and am loving the buckle too!

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02:31 17-08-16

What an amazing race! Everything about this race is a very special experience, from the army of volunteers helping through the day with snacks and motivation, to the beauty of the the course. I would say this is the most 'American' style race I have seen in the UK. The set up is extremely professional and has a very big-race feel about it. Finishing on the track is a fantastic addition and makes ending your race a very unique and special experience.

I would highly recommend this race to any ultrarunner, particularly as a first 100 miler!

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11:41 17-08-16

It's a great race, with nice relaxed atmosphere, fully stocked AS and outstanding volunteers. Centurion races never disappoint. The course... it's tough. Tougher than what the figures might say. It's not easy to manage and you rarely have the opportunity to build momentum. It's well marked, but pay attention because being in a very populated area there's tons of small trails leading up to NDW which could pose some problems. Anyhow, stick to the NT signs and you'll be fine. It has been a great day out with nice people and competitors. Well worth the trip from Italy!

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11:11 17-08-16

My first attempt at the 100 mile distance and a pretty daft choice given the elevation profile. Centurion organisation was outstanding before and throughout the event. The course was pleasant without being stunning and the hills are a constant thorn in your side all the way to the end. Make sure you get some tough shoes as the underfoot conditions are tough at times with sand, rock and hard trail all showing up over the distance. Loved the finish in the stadium and the volunteers were all amazing. Western States and UTMB points a bonus.

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09:06 16-08-16

As my first 100 miler I was pleased to fun the event well supported by volunteers and well-stocked aid stations. The community of runners, crew, organisers and spectators made for an enjoyable and positive experience.

The course took in mainly national trail and was well marked for the majority with only a few places during the night shift where navigation became more challenging in some places. Over such a distance it's inevitable that some markers would be tampered with or lost and I did run off-course on two occasions.

The first half is moderately rolling and had only one or two notable climbs (compared to Wales where I live and train) with the second half having more sustained climbing at regulars points. Although I'm bot sure how much of a factor running in the dark had on my perception of this! Was very glad to be paced through the night as fatigue set in and for the reassurance when I did wander from the intended trail.

The finish at the running track was a welcome amendment to the original finish and allowed runners to come in to a small crowd of enthusiastic spectators and fellow competitors to share everyone's achievement.

Good buckle too!

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