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XNRG Druid's Challenge

12-Nov-2021 Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, UK (England)


Image Mask
Trail Race Race Terrain
135KM / 84Miles
3 Days - 200 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £180 GBP

Druid's Challenge 2021: a three day, 84 mile, 135km, ultra marathon crossing the historic Ridgeway.

You'll be following in the footsteps of travellers, herdsmen and soldiers who have used the Ridgeway since prehistoric times. Be entranced by the ancient landscapes, hidden valleys, beautiful downland and woodland.

As with all of our events, everything is taken care of at the Druid's Challenge so you can focus on the experience! Overnight accommodation, evening meals, showers, breakfast, food and drink at checkpoints, free parking, and even inspiring guest speakers in the evening are all included.

Detailed information about all elements of the event can be found in our event instructions.
**Multi Day Event Prize for 1st Male and 1st Female Overall Winners: Free Entry to Same Event Next Year**

You can enter the whole weekend event including food and accommodation or individual days.

Entries will close one week before the event (or when full). A waitlist option will be available if the event becomes fully booked.

Pricing options:
Early bird - £180 before 30th April 2021
Standard entry - £190, from 1st May 2021
Late entry - £205, from 1st October 2021

There is a Mercure Hotel 20 minutes from the finish of day 1 and a Premier Inn a few miles away from day 2 overnight location. So, why not book the full event (no accommodation or food) option and have a comfortable bed instead? Scroll down for more information about hotel pick-ups.

Full event without accommodation or food - £160
Single day - £65
Optional accommodation for single day competitors - £30 per night

There's a 10% discount available for all serving military or emergency services staff. To book with your discount, please email us: [email protected]

Please note: a 2.5% service charge, levied by the registration software, will be added to your total. If you need to cancel your entry or transfer to another event, you can do that by logging back into the booking system, Racespace.

Our refunds policy: no refunds or deferrals will be made within one month of the event start.

Start / Finish
Registration will be open from 08:00 on Friday at Tring Cricket Club, London Rd, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 6HA.

Start on day 1: Ivinghoe Beacon, LU7 9EB
Finish on day 1: Icknield College, Watlington, OX49 5RB
Finish on day 2: on the Ridgeway (grid reference: SU458850) with a shuttle bus to Didcot Leisure centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, OX11 8AY
Finish on day 3: Alexandra Hotel, Wroughton, SN4 0QJ.

A broad track that takes the higher ground, the Ridgeway is a unique route that passes through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), often quite a distance from any towns or villages, giving a real sense of peace and seclusion. You'll experience open views of the rolling chalk downland, peppered with ancient monuments including Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and white horse chalk figures. It's a National Trail with plenty of clear signposts and post discs. You'll also be given a route card, designed to get you through any trickier sections. We recommend familiarising yourself with the route before the start of the race.

Overnight accommodation and guest speakers
You'll stay at Icknield Community College in Watlington on the first night and Didcot Leisure centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, OX11 8AY on the second night, with sleeping accommodation in a large hall.

Mid-event hotels
Don't fancy sharing accommodation during the event? We'll be running minibus shuttles to and from three local hotels during the event, as follows:

Thursday night - Alexander Hotel, Swindon (for those taking the coach to the start on Friday morning), or the Premier Inn, Tring close to the start
Friday night - The Mercure Hotel, Watlington
Saturday night - Premier Inn Milton Interchange, Abingdon

Please note: these are the only hotels our minibus will run to. If you're planning to stay somewhere else, please make sure you've booked taxis to and from the event.

Aid stations
There will be three checkpoints each day at regular intervals, fully stocked with water and food.

We're going green
Help us do our bit to reduce the impact our events have on the environment by bringing your own reusable or collapsible cups for drinks at checkpoints.

The event is supported by a Course Manager and a fully qualified medical crew will be in attendance. We strongly recommend taking a moment to read our medical page before booking.

The only compulsory kit is a fully charged mobile phone and a minimum 500ml of water, but it's worth taking a look at our recommended kit list. Other equipment may be made compulsory by the race director depending on the weather.

The winners, runners up and age group winners will receive fantastic prizes or vouchers from our sponsors.


Event Organiser
Brian Thubron



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 XNRG Druid's Challenge

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09:54 06-12-17

XNRG have been organising multi-day ultras for years now, and it shows. Neil and the team look after the runners brilliantly, without cosseting them. They provide no frills accommodation and providing breakfast and dinner during the race.
The Druids Challenge covers most of the Ridgeway national trail over three days. I found the trail surprisingly runnable, and even in late autumn very scenic. The staggered starts mean you are either chasing or being chased during each day, reducing the likelihood of not seeing another soul for hours on end for all but the back markers. The lack of cut-offs also makes for a very inclusive event - those out walking for 10 hours each day are made of sterner stuff than me.
Evening talks by accomplished runners provide some structure to the downtime between running/eating/sleeping. The other competitors are excellent company and very friendly, and have many stories to share to while away the hours.
I'd recommend XNRG events to everyone, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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10:22 27-11-17

The Druid’s Challenge was my 5th XNRG multiday event of the year; from that you can tell I am a fan of them! From the minute they pick you up at Tring Station until they drop you off at Swindon (if those are you choices) the team of Neil, Anna, Brian, Rich and Annie plus the dozens of volunteers do everything possible to make your three days ‘extreme’ experience as hassle free as possible; all you have to do is run or walk or a combination of both which is the likely choice for most.
The route is almost the whole of The Ridgeway (Strava told me 136.3k); I had never run on any of it before but I had crewed for my daughter on 2 other events I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to follow the route, the National Trail signposts and the extra signage the team had provided meant you would have to work very hard to get lost.
Also the actual track was more runnable than I had expected, not as many steep ascents or descents as I was expecting, once you had climbed the name ‘Ridgeway’ really was quite an accurate description, many miles of relatively flat trails. A few gnarly bits, but hey it would be a trail race without some places where you have to watch where you are putting your feet.
I choose to run all 3 days in the same pair of road shoes, my aging knees appreciate the extra cushioning they provide and although they might not have been ideal on day 2 it wasn’t too difficult to skirt around the muddier sections. You will find it useful to take some old newspaper to stuff your shoes with in case you have any wet conditions.
It is an event that is accessible to the widest possible range of competitors, with 3 different starting times each day an hour apart for walkers, ‘normal’ runners and ‘élites’ Your start on day 1 depends upon how long you think it will take you to cover a specific distance; on the next 2 days it depends upon how quickly you did cover the previous day.
In conclusion, you do not have to be fearful about tackling this 3 day event. None of the individual days are much over a marathon distance, sleeping on a gymnasium floor isn’t as bad as you might think; there is great camaraderie in the evening and at breakfast. I ran it as a 68 year old with a hernia waiting to be sorted, so you can do it!

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02:41 29-11-16

2016 - ran purely as MdS prep last year but returned again this year to have a proper crack at the race.

UK multi-day races simply don't get any better than this. Beautiful and challenging course. Excellent organisation. Fantastic atmosphere. XNRG really look after everyone whether you are an ultra or multi-day first timer or an experienced multi-day athlete.

The course is challenging (very tough if you are aiming to go quickly) but not intimidating. Checkpoints and marshals are first class. And the opportunity to hang out with fellow competitors each evening really adds to the whole experience.

Recommended without reservation!

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11:48 06-01-16

I took part in the Druids in 2014...a really well organised event, a brilliant introduction to multi day racing and ideal preparation for the MDS. The organisers were friendly and helpful...certainly would recommend this event

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11:18 17-12-15

If you are looking for a multi stage event I cannot recommend this highly enough. I enjoyed every moment of it.

The organisers do everything possible to make it as enjoyable as possible.
You are driven to and from train stations on the first and last day. Nice food is provided for you. The social aspects is half of the fun. Doctors are there to help and you can have sport massages too for a next to nothing cost.

Runners are divided in groups so that the fastest ones start last and there is a better chance for everyone to run and finish together.

The first day is the longest, almost 30 miles and it goes through some very nice hills and woodland. I did not like the last 10k much as they were flat, boggy and boring. Don't forget to bring a head torch on the first day if you are not very fast. I managed to beat the light, but any person not finishing in the top 20 will need a light.

The night is spent in a school in Watlington. Go for a shower as soon as you can as hot water might be an issue.

At 10pm the lights are switched off but sleeping is not very easy. Make sure you wear earplugs. I suggest you take a nice inflatable bad with you.

The second day is the shortest (just a bit over a marathon) and the first half for me was the best looking of the 3 days. Things might change depending on the weather, but when I ran it it rained all the 3 days so we did not get to see much of the scenery from the hills, which made the woodland and red leaves on the trail the best part of the race. Again the last 5k are probably the least fun of the day as it is on a pretty uninteresting field.

We were then driven to the leisure center in Wantage where we were staying for the night.

The rest of the day is spent resting, chatting with fellow runners and mending the various painful bits. In the evening there were some interesting talks to attend to. Especially if you are doing this race in preparation fo rthe MdS.

The third day is around 46k long. It starts a bit boring but it then gets really nice once the hills and woods appear.

At around 27km the route goes thorugh Liddington where we had to run on a big busy road which was not fun, but after that it's all very nice up and down hills. Being the end of the three days I suggest giving it all from there to finish strong.

At the end there is a crazy downhill road and then some road to the finish line.
It's an amazing feeling to complete the 3 days.

Be ready for a lot of mud and rain as it is November, but you will love every second of the week end. The Ridgeway is very beautiful and in the fall it probably gives its best.

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01:16 16-11-15

2015 - My first multi day event and first time with XNRG.
I was terrified about getting lost and didn't know anybody else racing however I needn't have worried. The route is really well marked and you can request a gpx route beforehand to download too. Plus you are surrounded with 100+ like minded nutters who have also decided that 3 days of running is a great idea (it was)
The entire XNRG team go above and beyond to look after you, I can't praise them highly enough. Everything from picking you up from the train station, ferrying your bags around, mountains of food at checkpoints and hot soup when you finish a rainy 28 miles - it is all taken care of.
Thank you XNRG :)

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02:03 11-11-15

2015 - This is the second event I've done with XNRG, and I can't recommend them highly enough. The team always look after you as if you were family and every detail is covered - you can tell how much they enjoy running the events and how much pride they take in their work.
The Druids Challenge runs across the Ridgeway which is well marked with fingerposts and National Trust acorn signs, and with the easy to read route card as well it's pretty difficult to get lost. There are plenty of challenges in there - exposed terrain, hills, scree and lots of wind and rain - but the distances each day are manageable and there are well stocked checkpoints to refuel along the way. The evenings usually involve bedding down in a hall with all the other runners, and it's a lot of fun - like camping but with a little bit less mud :) Being immersed in the experience with 150 other people for three days is the cherry on the cake for me, and there are often guest speakers talking about their experiences of ultra runnign and the MDS as well. I'm still buzzing from this year and already can't wait to sign up for the next one.
Check out the Pilgrim Challenge in February as well - that goes over the North Downs Way and is 66 miles over two days in a similar format.

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08:35 16-07-15

2012 - I did day 2 & 3 of the Druid Challenge as part of my training for the 2013 Marathon des Sables. Great event, extremely well organised and supported throughout. Flexible in allowing partial entry - I couldn't manage Friday off work so joined for the weekend. Tested myself with carrying kit but this was an option - the XNRG team transport your belongings between overnight venues. Sleeping on the floor in halls with a mass of runners is useful training for tent life during the MDS!

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05:27 28-04-15

2014 - The Druids Challenge is one of many fantastic back to back Ultra's run by the XNRG team. Neil and his family look after each and every runner right from the start. The passion really shines through any XNRG event. They are superb value for money. For the entry fee you get all accommodation and food, breakfast, checkpoint food, snacks on finish each day and a fantastic feast in the evening. You certainty won't go hungry over this three day event.

Don't expect too much sleep as accommodation is on school floors. The route takes in 84 miles of the beautiful 'Ridgeway' and is split almost evenly. It is easy to follow and very well signposted. It's achievable all on very good paths and not too hilly at all apart from a lovely hill in the last half mile on day 3.

A route guide is given at the start alongside the GPS route but you probably won't need any of them as it is very straight forward. There are enough runners to make this big enough to nearly always have someone near you but small enough to get to know people throughout the three days. Each checkpoint is well supported with the right sort of ultra food and drink.

The XNRG team will look after you at the end, help carry your bags, pamper you with cake and tea and supply hot showers at the finish. If you are after bling a brightly coloured techy tee and a medal goes down well too along side the satisfaction of running 84 miles over three days.

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