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South Downs Way 100

08-Jun-2019 Chilcomb Sports Ground, Winchester, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
161KM / 100Miles
1 Day - 300 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

This 100-mile race runs along the entire South Downs Way National Trail in England. It runs from Winchester to Eastbourne and is fully supported by 15 aid stations, medical support and course markings. The markings combine South Downs Way marker posts (National Trails) and markings placed by the organisation when deviating from the path.

The 300 places, plus 60 for volunteers, require a minimum qualification standard: having finished a 50-mile race in under 15-hours during the period of time established by the organisers for each SDW100 edition.

The time limit is 30 hours and partial cut offs are in place at each aid station. All 15 aid stations include drinks, sweet and savoury snacks, some include hot drinks and food.

Drop bags, pacers and crews are permitted. There is a compulsory kit requirement and checks will be carried out before, during and after the race.

This race is a Western States Qualifier and awards points for UTMB.

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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 South Downs Way 100

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09:56 28-09-18

I ran this as my 1st 100m race, as i had heard how well organised and fantastic Centurion Running events are. I can say it did not disappoint, the registration was smooth (i managed to lose my cup somewhere, but was able to get 1 before checks). The route was great, a good mix of trails and pathways and easily navigated even at night as the marked tape was reflective. The aid stations were Fantastic i can not express how amazing the volunteers are/were, drinks were presented to you as you arrived, food was plenty with a wide range to suit everybody, 1 thing to remember is that after nearly aid station there is a hill (buggers)
I enjoyed the race so much i'm going back in 2019 to have another crack at it.
Fully recommend this race

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11:04 20-06-17

I ran this in 2017 as my second 100 miler. I completed NDW100 in 2016 and had a strong first 75 miles before beginning to struggle with the lack of sleep. After passing out at the 82 mile aid station I nearly pulled out but managed to finish after abandoning my sub 24 goal because I was literally falling asleep on my feet. I therefore approached this race with some trepidation. I wasn't sure whether my first 100 was representative of how my body would always respond to running through the night or whether that had just been a bad day. In theory, SDW100 'should' be a faster course. The course record is faster, I completed SDW50 at a faster pace than NDW50 despite being higher up the rankings for NDW and the NDW route is a little over 100 whereas SDW is a little short. That being said, I prefer the North Downs Way as a trail - the woodland offers shade and softer ground and it is more varied. The hard chalky trail on the South Downs Way means impact on muscles and joints that is similar to road running and the trail is open and exposed. I was also aware that the strong year I've had to date could mean I was 'over-raced' and even more likely to struggle with fatigue. I was confident my legs would hold out but I was more worried about lack of energy than pain.

As with all Centurion events, this race was well-organised and the volunteers were fantastic. The Centurion attention to detail comes into its own on a 100 miler. For shorter distances, there is some appeal in a low-key approach and not having a marked route. Once you have been on your feet beyond 18 hours and your body is telling you to sleep you do not want to be worrying about which direction to run in unless you are a really skilled navigator. Centurion volunteers are mostly runners and they understand this. At the last couple of aid stations they had someone meeting people to guide them in and pointing them in the right direction on the way out. They went looking for a lady with severe blisters to offer assistance. Other runners are amazing too. At around 85 miles I started to find it difficult to move in a straight line and was doing a lot of walking/staggering. Everyone that overtook me stopped to make sure I was ok and that it was tiredness rather than injury that was making me weave all over the place! I think the sleep issue will always be my nemesis but I managed to get my sub 24 this time. I won't lie - I loved the first 75 miles, struggled for the next 10 and death-marched the last 15 wondering why I put myself through this. It was a relief to have two friends volunteering at the finish - that helped me find the energy to run around the stadium track to the finish line. I'm glad I did it but the jury is still out on whether I would do another 100. I love running - when I do a 50 mile ultra it challenges me but I never stop enjoying it. The final miles of a 100 are not fun at all and enjoyment is always my first rule of running. Never say never, but I might look to 100ks rather than 100 milers for my next adventure!

If you are tempted by a 100 miler then you can't go wrong with Centurion. With less organisation I might well not have finished. I always meet fabulous people at their races and the routes I have run have all been lovely. They now have Tailwind (as well as a banquet) on tap at aid stations which is a godsend - if I stop for too long it's hard to get going again so not having to mix my own is great. One small criticism - they had caffeinated Tailwind at the early aid stations but only non-caffeinated at the later ones. It needs to be the other way around.

In summary, this is a great race that offers a very good opportunity for a sub 24 but 100 miles is going to be tough wherever you run it!

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01:10 20-06-17

2017 SDW100. A fantastic well organised race. Absolutely stunning views, brilliant aid stations and very lovely organised volunteers.

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09:47 24-03-17

Took part in 2016. Camping at start, very friendly staff and volunteers. Very well marked course. All of the Centurion events have a very positive community surrounding them. Definitely recommend.

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07:12 14-02-17

Centurion definitely have one thing right & that is the checkpoints, generally manned by fellow runners who get a guaranteed place in the same event the following year they always provide great assistance, support & if needed tough love. The SDW100 was no exception... and after I got heatstroke they both looked after me & egged me on. Compared to other ultras I found the camaraderie in the first half of the race lacking, this may have been due to everyone being so focused on getting the job done but I found the usual 'we're all in it together' spirit was missing from this event... maybe ithe increases later on as I dropped at 55miles. It's a tough route and the cut off is night generous but with a good enough level of fitness & determination it's infinity achievable, something I'm aiming to do when I return this year.

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12:25 12-07-16

I first ran this race in 2015, and then again in 2016. It's a tremendous race, organised and run by a host of amazing people. The course marking is simply brilliant – I didn't need to look at the map on either occasion. Every runner is welcomed into each checkpoint, and every runner is cheered on as they leave. I definitely have no hesitation in recommending this with 5 stars – whether you're a seasoned pro at the distance, or this is your first 'Miler', you'll leave the South Downs with incredible memories.

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12:50 20-06-16

Like a number commenting here also my first 100 mile race. Great course; although marked by the SDW trail markers plenty of supplemental marking was added to reduce the chance of getting lost even further. Aid stations are well situated along the course, well stocked and have great volunteers.Start and finish are easily accessible. Definitely 5 star.

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08:21 13-06-16

Nine months ago I googled "The Uk's toughest Ultra". Number one was this. So after abit of faffing about (getting SDW50 done) and alot of running,i took my place in this,my first 100 on June 11/12 2016. Supported with a fantastic crew.
The race starts in Winchester and finishes in Eastbourne right along the ridge of The South Downs Way. It's beautifully brutal. The aid stations are filled with all the best food you will ever need and served by all the very best crew staff. They are kind,comforting and will go out of there way to help you complete this. That said this isn't just any race,I saw alot of poorly people drop from it,the likes I havnt seen before.
This race,as it was for me,a once in a life time go at 100 miles but it doesn't take any prisoners. My shiney belt buckle medal is now my most precious possession. I wish everyone the very best of luck on them also becoming a Centurion An easy 5 ***** stars

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01:17 27-06-15

My first 100 too and a really nice one. Perfect weather, lots of hills but really runnable and excellent course marking which was seriously needed in the mist in the night. Fantastic views from high on the Downs.

Checkpoint volunteers were brilliant going above and beyond the call of duty. Aid stations were seriously well stocked with everything you could want.

Well done Centurion a seriously well put together event!

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05:03 18-06-15

My first 100 mile race and my first Centurion race. Both were brilliant! The volunteers were amazing and helped you along with smiles and cheers, even an Elvis! The course itself it obviously hilly but the scenery is stunning and Centurion did a fantastic job of marking out the trail alongside the National Trail markers. Will definitely be back

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