Often described in running circles tougher than a marathon, the South Downs Way 100 mile Relay is a race that challenges even the biggest clubs in the south of England to field a team to run from Eastbourne to Winchester, all in just one day.
Teams in the event must comprise six runners, who must individually navigate and complete three non-consecutive legs - ranging from four to eight miles. A baton must be exchanged to the next runner at each checkpoint before a minibus takes them to the next.
This year’s race took place on Saturday 7th June, with teams starting at staggered times from 6am up to 9am. Demonstrating how tough the event can be, out of 62 teams that entered, just 52 successfully completed the event and registered a score.
The heavy rain forecast for the day only materialised in the morning with one spectacular downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning. Thankfully for the teams the rest of the day was basked in sunshine.
Heathfield Road Runners fielded two teams: One ‘A’ team and another ‘Vets’ team. The event has long been a club favourite, and with a healthy influx of new talent in 2014 the club was able to field one of their fastest ‘A’ teams for several years.
The Heathfield A team comprised Rowan Baker, Ian Bromley, Andrew Titmus, Sarah Roff, Paul Rigden and James Cox, who completed the event, well under their estimated time, in 11 hours, 51 minutes and 4 seconds. This placed Heathfield 8th out of 23 clubs in the category, a fantastic result given the size of some of the other clubs in their company. This category, and ultimately the event, was won by Lewes AC with a convincing time of 10 hours, 31 minutes and 31 seconds.
The second ‘Vets’ team for Heathfield who, despite setting some impressive times, could not make the cut-off deadline and were sadly just 20 minutes shy of making the grade to score a result.