South Downs is setting for ultra-tough races

A sunny Sunday greeted participants in the 2022 South Downs 100k and 50k organised by UK Ultra.

The event, led by Race Director Neil Kirby, saw competitors from across the UK compete in a point to point trail race, starting at Falmer or Arundel and ending in Eastbourne.

The route passes through the South Downs National Park, accumulating more than 8000ft of climbing. “We have not been around for that long,” said Kirby. “We are excited to be building events that are exciting and modern for runners to enjoy.”

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UK Ultra will be following up with a 20-mile and 100-mile race programme in August. Local businesses and organisations supporting the event included Lynns Travel, Longman Brewery, Langham Hotel, Euro Self Drive, Eastbourne Council and Arundel FC.

The top three men at the UK Ultra

Run Wednesdays, a local running club led by Danny Garbett, provided many of the race volunteers for the day. Sally Mason, Run Wednesdays volunteer, said: “It was fabulous to meet all the runners as they registered and then along the way at various check points.

"They all looked so strong through the finish line – I loved being a marshall and sharing their journey!”.

Top podium finishers:

100k Men: Owen Davies, Joe Turner, Ben Warren 100k Women: Becky Wright, Michelle Maxwell, Sif Sumarlidadottir

All smiles from competitors

50k Men: Jack Oates, Paul Russhard, Ajay Hanspal 50k Women: Sarah Lawrence, Irina Tatarinova, Kara Boaks

Kevin Moulding, participant in the 50k race said: “Congratulations to Neil, his team and the army of volunteers for the fabulous UK Ultra event. This was my first “ultra” experience as a runner. It was both brilliant and brutal.

"The carnival atmosphere at the finish soon help dissipate the memories of those last few hard miles. The awesome medal and T-shirt for all finishers are a permanent reminder of a cracking day and an epic personal achievement!”

Any runners interested in running the 20-mile and 100-mile events in August, or next year’s scheduled events, should check out the UK Ultra page – www.ukultra.co.uk

The top three women

HAILSHAM HARRIERS

With sunny skies and warm temperatures forecast, 237 runners took part in the Weald Challenge Half Marathon with 125 running the Ultra 50k.

Both Weald Challenge trail races follow the long distance paths of the stunning Wealdway and the Vanguard Way. Both start and finish in the village of Chiddingly and the courses are undulating and mostly off-road.

Running for Hailsham Harriers in the half marathon were Lianne Leakey who crossed the line as 3rd female in 1:47:55, followed by Graham Woolley in 1:48:16.

Chris Little had a fantastic time of 2:09:57 with Gavin Watson-Jones, running with wife Michelle, finishing in 2:18:01.

Victoria Little crossed with Hannah Deubert-Chapman in 2:31:00. Felicity Williams 2:33:10, Sam Neame 2:36:10, and Norman Harris 3:39:50 completed the strong Harriers team.

Runners had a choice of a medal or a £4 donation being given to Uckfield Foodbank.