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August 14, 2020

Over the past few weeks some ultra-races have started again including the Centurion race, North Downs Way 100, which our podcast ‘Run to the Hills’ features in Series 2 Episode 1. The content is also available on our new YouTube Channel ‘Run to the Hills’so you have a choice to just listen or watch the interviews … or both!!

We interviewed the Race Director James Elson and the male and female winners as well as a couple of other runners and it was really interesting to hear how they thought it went. 

Everyone we spoke to or read about all said that they felt safe and looked after and that even though things were different so much was the same and all had a great time. The hot conditions though did make things tough and the drop-out rate of over 50% was higher than normal.


Men's winner Juhana Kirk

Photo thanks to Stuart March photography


What was the same?

  • The course – a 100 mile is always going to be a big challenge
  • Friendly marshals and runners – everyone looked after and supported each other

What was different?

  • The race was basically a time trial with runners setting off in groups of no more than 6 anytime between 5-7am. The faster runners were encouraged to start first so minimising contact with others.
  • All the checkpoints were outside with hand sanitisers available for runners on the way in and out. All the food available was in individual wrappers and runners had to refill their own water bottles.

What were some of the lessons learnt?

  • A lot of runners enjoyed the more relaxed staggered start. It meant that there was less temptation to get caught up in the crowd and be pulled along starting too fast.
  • Importance of planning your time in the checkpoint. Make sure you take off your bottle lid before you sanitise your hands otherwise the water tastes of sanitiser!
  • The competitive element of the race is different as you may be running with someone who actually started 30 mins after or before you.

It is so good to see races starting up again and being held in a safe and sensible way. Congratulations to the race organisers and to all the volunteers and runners.


 Youtube, facebook community and podcast links below, let us know what you think?