On 21st September, Pete Heasman, Elly Swaine and myself found ourselves with a bunch of like minded strange people who also think they walking/running 50 miles is a fun thing to do. This event is organised by the LDWA and is self navigating. As Elly and I get lost in Alexandra Park, Pete kindly offered to escort us round, although I’m not sure he was given much say in the matter..
We set off at 10am from Rottingdean and we were blessed with a beautiful day, sun and blue skies. We trotted along enjoying the scenery over the South Downs. The tough and hilly route took us through Offham, Glynde, Alfriston and East Dean. We stopped an evening meal at East Dean curtesy of the LDWA and after being fed and watered we arrived on the Seven Sisters at dusk. This was an absolutely stunning time to reach that point in our journey. The elevations melted away to be replaced by a sense of calmness and gratitude, moments like that make you stop, stare and fully appreciate your surroundings.
After this zen like time we realised that we actually had quite a few miles to do, so it was headtorches on and off to Littlington and Norton. On the way encountering a field of cows, their glassy eyes staring at us in the darkness felt rather quite surreal. It was a relief to arrive at Southease around midnight to enjoy a bacon sandwich at the last checkpoint. The last seven miles back to Rottingdean were hard, it was pitch black and steep so no chance of contemplating any kind of running. At this point there may have been a slight bit of moaning going on but we dug deep, finally rocking up at the finish in the early hours on Sunday morning. Completely exhausted but exhilarated at finishing the challenge.
A fabulous time was had by the three of us and despite aching limbs, we started chatting about our next 50 miler later that day. This is a fantastic ultra to do as the cut off time (20 hours) is so generous that there is no cause for concern. Throughly recommend this well organised event to anyone that would like to step up their distance.