Downslink here we come…….

Well this weekend I entered the Downslink Ultra. It is a 38 mile race from St Marthas Hill, Surrey to Shoreham- by-Sea, West Sussex using the Downs Link footpath and bridleway.

It’s not a big step, it’s a huge leap.  This time last year I didn’t think I would even do another marathon, so this is a real surprise.  If I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it.

There are going to be a lot of things to learn over the next 5 months, and a lot of miles to put in.

We spectated at the event last year.  In fact Nick was an excellent spectator.  If she doesn’t decide to run it, then the beer may have to wait until the end this year, as I may well need a crew.

1557636_10152951475623306_194982307_nThere are a couple more events that I want to enter this year, but they will have to wait until after pay day.

It was Easter this weekend, so after spending Thursday night on preparations for the Green Belt Relay, we headed out on Friday morning to Alfriston and a section of the South Downs Way that I haven’t seen before.

There are a couple of car parks in Alfriston and from there you can head off in several directions.

This is the direction that we took –

20140418_110838We headed into the village centre and found the SDW sign.

20140418_111604For about 2km, it is as flat as a pancake along the banks of the river Cuckmere.

20140418_11204220140418_113010_Richtone(HDR)You then climb through Litlington village on road to start with, then off road.  The climb lasts for about 5 minutes as we had to walk some of it and it is followed by a sharp descent into Friston Forest.

At 3.5km you meet the first set of steps.


 After these steps, you head through Friston Forest and find yourself faced with another set of steps, only this time quite a lot longer.

20140418_114045_Richtone(HDR)Climbing these steps is definitely well worth the work.  You have to walk them, unless you’re not built like the average person.  This is what you see.


From here we crossed the road and followed the meander of the river down to the beach, where we turned round and headed back from where we came.

20140418_120556_Richtone(HDR)It’s not a long run.  It’s around 14km, just under 9 miles.  However, there are plenty of paths in Friston Forest where you can add extra distance to the run.  It is wonderful though and sums up the SDW perfectly for me.

Easter Monday always sees the Lewes 10k.  This is one of my favourite events even though I always find the run itself pretty tough.

The race has it’s centre at the Lewes track.  There are 3 events for children and then the 10k for the adults, so it’s a real family affair.

10013618_10152127749907983_2001507788181096358_n 10178124_10152127749267983_8355876993720111184_n 10302644_10152127746322983_8885192913538207086_nAnd to say that BHR were out in force is an understatement and this was not all of us.

10172861_10152127764677983_7811209914445159286_nThe 10k race starts with half a lap of the track, followed by 1.5km on tarmac, then it’s off road for about the next 6.5km.  The off road section is mainly track, which is good to run on.  The only difficult section is uphill across a field at around 6km and a field which is always boggy straight afterwards.  There are also a couple of bottlenecks, so you will lose upto a minute at these sections.  This is one of the reasons not to expect a PB on this course.

The organisation and the atmosphere at this event are excellent, although there seems to have been an issue with the results this year.

This was the first race that I ran with BHR almost exacly 3 years ago and is always a very pleasant way to spend Easter Monday.

Happy running everyone.

(all Lewes 10k photos courtesy of Caz Wadey – thank you as always)

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