In short: Tougher than Clarendon? Maybe, but wonderful scenery and organization win out. In full: My first South Downs Half, but not my last. Heavy rain over the previous week made the ground slippery and I was grateful for my decision to opt for trail shoes. The route is really varied - woodland path, open field, quiet lanes - with some spectacular views. One really tough hill around mile 6 (quicker to walk) was the main challenge, but overall a couple of months of solid off-road hill work paid off. As the announcer pointed out before the start, this was not a PB race, but the reward for all the effort was a fantastic finish, great t-shirt and the most generously-filled goody bag I have received all year. I would put this race up with the Clarendon Way for challenge, perfect organization and warm, friendly atmosphere. Date of review: June 20, 2016
In short: Hard enough to be rewarding! In full: Excellent organisation, well marshalled and signposted route, nice medal, T-shirt and goody bag. Outstanding scenery made a hilly course across a varied terrain route well worth doing. Trail running's not normally my thing but I will certainly make the effort to do this one again. Date of review: June 19, 2016
In short: Half marathon review - brilliant event! In full: Just ran the South Downs half marathon as my first ever half marathon. What a fantastic event! Very well organised, lovely organisers and stewards who were very encouraging and doing their jobs brilliantly. The route is marked perfectly, no confusion at all. The scenery is great, ranging from forests to rolling hills, very peaceful. The atmosphere was fantastic, people were very supportive and encouraging.
Regarding the route, I did read that this was hilly beforehand and that apparently there was a very tough hill at the start. To put it into perspective I had about a months worth of training for this, and found it very easy until 6ish miles. That's where I encountered a neverending steep hill. There are 2 tough hills afterwards but it is all manageable even for a first time half marathon runner in my opinion. The last 2 miles are pretty much 90% downhill.
After the run you get a very nice goodie bag with some decent foods in, as well as a great looking medal and a really nice running t-shirt.
Overall this was a brilliant day out and I can't recommend it enough. My advice for anyone considering this would be to do a fair amount of hill training. Definitely will be looking at running again next year. Date of review: June 18, 2016
In short: Half marathon review - a real struggle but beautiful views In full: I generally dislike people who complain about the course after signing up to run it. However Buster Hill was a ridiculous place to start a race. I love the challenge of hills but not at the very start before your legs get a chance to warm up. I wasn't at my fittest and take responsibility for that. But the otherwise phenomenal scenery and great running route was somewhat ruined for me because I burnt myself out trying to get up that hill while cold. It's a bit like trying a hill start in an old banger. Get the thing going properly first and then send it up the vertical hill! Date of review: November 21, 2015
In short: Absolutely brilliant, in every way! In full: This was my 3rd South Downs half-marathon this year, and I keep going back for more, such is the scenery, the welcome, the organisation and friendliness all round. I ran the full marathon back in 2011, which I thoroughly enjoyed but, unfortunately, I don't have sufficient time to train for marathons. I was mighty happy when the half-marathon was introduced in 2012. I can highly recommend both, especially if you like to run on trails and enjoy some stunning scenery. Well done everyone at 2:09 - you're simply great!
In short: Worth doing In full: Organisation: Excellent. The bib with the chip arrived in the week so there was no need to register in the morning before the race, I find this much more efficient and helpful.
The roads were carefully marshaled at every crossing, there were lots of water stations which made all the difference on a hot day and bottles were given which made it easier to fill out your own bottle if you wanted. Gels were given out at some stations and we were told which brand ahead of the race. There were also lots of toilets. The first time I've seen toilets during the course which was an excellent idea.
The results were published within minutes and were up on the website.
Route/View: You can't go wrong in the South Downs, it was stunning. Also, going from one end to the other was good for me mentally as I felt I was heading somewhere.
Things I'd tweak: Jelly babies PLEASE!!!! Gels were given but sometimes the body craves some simple sugar. I think if you didn't take your own food you might have struggled. Or perhaps this was a sign that it was a bit 'elitey'? This race had a more serious feel than others I've been to so perhaps that's why.
The course was tough with a fair amount of hills but it wasn't murder.
Overall I would do it again. Thank you for great organisation. Great bling and technical tee.
In short: Gorgeous scenery, Butser hill! In full: Bit of an issue with chip timing so start was delayed, this didn't bother me as I was expecting a PW for my first trail half and having heard about the hills. Butser Hill was amazing, spectacular views from the top and running down it afterwards was the best fun you could have with your clothes on! Water stations were very scarce so I ended up getting a stitch as I chugged all the bottles so I didn't have to litter the lovely countryside. Watch out for tree roots after 9 miles, I saw some falls and tripped over myself despite being careful. Beautiful and varied scenery, will do it again and practice going up Butser Hill ahead of time! Date of review: July 14, 2013