South Downs Way 50

Executive Summary

I had a plan.  I stuck to it.  I netted myself a 2 hour PB. I’m quite pleased.

The plan

(a) Be in Worthing for 8am

(b) Make sure you have all the mandatory kit

(c) Don’t go off too fast

(d) No, seriously, slow down!

(e) I said, slow down, you muppet!

(f) Eat a shot blok every odd mile and a Jaffa Cake every even mile – 250 kcals per hour

(g) Don’t sit down at aid stations, they are a black hole of time.  Go in, do what you need to, leave.  Do not sit and chat to volunteers.

(h) Eat and drink whilst carrying on.

(i) Follow the signs to Jevington not Exceat at mile 41.

(j) Take the second gully on the left past the trig point at Jevington.

(k) Collect t-shirt and bling.

(l) Change into warm dry clothing.

(m) Get back to Worthing.

The execution

(a) I was in Worthing for 7:45, complete with Dime Bar Cake (or Chocolate Sugar Crack) as a bribe for the volunteer team.  Best decision ever.  It won me oodles of support at every aid station on the way round.

(b) I had all the mandatory kit.  Including the parkrun hat my sister knitted me.  Well, if I have to miss a parkrun, I will at least carry it with me.

(c) I didn’t go off too fast (This bit was easy.  I started at the back, and the first section is narrow!)

(d) Oh hell.  I’ve just overtaken someone I wasn’t expecting to.  Slow down!

(e) 5 hours for the marathon?  Ooops.  You’ll pay for that!

(f)  Must I really eat another shot blok so soon?  Yay!  Jaffa Cake time.

(g) Aid 1 (Botolphs): Drink.  Eat peanuts.  Leave.  Aid 2: (Saddlescombe Farm): Drink.  Eat peanuts and cherry tomatoes.  Leave.  Aid 3 (Housedean Farm): Hug Karen.  Hug Alma.  Drink.  Inhale Avocado.  Drink some more.  Hug Alma.  Hug Karen.  Leave.  Aid 4: (Southease): Drink.  Use Youth Hostel facilities.  Drink some more.  Eat peanuts and cherry tomatoes.  Leave.  Aid 5 (Alfriston): Drink.  Eat peanuts.  Leave.  Aid 6 (Jevington): Drink.  Eat tomatoes.  Leave.

(h) Ate little and often.  Drank little and often.  Didn’t stop (except briefly at aid stations).

(i) Followed the signs to Jevington not Exceat at mile 41.

(j) Took the second gully on the left past the trig point at Jevington.  What with the marshal pointing at it, missing it would have been difficult!

(k) Collected t-shirt and bling.  And had my photograph taken with a world-famous author.  But only after being a little dramatic and collapsing at the finish line.  And after collecting more hugs from Nici and Karen.

(l) Changed into warm dry clothing.  This took a surprisingly long time.

(m) Caught the shuttle back to Worthing.  But only after pottering round for 2 hours chatting to people and unwinding.

The result

I snuck in just before the 10 hour mark, knocking 2 hours off my 50 mile time.  I’d known it was a possibility 15 miles out, when I was still managing to average 12 minute miles, but 10 miles out, my Garmin died, and there are two loooooooooong hills in the last 10 miles which I walked in their entirety.  Add to that the number of people who passed me in the last 3 miles, and I knew I was slowing down badly.  I didn’t cotton onto the fact that I’d managed sub 10 until I sat down in the changing room to let people know I’d finished.

The verdict

I’m chuffed to bits.  I had a plan (albeit a simple one) and I stuck to it.  At the end, I’d slowed down, but was still running the flats and downhills.  I didn’t get lost (hard to on a course as well marked as this one), I didn’t stop eating, I did stop to put on my windproof jacket when the wind picked up, and I carried on until I crossed the line.


About abradypus

A Bradypus or Sloth am I, I live a life of ease, contented not to do or die but idle as I please; ... [Michael Flanders and Donald Swann]
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20 Responses to South Downs Way 50

  1. shazruns says:

    Wow. Fabulous achievement, fabulous write up as ever! In awe, as usual.

  2. Helen says:

    Brilliant! Well done Louise, you hero.

  3. Wow, that is amazing, I am in awe!!!

  4. winsometahn says:

    Really amazing achievement, congratulations, I’m also in awe.

  5. abradypus says:

    You are all very kind 🙂

    It helped that this time I didn’t stop for an hour mid-race.

  6. TOTKat says:

    That. That right there. That is awesome.

    I can’t wait to see you run at TP100; it’s going to be fab! :o)

  7. JovialGnome says:

    You are quite simply awesome, I am well impressed! But I think I’ve sussed out your secret weapon ….. cherry tomatoes! 🙂

  8. RunningDan says:

    That’s amazing and as always I am in awe. It was fantastic to see a friendly face today in what is the most soul destroying section of the Brighton Marathon.

  9. Abradysis says:


  10. James says:

    You deserved nothing less, brilliant running and all this on a steady upward curve….

  11. plustenner says:

    you rocked that 50 miler, am so pleased for you, well deserved xx

  12. Debra Bourne says:

    Well done you! Sounds like you stuck to your race plan really well. Somewhat better weather than last year, I think, even with the low cloud and lack of views…

  13. Great plan and you looked amazing as you strode past me, well done!

  14. mia79gbr says:

    Wow!! Brilliant absolutely brilliant!! And you came with CAKE? I’m lucky if I remember trainers and food!! Inspiration!!

  15. hels205 says:

    WOW!! Love the break down. Might have to try that for NDW50. Must remember to bring cake. Well done too 😉

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