16 Apr 2024

South Downs Way 50 2024 Race Report

ResultsFree Photos

A wonderful field of regulars and newbie's alike, joined us in Worthing for the start of the twelfth edition of the South Downs Way 50, which has been and will no doubt always be one of our most popular events and has recently benefitted from some glorious spring weather. This year was to see a continuation of that theme.

Temperatures were close to ideal to kick things off, but some early morning mist took some time to clear which it did thanks to a strong south westerly breeze mostly assisting runners all the way to Eastbourne.

The front of the womens race was close and competitive from the outset, with Michelle Attridge immediately seizing control from the front, followed hotly by Helen Moss and Ally Whitlock - with just three minutes separating them at check point one. The positions remained the same throughout the race and the gaps hardly changed at all making it exciting viewing for all of us out on course and for those dot watching from home. Michelle won in 7:50:51, Helen closed really hard over the final section taking three minutes out of Michelle between Jevington and the Finish but ulimately just falling short of the win, in 7:53 and Ally Whitlock coming home for third and a huge PB - in 8:03. 

Michelle Attridge

The mens race shaped up very differently with a pack of three guys leading the way early on. Centurion Ultra Team runner Dan Lawson and La Sportiva's Kim Collison separated themselves and ran together at a rapid rate early on and gapped the field. Alistair Courtney who was third at Hundred Hills 50km last month shadowed them in the same position here. On the way to Saddlescombe Farm CP2 on what is truly Dan's home turf he pushed ahead and held a two minute gap over Kim. He then led through Housedean and the marathon mark, Southease and down into Alfriston at Mile 41 where Alistair who had long since passed Kim, finally caught up to him. The two forged on over from Alfriston and when it seemed Alistair would get ahead, the opposite happened as Dan made a break for it depsite cramping on the hills. When the two hit the road in Eastbourne with 2 miles to go, Alistair was able to find that little something extra to forge past the old master and cross the line first in 6:27, Dan finishing in second just over a minute back with the two close enough to share the track together at the end. Guy Hudson ran a superb race and improved on his PB to pick up third in 6:35, edging out Kim into fourth. 

Alistair Courtney

The Age Categories, awards went to the following:

FV40 to Ally Whitlock in 8:03, also third overall. FV50 to Samantha Ridley in 9:22 and FV60 to Jackie Turner in 10:22, a course record by 18 minutes and a stunning time for an FV60 50 miler. 

MV40 went to Guy Hudson also third overall. MV50 to Dan Lawson, also second overall and who took the course record down by nearly 40 minutes! MV60 went to David Prince-Iles in 8:49, what is remarkable there is that David turns 70 in a few weeks time, so expect some new age group records if he carries on racing! MV70 went to Ken Fancett as usual in 9:53. Aged 75 Ken continues to finish well inside the top half of the field.

With 10 minutes left until the cut off, a number of runners were still out on course, and we were desperaetly willing them all home. Iain Ross became our 401st and final finisher in 12:56:54, with Ben Love last man out on course unfortunately missing the cut by just a few minutes. He showed tremendous grit and we hope he returns next year. 401 finishers is a record for us and we are so happy that so many were able to share a wonderful day with us.

Massive thanks as always to our team of volunteers without whom none of this would be possible.