South Downs Way 100 Mile Relay Rules

A. General

1 The race shall be called the South Downs Way 100 Mile Relay.

2 Whenever possible the race will be held on the first Saturday in June each year and entry is by invitation only.

3 The route will follow the South Downs Way from Beachy Head to Chilcomb, near Winchester. The race will normally follow the southern route from Beachy Head via Exceat, but at the Race Director’s discretion the route may take the northern path via Jevington. The South Downs Way is as shown on O/S Landranger Series 199, 198, 197, and 185 or Explorer Series 119-123 and 132.

4 In the event of very poor visibility between Beachy Head and Exceat as a result of mist or fog, the Race Director may decide to require Leg 1 runners to run as a group as far as Birling Gap. This would apply to all start times regardless of improved visibility.

5 It comprises 18 legs of varying lengths; the total race length is approximately 97 miles.

6 Each of the six runners in a team will run three non-consecutive legs.


B. Teams

1 All runners must be aged 18 or over on the day of the race. With the exception of the Ladies teams, all teams can consist of male and/or female runners.

2 Teams may be:

· ‘A’ teams – male or female over 18 years of age;

· ‘B’ teams – as above but only if the club has an ‘A’ team competing;

· ‘Vets’ team – male or female over 40 and 35 years respectively;

· Ladies team – any female over 18 years of age on race day.

Clubs may enter only one team per category. In the event of a club’s ‘B’ team completing the relay in a faster time than its ‘A’ team, the classification of the teams may be switched at the Race Director’s discretion.

3 The notified closing date for entries will be strictly adhered to.

4 All teams shall nominate and declare a Captain to the race organisers at the start.

5 All runners must wear a recognisable and official club vest while running.

6 In the event of the withdrawal of a runner during the race the depleted team may continue at the Race Director’s discretion but will not be eligible for awards.

7 All teams will be issued with seven race numbers. These are to be worn on the front of official club vests during the race, and one placed in the windscreen of the support vehicle.

8 All teams will be issued with two batons, one of which must be carried by the leg runner at all times. At specified changeovers to avoid crossing busy roads there is no baton handover; the outgoing runner must start on the far side of the road and use the second baton. Both batons must be returned to the race organisers at the finish.


C. Race

1 Teams must report at the Start 30 minutes prior to their notified start time, where all six runners and drivers will sign the disclaimer form and provide information about the age and sex of runners. Numbers will then be issued.

2 All runners and team drivers must attend the race briefing by the Race Director 15 minutes prior to their start time.

3 This is a handicap event with a 14-hour time limit for completion.

4 Teams will be released in groups usually at half-hourly intervals but more frequently at the Race Director’s discretion.

5 The start time will be calculated based upon a previously notified estimate and the Race Director’s judgement.

6 To avoid runners completing the relay excessively late in the evening a cut-off time at the Sustainability Centre (changeover 15/16) will be notified to all teams before the race. Teams failing to make this cut-off time may be required to proceed directly to the finish or take other measures to reach the finish earlier, at the Race Director’s discretion.


D. Route and Changeovers

1 Unless otherwise indicated in these Rules the route follows the waymarked South Downs Way. Where the route divides for walkers and horses the race follows the route designated for walkers.

2 Runners and teams must abide by the Country and Highway Codes (shutting gates properly, livestock, parking, etc.). If a footpath runs along two sides of a triangle then runners must not cut across and leave the path.

3 Several of the changeover points, and more importantly the parking facilities, we use are on private land. Without the goodwill of the landowners the race cannot continue, so all runners, drivers and supporters should show respect to people and property, and avoid any behaviour which could cause offence. Where arrangements are in place for teams to park on private land these only apply on the day of the Relay, and not on days when runners recce that leg. For the avoidance of doubt, there is to be no parking on these locations other than on race day.

4 Where there are houses close to early changeovers, and residents are likely to be sleeping, teams should avoid making excess noise and creating a disturbance.

5 There is restricted space at many changeovers. If teams are using two or more support vehicles then only one should attend each changeover.

6 Marshals are stationed at each changeover. Teams should report their arrival and departure to the marshals. On arrival at a changeover point, the team should give the marshal the estimated arrival time for their runner. When the handover is complete they should inform the marshal before leaving the changeover point. More detailed instructions are circulated to all teams before the event.

7 Unless there are facilities provided, changeovers are not open-air loos, and many landowners take a dim view of them being used as such. This puts our future use of the site at risk, so you risk the disqualification of your team if you ignore this.

8 Each team Captain will be issued with an Incident Report Form. This can be used to pass on information to the race organisers where they believe an improvement can be made to the race or where they or a team member has witnessed an infringement of the Rules.

9 There are a number of points where in the past short cuts have been taken. This action could result in instant disqualification or severe time penalties. Listed below are detailed route directions and advice, with OS grid references, where confusion and/or cheating have occurred. These should be noted and the temptation avoided.

10 It is strongly recommended that runners should run their legs in advance and be sure that they know the route. There are no marshals and no route markers on the course other than National Trail signs. GPS navigation devices are permitted, but runners are recommended not to rely on them as a substitute for familiarising themselves with the route in advance.

11 Each runner must complete the leg alone, without any assistance with, for example, navigation or pacing. In particular, another non-competing runner or cyclist must not accompany the runner.


E. Safety

1 A risk assessment has been completed for each leg and these are available on the event website. It is important that these are read and the advice in them acted upon, particularly if the runner is a late substitute who hasn’t had an opportunity to run the leg in advance.

2 The greatest risk posed by the event is at changeovers, where large numbers of non-runners and spectators milling about lose the road sense they would apply if they were alone. Unless it’s essential to be on or near a road, avoid it.

3 Changeovers on busy main roads are especially dangerous, and no one other than the outgoing runner – if necessary – should cross the road. These changeovers are at the start of Legs 2, 6, 8, 12 and 13. Non-runners crossing these roads risk disqualification of their team and no future invitations to the event.

4 Consideration must be given to the public when parking at changeovers and marshals instructions will be obeyed.

5 No public traffic is to be stopped or directed by marshals, competitors or support members.

6 Runners are strongly advised to carry a whistle and/or a mobile phone at all times.

7 The last runner in the relay at any point is particularly advised to carry a mobile phone – if s/he has an accident there will be no following runner to raise the alarm.

8 At designated two baton changeovers the outgoing runner should leave when the incoming runner has reached the road. Neither runner should race across it.

9 All runners should write the emergency contact number for their team and/or the organisers’ number on the reverse of the race number pinned to their vest.


10 All runners take part in the event at their own risk.

Leg 1 Beachy Head to Exceat

* The route leaves the tarmac path 75 metres after the start, bearing left up the grass track.

* There are several cliff top paths between Beachy Head (591959) and the hill up to Belle Toute Lighthouse (563955); all are permitted, with safety and distance from cliff edge the main consideration. If in doubt, stay right!

* The South Downs Way passes to the north of the lighthouse, following the perimeter wall.

* Team vehicles should wait at Birling Gap car park (554960) to ensure their runner passes safely through.

* Runners are not permitted to use the concrete road through Cuckmere Haven (518984). The South Downs Way goes over the hill, following the clear signpost, and descends into Exceat. Any deviation from this permitted route is clearly visible from the changeover and will attract a time penalty which substantially exceeds the advantage gained.

Leg 2 Exceat to Bo Peep

* Exceat is a two baton changeover.

* On the west side of the white footbridge in Alfriston (522031) follow the South Downs Way to the right, then left onto River Lane, then out of the village on Star Lane.

Leg 3 Bo Peep to Itford Farm

* All runners must follow the southerly loop down Itford Hill (440055). Do not descend straight down the slope to the farm gate. (The marshals at Itford Farm changeover can observe all descents.)

* The changeover is west of the A26 at the left turn towards Southease station (432055).

* Teams must not park on the A26 or in the youth hostel forecourt; there is ample parking in the YHA car park close to the changeover point, but be considerate to the residents and keep the noise to a minimum.

* All team vehicles are absolutely forbidden from using the level crossing at Southease station. There’s no point in taking that route, and any transgression will bring instant disqualification.

Leg 4 Itford Farm to Housedean Farm

* After Southease church turn right onto the Newhaven – Rodmell road, cross over and take the first footpath on the left (422054) marked South Downs Way. Do not continue along the road into Rodmell or use the Permissive Path to Rodmell signposted earlier.

* Follow the path to Housedean Farm, crossing the A27 by the single track farm bridge (367092).

* Support vehicles are banned from crossing the A27 via the farm bridge to reach the lay by near the changeover. They should continue to Falmer and cross at the university junction.

Leg 5 Housedean Farm to Ditchling Beacon

* All vehicles should park in the lay by (372092), not on the road outside Housedean Farm, and all non-runners should respect the privacy of the Housedean Farm residents.

Leg 6 Ditchling Beacon to Saddlescombe

* Ditchling Beacon is a two baton changeover.

* There is a charge to use the National Trust car park at Ditchling Beacon. Teams should not avoid paying the small fee by parking on the road.

* Follow the path towards Jack and Jill windmills through New Barn Farm. Do not take the earlier left-hand footpath avoiding the farm (312129).

Leg 7 Saddlescombe to A283

* Saddlescombe is a two baton changeover.

* Parking in the entrance to Saddlescombe Farm or on the other side of the A283 is prohibited. All teams should use the car park at map reference 269112 or the small parking areas on the minor road leading to it and walk down the track. No one should walk down the road to the changeover point, but should use one of the many off road paths

* No team member should cross to the east side of the road.

* Ignoring these instructions on parking and remaining on the west side of the road will mean likely disqualification.

Leg 8 Botolphs to south of Washington

* Team vehicles should approach Botolphs from the south, leaving the A27 at the traffic lights. When leaving the changeover they should go north towards the roundabout between Steyning and Bramber.

* The changeover point is at the A283, which will be marshalled. Only the incoming runner is permitted to cross this busy road. Without exception, all non-runners should remain on the west side of the road.

* Non-runners walking between the car park and the changeover point (it’s about half a mile) should use the gate onto the Downslink path in the corner of the field. They should be aware of runners starting Leg 8 and should give them clear passage.

* At Steyning Bowl, the SDW is on the grass running parallel with road (165089). Stay off the road until the path ends.

* Either route to the south of Chanctonbury Ring is allowed, i.e. along the track or staying close to the fence line (144114).

Leg 9 South of Washington to Springhead Hill

* The changeover is at the point where the footpath leaves the SDW, dropping north to Washington (122120). Teams should park in the car park (120120) if there is space.

* The route rejoins the SDW on the minor road south of Washington and continues past Washington church. After crossing the bridge over the A24, take the right fork (116128), signed South Downs Way.

* At the top of Barnsfarm Hill (105119) turn right where the north and south SDW routes merge.

Leg 10 Springhead Hill to Houghton Lane

* Teams are urged not to delay their departure from Springhead Hill; this is a short leg and the road route to the next changeover passes unavoidably through Storrington, a notorious bottleneck. Delays in departure could easily mean the runner is faster than the rest of the team.

* Team vehicles driving up the lane to Springhead Hill should give priority to those driving down the hill and allow them to pass. This lane is a notorious congestion point with limited passing places. Drivers going up the hill should avoid tailgating the vehicle in front and instead leave 30 seconds before following, to avoid creating congestion.

* In Arun valley, after crossing the footbridge over the river, remain on the footpath and do not cut across the field (019119). This deviation from the route is clearly visible to marshals at Houghton Lane.

Leg 11 Houghton Lane to Littleton Farm

* No vehicles are to park on the A29 where runners cross the road.

* There are various tracks east of Bignor Hill, all of which are permissible (987131).

Leg 12 Littleton Farm to A286 Hill Barn

* Littleton Farm is a two baton changeover.

* At Littleton Farm, all vehicles and non-runners are to remain on the grassy area away from the road without blocking the farm entrance. No one should cross the road. The leg starts by following the track to the side of the field.

* After 3 miles at Heyshott Down take the right fork to follow the SDW. The shorter route via the left fork is not permitted.

Leg 13 A286 Hill Barn to Harting Hill Car Park

* Hill Barn is a two baton changeover.

* Team vehicles should not be parked in the small public car park on the western side of the A286. Parking is available in the field on the eastern side, adjacent to the changeover. Vehicles should access the field by following the lane up to the gate at the top, and exit through the gate by the main road.

* The changeover is in the field, where all vehicles and non-runners are to remain. The outgoing runner should cross to the west side of the A286 and will be signalled to leave when the incoming runner reaches the designated point in the field. No other runner should cross the A286, and non-runners should not congregate in the gateways at either end of the field in a way which obstructs the gate and prevents runners or vehicles from entering or leaving.

* The route over Beacon Hill (West Sussex), avoiding the loop to the south, is allowed (809184).

Leg 14 Harting Hill Car Park to Queen Elizabeth Country Park

* Runners should follow the waymarked SDW through the park, which forks off to the left at the top of the hill, and should not follow the lane down to the changeover point. Those that do will be subject to a time penalty which significantly exceeds any advantage gained.

Leg 15 Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Sustainability Centre

* From Hyden Cross follow the waymarked track to the left of the road (682189) towards the Sustainability Centre. Do not run along the road.

* The cut-off point is at the Sustainability Centre. Teams which miss their cut-off target time may, at the Race Director’s discretion, be instructed by the marshals to stop running or take other measures to reach the finish earlier.

* Use the car park at the Sustainability Centre and do not park on road.

Leg 16 Sustainability Centre to Old Winchester Hill

* On the approach to the changeover at Old Winchester Hill car park runners should not use the road but should stay on the fenced off SDW to the left of the road.

* The car park at Old Winchester Hill is small and quickly fills up, so teams should delay their arrival there until as late as possible and leave promptly.

Leg 17 Old Winchester Hill to Holden Farm

* Only the clearly waymarked SDW route to the south of Old Winchester Hill is permitted (643204). Runners seen taking the old route directly over the top of the hill will be risking a time penalty which exceeds the advantage gained.

* At the disused railway bridge (625212), any route over or under the bridge is permitted.

* After the railway bridge either the river bed or the path to the right of it can be used.

* This section of the SDW is subject to change; runners are strongly advised to recce the leg in advance and follow waymarkers for walkers.

Leg 18 Holden Farm to Chilcomb Sports Ground

* Immediately after the final changeover and crossing the A272 the SDW follows the edge of a field (560271). If the field is grass and not sown or containing livestock then the diagonal route is permissible. Common sense prevails – beware of conditions underfoot.

* On descent after re-crossing the A272 at Cheesefoot Head a minor road/track is reached (516281). Turn left and stay on this surface, passing the firing range and into Chilcomb village – do not take the footpath to the right and cutting the corner.