Day 1

23rd August – Winchester to Lewes

Wow, what a send off! Despite the early hour there was quite a crowd gathered on the Broadway to wave us off on our running adventure. It gave us a real boost to have friends, family and supporters there to cheer us on our way including Caron Bishop from Winchester Hospice for which we are raising money.

Representatives from all our sponsors and fellow runners from WADAC and Worthy Runners had come along to run some of the first leg with us, so around 50 people set off running from the Guildhall started off by Councillor Eleanor Bell.

After a short diversion through Abbey Gardens we were on our way.  The “plan” was for us all to run up to Chilcomb, a distance of about 2.5km where most of us would rejoin the minibuses and the first runners would continue on on the first leg.  However caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment, a few runners missed the minibuses and continued on up the hill to Cheesefoot Head running 6.5km instead of 2.5km!

Luckily we all met up again, no harm done apart from a few extra kilometres in the legs, which hopefully we won’t be regretting later on.  Independently both minibuses made unscheduled trips back to Winchester; black van to collect James who had misunderstood the arrangements and run back down from Chilcomb, and white van to collect Steve & Gill’s sandwiches which they had forgotten at home!

Fortunately neither van was required for the first changeover between Rob and Emma, so after the diversions we were able to head on to the Sustainability Centre where Emma arrived at the end of her epic 20km run accompanied by Steve O, Karen and George who had run all the way from Winchester. Thanks for your support guys.

And so the main run with just the core team was under way. Thanks to all Sarah’s hard work the logistics worked brilliantly and we found all the changeover points throughout the day without much incident. Navigation for runners was also relatively straightforward, with runners using a combination of printed maps, navigation on phones and watches or just following the South Downs Way way markers. However the running itself could definitely not be described as straightforward with some very steep climbs and uneven terrain so even the downhill sections were not easy. Consequently we were a little behind schedule by the afternoon.

Some confusion about changeover coordinates meant that Adrian F wasn’t at the start of his second leg of the day, but waiting ready to run at the end of the leg! Luckily Adrian H and David were happy to run instead – possibly because it was a lovely downhill section at Stenning Bowl.  However this was followed by a serious climb for Adrian H.

Our youngest runner, Stanley, had been waiting patiently all day for his run and due to the earlier delays it wasn’t until 6pm that it was time for him to set off. But he still had plenty of energy and set off with dad Parky with enthusiasm. Apparently he loves hills, which is a good thing, as describing the route he ran as a hill is definitely an understatement but he arrived at the top of Ditchling Beacon with a huge smile on his face. Brilliant job Stan.

And so Dan and James, our speedy final duo, set off on the last long leg of the day, hoping that they would finish whilst it was still light. The rest off us set off in the vans to get to the Youth Hostel, for showers and to the get lasagnes in the oven.

In what seemed like no time at all, James and Dan had arrived and we all sat down to some well earned food.  What an amazing day.  130km done only 740km more to go!

But before we could head off for some much needed rest, Adrian H and Sarah had to sit down and plan the legs for Stage 2 hoping that everyone would still be enthusiastic and keen to run the same again tomorrow!

Annie’s Poem

Friday morning breezy and bright,

Our Winchester crowd looked a fine sight

In our sponsored T-shirts, ready to go

Up to Chilcombe in full flow

But, oh no!

Lorraine and Annie forgot to stop

And James decided to hop

It back to the start.

This trip is going to be a lark!

Sustainability Centre was changeover place

Everyone thinking about their pace

And the loo which was shut


Sweet talking got it unlocked

Sarah said, 

“Can’t be blocked.”

Annie found her glasses and phone

James left his at home- possibly.

Glorious sunshine, coffee and Welshcakes

Janet’s pantry, David’s stash- for heaven’s sake

We’ll be amassing kilos as we run these k/miles

But,hey, who cares- we’re all smiles.

George 30k first in

No wonder he looks fit- thin

Where’s the gin?

Then he ran off for more

But,sadly, not joining us on our tour.

Stan, of the white van

Applying lotion for the tan- good man!

Just heard the salmon sandwiches and fruit in Goodwins’ fridge were forgotten

So double backed cos after a week, they’d be rotten!

Sunny and sweaty on the South Downs

So all smiles and no frowns. James had a bacon butty “to do”

But we only had to wait a minute or two.

Sarah and Fiona took the noon slot

Up hill and down dale- whizzy, no trots.

Blue skies, Dave’s cookies

Munching, tale telling- no time for bookies!

Adrian, minivan A solid driver, no frights

Still trying to sort out bill from last night.

Dan’s fault for ordering more than one course

Has he no remorse? (James’ lines)

Glutting Beacon provided the views

And the outbush toilets didn’t have any queues.

Sam and Steve arrived beaming with the baton

And that T-shirt didn’t stay long on!

Janet and Gill went up the hill

With Dave showing his skill

Lies not just in baking

But in legs never aching.

So off went S and F again, keen as mustard,

They’ve certainly earned their blackberry crumble and custard- 

Or rather lasagne

But we’re not running to Espagne.

Adrian and Sam were so quick to arrive

That Lorraine and Annie had to dive

Into their stint and straight to a climb

Do check out their Strava time!

It was quite a slog especially with some false trails

But the women strode on, not wanting to be snails.

Chancery Rings were stunning so we stopped running for a pic

And the sea view was worth a big tick.

The leg dipped down at long last

And the heavy breathing passed.

Baton passed on, brows mopped and back in the bus

Tucking into carbs was really lush.

So time for David and Adrian to run

The rest of us in the bus, having fun

To Hassocks to pick up Dan

The tall Geordie young man.

Sarah’s driving is to be seen

Amazing she’s kept the bus so clean!

Sarah discovered Loose and Broken Bottoms

You’d think, “How rotten!”

But James found even more

He and Dan can go explore!

Stan and Dad took their stretch together 

In the beautiful summer evening weather.

Stan arrived without a sweat

Ran so quick, avoided sunset

Which Dan and James ran into as we left, all smelly

Thinking about showers and filling our bellies!