Race Report
North Downs Way 50 mile (NDW50) - 19th May 2018
Trevor King
The NDW50 is a 50 mile point to point run along the North Downs Way National Trail from Farnham in Surrey to Knockholt Pound near Sevenoaks in Kent. The total climb is 5,600 feet.

The race begins in Farnham at the western end of the North Downs, traveling past Puttenham and Guildford following the North Downs Way National Trail. The course then continues on to Ranmore Common before the steepest climb of the race up to the top of Box Hill. The trail then drops down the other side and back up to Reigate Hill, on through Merstham to Oxted and a further 8 miles to Knockholt Pound and the 50 mile finish.

A beautiful day for a long run in the sun were my first thoughts. Up and about for an early start with a mixture of nerves and excitement for my attempt at my longest time in my Hokas.

After a quick check of my kit which is new to any race, as mandatory items are required. This was followed by a briefing of the race ahead (it then dawned on me that this was serious running). Onwards to the start line where Mick and I waved goodbye to our wives.

My plan was to try and cover the first half in a reasonable time to leave me time at the end get to finish in the cut of time 13 hours. All aid stations had a time to be out and fortunately I maintained an hour ahead throughout.

The weather was a little too hot, but luckily there were stretches of shade in wooded areas and as for the scenery, it was breathtaking, but a lot of hard work had to be put in to reach it.

I could not fault the Centurion team of volunteers and crew. They were there for your every need. Plenty of food and bottles/bladders filled for you while you stuffed your face. The cheese and pineapple was wonderful (showing my age with this party treat).

I knew this was going to be tough, with hills and steps, but I never thought it was going to be this hard. The first 3 check points reached and all was good, half way around, seen Shoo and Di twice, Box Hill steps conquered, no aches or pains at the moment. Unfortunately, this didn’t last. Once I hit the unknown miles of 35 plus, my feet started to blister and I had already declined a change of trainers at mile 25!

The continuous up hills, steps, narrow pathways and even the downhills paid its toll on ripping my heals to shreds (slight exaggeration).I battled through with the odd chats and encouragement from other runners on route.

Once I got to the last aid station, filled up the last bladder of water, downed a gel, through a pale of water over my head, I then thought I’ve got this. Then watch failure at mile 46, followed by I’m hungry at mile 48. Half an hour later I finished.

Q: Was it worth it?
A: Absolutely.
Q: Would I do it again?
A: Probably.
Q: Would I recommend this race?
A: Yes indeed.
Q: Would I have done it any differently?
A: Apart from the shoe change, no.
Q: Would I attempt 100 miles?
A: Not just yet.

This would not have been possible without the support of our wonderful wives, Natalie and Diane, for just being themselves and the master Mick Harding who talked me into this race. Love you all.

Now to plan the next race.