Last updated: 13/03/2015.
The Marlborough Downs Challenge offers two events:
- 33 mile* Trail Race
- 20 mile* Trail Race
* Note that distances are approximate only.
The 33 mile race will be part of the 2015 Runfurther Ultra Championship.
The MDC is a beautiful yet challenging event, mostly off-road along tracks and footpaths. There is plenty of climbing - over 3000 feet for the 33 mile race. The routes take in some of the finest Wiltshire countryside including:
- The Wansdyke Path, Tan Hill Way, White Horse Trail, and Mid Wilts Way with superb views across the Vale of Pewsey
- West Woods and Gopher Wood, with its amazing wild garlic
- Two of the highest points in Wiltshire at Knapp Hill and Tan Hill, where the long and short courses diverge
Plus, on the 33-mile route:
- The Kennet & Avon Canal into Devizes
- Roundway Hill and Morgan's Hill
- Cherhill Monument and White Horse
Finally, the routes rejoin to pass through Avebury, with its pre-historic stone circle and views of Silbury Hill, then go via Overton and Fyfield Downs back to Marlborough Leisure Centre for showers and refreshments.
Important Information for 2015 Entrants
We need to make Marlborough Downs Challenge entrants aware that we are having some issues with obstructions and diversions on the route of the 33 mile route.We have been advised that a section of the
Also on the 33 mile route, the Trust has instructed us to avoid a section of the towpath near Bishops Cannings as it is in poor condition, and we are now looking at alternative footpaths in the area.
We know that some runners like to “recce” parts of the route well in advance of race day. Our advice is to wait for further information on these changes – we will update this information as soon as the problems are resolved.
Feedback from previous participants has been excellent and will give you a flavour of what the event has to offer – click here to see the feedback on the Runner's World website.
The following .pdf files contain the updated route description for each of the two courses in 2014. These route descriptions will be checked again early in 2015 and any updates will be posted in good time before the event.
|20 Mile Route Description|
|33 Mile Route Description|
The Marlborough Downs Challenge is held under UK Athletics Rules (Permit applied for).
Race HQ, Registration and FINISH: Marlborough Leisure Centre, SN8 1PB. Showers and changing facilities available.
Car Parking and START: Marlborough College, SN8 1PA, just off the A4 heading west out of Marlborough.
Numbers will not be sent out in advance but must be collected on the day from the Registration Desk in the Leisure Centre. NB – there is NO PARKING at the Leisure Centre. The race car park is in the grounds of Marlborough College from where it is a 400m walk to the Leisure Centre
Start & Finish Times:
- 33-mile Trail Race – start at 9:00am
- 20-mile Trail Race – starts at 10:30am
- Finish closes at 5.30pm
A cut off time will be applied at Checkpoint 3 (9.2miles) where the routes divide – anyone on the 33-mile route arriving after 11:15am will be directed to the 20-mile route. Other cut off times may be applied for safety reasons.
Navigation & Safety: All entrants will be sent a route description by email; copies will also be posted on this website. The Marlborough Downs Challenge courses are unmarked although there are some arrows for assistance at various points. Competitors are recommended to carry a map – the most appropriate is OS 1:25,000 Explorer Sheet 157 – and compass.
Suitable footwear must be worn or carried. This is a primarily an off-road event often remote from public roads. Mobile phones may not work in all locations. Parts of the route can be muddy. Remember, if the weather is wet and/or cold at the Start then it will be very wet and very cold on the Downs. If it is sunny then don't forget to apply sunscreen.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY
Refreshments: Cold drinks and refreshments will be provided at checkpoints on both routes. As in previous years we expect to provide five checkpoints on the 20-mile route and eight checkpoints on the 33-mile.
The entry fee includes a hot meal (including a vegetarian option) and drinks at the Finish.
Prizes: All finishers will receive a souvenir from the White Horse Pottery – www.whitehorsepottery.co.uk
There will be trophies in both the 33-mile Trail Race and the 20-mile Trail Race for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Men and Ladies as well as 1st place in each of the following age categories:
- Men: M40, M50, M60
- Ladies: F40, F50, F60
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