London 2 Brighton Ultra Challenge warm up 2023

Super Times In Non-Stop Ultra

London to Brighton – challenge accepted!

It's not unusual for lots of people to head for the coast on a rare sunny Bank Holiday weekend. And that's exactly what 1,058 runners and walkers did in the London 2 Brighton 100K Ultra Trail Challenge on 27-28 May 2023 – the first of 14 endurance events from 10K 'tasters' to 100K ultras held on fabulous long-distance trails from the Isle of Wight to the Lake District that comprise the Ultra Challenge Series 2023.

London 2 Brighton Ultra Challenge is now in its 11th year and the Capital to Coast route starts at Old Deer Park, Richmond-Upon-Thames, and finishes at Brighton Racecourse on Whitehark Hill on the edge of the fabulous South Downs.

As you would expect the full 100K experience is not for everyone so there are first-quarter, first-half, and second-half options, as well as the opportunity to complete the full distance non-stop or with an overnight halfway camping stop at Tulley's Farm, Turners Hill near Crawley.
The comprehensive support package from the Ultra Challenge team can include camping facilities, personal transfers, and baggage transfers, as well as meals en route. The runners obviously travel light and appreciate the provision of snacks and drinks at the four official intermediate rest stops, in addition to the finish line stations at 25K, 56K, and 100K.

The first finish line was at Oaks Park and the First Quarter 25K Challenge winners were Catherine Raynsford (2:28:26) and Mark Batchelor (2:32:01). On to the First Half 56K Challenge finish at Tulley's Farm and it was Chris Poirier (6:16:37) and Ana Lomelino (7:12:25) who were the leading finishers. The Second Half 44K Challenge was led by Matt Pilgrim (2:23:32) and Roxana Chu (3:06:04).

Simple maths shows the combined times of the individual winners of the two halves were 8:40:09 and 10:18:29. So compare that with the actual winning times of the non-stop 100K challenge, which were 7:37:10 and 9:37:38 respectively!

The men's champion this year was Matthew Coakes who was half an hour faster than Luke Deane (8:08:01) and almost an hour ahead of Charlie Martin (8:35:23). The women's winner was Gail Hartill who had to knuckle down to stay just a few minutes ahead of Sarah Penny (9:41:28), with Justine Putnam third in 10:06:33.

Full results and last year's race report are at runABC South race listing here.

Image of pre-race warm-up in Old Deer Park courtesy of Ultra Challenge on Facebook

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