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Race to the King emotions

Battle royal for Race to the King honours

The quest to meet the King at Winchester was enjoyed by 1,500

The stats are simply astonishing. Route: 53.5 miles. Elevation: 4,053 feet. Finishers: 1,533. Non-stop finishers: 896. Winning time: 7hrs 49mins 43secs (pace = 8:45 min/mile). No wonder some finishers can find it quite an emotional experience!

This was the right royal battle for honours in the multi-award-winning Race to the King Ultra by Threshold Sports (Motto: More Is In You) held over the weekend of 19-20 June. A spacious new start at Goodwood Racecourse meant a revised course for the South Downs Way odyssey to finish on the steps of Winchester Cathedral; the burial place of the ancient Kings of England.

Panoramic views, historic landmarks, and 'interesting' weather were the hallmarks of this exciting trail run/trek that was a 'game of two halves' for the mere mortals who split the challenge by camping overnight at Compton Downs Basecamp.

Shunning those creature comforts were the 896 non-stop warriors – modern day foot soldiers with enormous reserves of stamina – who were the first to meet 'the King' at Winchester. 

In less than an eight-hour shift working from home on Zoom, four Knights in shining lycra had arrived at the finish line. David Gaskell (7:49:43), Sam Skinner (7:53:37), Tom Wake (7:55:21) – reprising his third place from 2019 – and Daegan Beaumont (7:55:31) were no doubt awarded the freedom of the City of Winchester by 'the King' in appreciation of their efforts. 

The top three women were hardly Ladies in Waiting, either! Louisa Robbins (8:08:10) was sixth overall, followed by W40 Alissa Ellis (8:24:32) and Tess Alias (9:21:32). There were 896 finishers in 31:06:07.

Making a weekend of it in the Weekender category were Gemma Sandells (8:27:30) and M40 Paul Richardson (9:04:51) having been refreshed by an overnight sojourn at Compton. There were 503 Weekenders welcomed at Winchester within 35:34:59 of starting at Goodwood.

Runners can opt for just one day as an introduction to ultra running and Saturday's sprint was led by Andy Brown (3:17:34) and Catherine Paterson (4:34:43) after 23.4 miles and 1,720 feet of climbing. Sunday's 30.2 miles (2,333 feet) route saw M40 James Whetman (4:26:58) and W40 Amy Brass (5:16:46) leading the troops into battle. 

Full results can be found at runABC South race listing here

Detailed race information at Threshold Trail Series here

Image: Threshold Sports

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