North Downs Frequently Asked Questions

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The registration for the half / marathon will be hosted at the Bridge House Hotel, Reigate Hill, Reigate, Surrey RH2 9RP here race HQ. The start time for the marathon will be at 9.00am sharp and race will start in a small field close to the Wray Lane Car Park adjacent to the North Downs Way trail, which will be well signposted. The marathon route is a two lap out / back course which starts adjacent to the North Downs Way trail and traverses past the Betchworth Quarry out towards the East Car Park where both turnaround points are. The start time for the half marathon is 9.30am sharp, this route also starts in a small field adjacent to the Wray Lane Car Park adjacent to the North Downs Way and heads out along the same run route as the marathon traversing past the Betchworth Quarry out towards the East Car Park turnaround point, before returning to the start. This sandy and rutted trail is challenging and there are some stunning views of the surrounding Surrey downs. It will be very well marked and marshalled throughout with very well stocked check points.

We won’t be having a race briefing on the day (due to the current situation) so all race instructions will be sent out in advance and will be contained within the race packs which will be posted in advance of race day. All the race information that you’ll need is also contained within the FAQ’s including maps of the run-route which will be very well marked and marshalled in advance of the event staging. 

The registration at the Bridge House Hotel (Reigate) HQ here will be open from 7.00 am sharp only for runners that are switching from the marathon to the half or those that might not have received their race packs as the majority of race packs have been posted out in advance, with the exception of those that registered after Wednesday 23th June. If you still need to switch or collect your race pack on the day we would suggest that you get here with plenty of time to spare in order to get changed and get your baggage secured in the conference room area, this will be signposted at Race HQ. We don’t accept liability for any loss of personal possessions if you leave baggage, but there will be someone in charge of the baggage there, we would suggest keeping your bags locked in your cars. There is an on-site car park for your use which will be free of charge although there will only 70 spaces so please ensure you arrive early if you wish to park here. The other designated parking that will be available will be at the Reigate Train Station here the Race HQ is an uphill walk up London Road from this train station, it’s exactly 1.17 miles (20 min walk) there are 70 parking bays there too so you will have to pay and display should you decide to park here.There are also a number of residential roads in fairly close proximity to the race HQ, but please ensure you park in the unrestricted roads close by. 

There will be changing facilities in the conference room area for Male / Female runners to change in and in addition toilets facilities within the Bridge House Hotel HQ.outside the hotel but please be aware that your fellow runners may also require calls of nature pre-race too so be considerate when using the facilities and do not use these for the purposes of changing please. 

This is a hilly course which is not easy as there are some technical assents / descents and the trail conditions are variable in nature dependant on the weather, you can safely add on at least 1 hr – 1.5 hrs hour to your normal road marathon time. There will be a strictly enforced cut off time of 7.5 hrs (for the marathon) with a halfway cut off time of 3.30 hrs which will be at the Start / Finish point so if you do not complete your first half marathon within this time you will not be able to continue the marathon. The route is challenging overall with a mixture of undulating trail interspersed with tree roots, some rocky sections and there can be rutted parts of the course too. After the Betchworth Quarry the course is demanding and as you approach Boxhill there are quite a number of stairs to climb both up and down so please exercise caution and run sensibly on these technical sections. As the temperatures at this time of the year can also be warm, attention to detail is vital and your sweat rates will increase due to the elevation of the course, so drinking little and often is advisable whilst also ensuring you keep your blood sugar levels well topped up by taking the GU Energy Gels provided or Chia Charge bars at the respective check points. The half marathon is also technical  with the same some steep assents / descents and challenging trails to contend with although the overall cut off time for the half marathon will be 7 hrs so if you are running the half marathon you should have plenty of time to complete the course. 

Yes there will be marshals all along the route especially at the Pebble Down road crossing which is a very busy road crossing, we would kindly request that you remove any MP3 players iPods on this section and pay full attention to the traffic conditions at this road crossing. There will also be marshals  at all the respective check points situated at the Start / Finish CP1, Betchworth Station approach CP2 East Car Park CP3 – turnaround point. Please be courteous to all our staff as they are there to help you and they volunteer their time to ensure that you enjoy your day, so please show respect and courtesy to all marshals along the route and enjoy your trail running experience. 

At the 3 Check Points including the Start / Finish CP1, Pebble Down Road CP2 and East Car Park CP3 and we will have a selection of food and drinks including GU Energy gels, Chia Charge bars and water. As this is a very challenging course so I would strongly recommend bringing a hydration pack so that you can carry your electrolyte drinks in a bladder or bottles, and to also ensure you can carry gels or food that you’ll will need on race day to keep your blood sugar levels topped up (to prevent hyperglycaemia) and water / electrolytes to maintain hydration to prevent dehydration and cramping.  

There will be pop-up bins provided at all the check points for your plastic water bottles or gel sachets to be discarded. We would urge you not to discard any litter on the North Downs Way trail please, but to please use the bins provided. The marshals will take any litter from you too so please just keep it your hydro pack until you get to a marshal, or use the bins provided at 3 check point locations. 

I will be marking the course with fixed Hermes Running pink / black chevron signage and red signal flags throughout the North Downs Way run-route and in addition there will be fixed acorn signs denoting the North Downs Way trail. I will also be adding fixed caution runner pink / black signage on the road section approach to warn you and motorists but please take extra care with when crossing Pebble Down road and watch out for approaching traffic, as this road crossing can be busy and there will be marshals stationed here too, to assist all our runners. 

If you are feeling unwell and need to retire from the race, please contact me David Ross 0798 4540177  and inform us. You can also inform a marshal or a first aider and they will pass on the message to us. Please on no account leave the course without informing us of your whereabouts as your safety is our main priority. My contact number will be printed on the front of the race bib if needed and we would urge you to complete your emergency contact information too at the back of your race bibs.

There is an on-line entry limit of 350 runners inclusive for the full and half marathons, although we might also accept some entries on the day on a discretionary basis. 

No mandatory kit is required,  though I would highly recommend bringing a hydration pack or bottles that you can carry in order to ensure you are well hydrated throughout the event.I would also recommend checking the predicted weather forecast on BBC Weather here and I will also send out a pre-race brief on the weather conditions expected just to ensure that you bring along the right race apparel in advance of your race day. Hybrid shoes highly are recommended for this demanding route as conditions underfoot can be quite challenging. 

Yes there will be limited parking of 60 spaces on site at the Bridge House Hotel (Reigate) here at the race HQ on a first come / first serve basis so please bear this in mind and arrive early if you wish to park on-site, as the registration starts from 7.30 am, so we would urge you to get there early if you need a parking space. There will also be additional parking at the Reigate Train Station here and there are 70 spaces available on a pay and display basis.It is a walk of exactly 1.17 miles (20 mins) from this car park uphill on London Road to race HQ. There are also unrestricted parking spaces in the surrounding residential roads close to the race HQ that you can park in.

If you’re coming by train the nearest station is Reigate Train Station here which is exactly a 1.17 mile (20 min) walk uphill on the London Road to the Bridge House Hotel (Reigate) race HQ. For train details here please refer to the Trainline link here.

  • North Downs bespoke Rams Head horse brass medal.
  • Winners’ trophies for the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Male / Female runners for each event.
  • Timing Monkey professional chip timing. 
  • Gareth Parker Photography photo’s will be available to purchase for £7.50 shortly after the event. 
  • Well stocked check points supplying GU Energy Gels, Chia Charge bars and water. 
  • KLP Medical Supplies professional medical support through the race for all runners. 
  • Free on-site parking on a first come, first serve basis at the Bridge House Hotel (Reigate). 

Yes the photography will be done by Gareth Parker Photography and the race photographs will be £7.50 each and will be available after they have been uploaded, shortly after the race has taken place.  

Winners’ trophies will be awarded to the Male / Female 1, 2 & 3 runners for each race distance and these will be posted out after the event has been staged. 

We will have qualified medics managed by Kevin Peach from KLP Medical Supplies he will be providing professional medical support on race day. Your safety is of paramount importance to us and if you’re feeling unwell prior to or on race day we would strongly urge you not to run. If you have to retire from the race due to feeling unwell please ensure that you notify a medic, marshal or one of us so that we can account for you. My contact number will be clearly displayed on the front of your race bibs for this reason.

Yes we work closely with GU Energy and Chia Charge who are the main nutritional sponsors for our event electrolyte drinks and energy bars that will be at our check points.We recommend using these products as they are there for a specific reason and that is to help balance the electrolytes lost when sweating and help restore glycogen levels, enabling you to have more fuel in the tank and prolonged energy. It is in your interests to pay particular attention to drinking little and often especially if it’s a hot day due to increased sweat rates that can occur, as a 2% drop in body weight (caused by excessive sweating) can lead to a 20% drop off in overall performance.The responsibility for your fuelling needs lies solely with you,though our check points will be well stocked to ensure that you are sufficiently catered for during the race.

If you have to use music players (MP3 Players / iPod’s) please ensure that these are the Aftershokz over-ear bone conducting earphones, not in-ear earphones as your health and safety is our primary concern, and we ask you to comply with our marshals instructions at road-crossing and to be courteous of all other trail users. The use of any earphones in accordance with our “terms and conditions” of entry also means that if you use any form of earphones, you do so at your own risk. 

The race is fully TRA (Trail Running Association) Permitted 4010 and UKA (UK Athletics) certified, professionally chip timed and is this respect we have all the necessary indemnifications in place required for these to be officially recognised events. The marathon can be used for Good For Age (GFA) qualification for the London Marathon and as a pre-qualification event for the Comrades Ultra Marathon (South Africa).

The time limit for the half marathon is 7hrs and for the marathon it’s 7.5hrs, there will be a cut off at the half way point at the East Car Park turnaround of 3.5hrs for the marathon. 

To adhere to UKA and TRA licensing requirements there is a minimum age that runners need to be to participate in race meetings for the half marathon it’s 17 years old and for the marathon it’s 18 years old. 

We operate a no refunds policy as initially stated at the point of entry. We do however reserve the right to offer future switches or deferrals if the event cannot take place for reasons out of the control of race management including but not limited to flooding, severe weather or denial of access to the original course. Race management also reserve the right to postpone the event until a later date and all entries will be carried forward to this date and refunds may not be offered under these circumstances. Event cancellation due to reasons such as Coronavirus (COVID 19) or other such pandemic, public health, local authority travel and movement restrictions and bans of any kind etc. are beyond our control and no refund will be given in such circumstances. 

 

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