Posted 9 May 2016 by Andrew Gardner
Running, cycling and walking are just a few of the activities you can enjoy on the South Downs. Now, I love walking and would pass as a reasonable cyclist, but running... sorry, not my bag, though I totally doff my hat to those who do it.
My idea of a pleasure walk or ride would involve no time limit other than daylight and access to a nice pub serving Sussex ale en route. So when I heard a BBC radio presenter talking enthusiastically about running the South Downs 100, I duly doffed said hat. Taking place in June, it starts near Winchester and uses the South Downs Way, with glowing descriptions on its website of all the lovely scenery competitors will be able to enjoy en route. Scenery? Take in? I think not. Because you have to complete it inside 30 hours. Anyone who can run for that long, in my view, can be excused the scenery, although it's a shame as they'll be missing a treat.
Further exploration of the subject revealed that 100 miles is a fairly common challenge, and the South Downs very much a favourite venue. At various points in the year you could do a cycling sportive starting at Chichester, or run a relay, with the first of 15 legs going from Beachy Head to Exceat. There's also an off-road cycling challenge, which at least has the option of a 35-miler as well.
Some of these events put me in two minds. The South Downs Way is so beautiful, it's wonderful for as many people as possible to experience it yet such as shame to do so in a hurry. But I respect the people who do these races and sincerely hope they bring in trade for local businesses - ours included, of course. If you're visiting Sussex for one of these feats of human endurance, have a look at our website for a choice of gorgeous South Downs self-catering options, whether it's for your support team to relax in or for you to put your feet up afterwards. Click here to browse our selection of cottages.
And I hope what you see will inspire you to come back and see the South Downs in a more relaxed way. Because that way you'll really get under Sussex's skin.