Sunday 11 June 2023

South Downs Way - Part Four


 Having run most of the South Downs Way I just needed to do the last little bit - 20 miles from Falmer to Beachy Head.  But while I've been very lucky with the weather so far this one was REALLY hot and sunny and this part of the Way is very open with very little shade.


Added to this it was also very busy.  I get the impression that this part of the Way is pretty busy anyway but this week I got caught up in the Macmillan Mighty Hike - 26 miles from Brighton to Eastbourne and mostly using the South Downs Way.

Weaving round walkers who were mostly unaware of your presence was hard work, as were the hills in the heat.  The first one which got me was at the 8 mile point.  I got up there but I felt very faint at the top and had to have a little sit down.

Can you spot all the Macmillan walkers?

Somehow I kept going but by mile 15 there was a lot more walking than running.

How I expected most of the Way to be

Getting to the Seven Sisters was a major achivement and I only had a couple more mile to complete my distance target.  If I'd thought the hills before were bad, these were crazy.  I was so tempted to go down to hands and knees, but with so many people around didn't think it was quite the done thing.

I ended up stopping at Birling Gap, just missing Beachy Head by a couple of miles.  But I was exhasted and running on empty.  I'd finished all my water and had nothing more to give.  'im outdoors picked me up and took me up to the Beachy Head car park where we had ice cream and a well deserved sit down.


So there we go, I've managed to run pretty much the whole South Downs Way.  It was a great experience, something I'm really pleased I managed to do.  It was amazing to see the landscape change as I went.  And I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful place.   I am also grateful that there are only 3 more weeks until my race and I can cut down on the running and get back to a more 'normal' life.

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