On Saturday the 8th June over 2,000 runners took part in the South Downs marathon series based at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. The event included a full marathon, a marathon relay, a half marathon and a 4 mile family fun run all organised by Hampshire based company 2:09 Events.

The first competitors arrived to camp on the Friday night and by Saturday morning at 8.00am 6 coaches were parked outside the visitor centre ready to take the full marathon runners to Slindon College, the official start point for the main event.

A good finish time for the 26 miles, with its total elevation gain of 5728 feet and loss of 5523 feet, was under 4 hours. All race results will be posted on the 2:09  website at

The half-marathon and 4 mile run started and finished at QECP with all races timed to finish over a similar time.

The marathon has been going for several years now and has become a classic in the Trail Runners calendar, helped no doubt by the fantastic South Downs scenery, and by the organisational skills of 2:09.

The half marathon started in 2012 and took off immediately. Although the lower age limit for the marathon is 18 years there is no such barrier for the 4 mile fun run adding to the family appeal of the day.

2:09 Events run other events in the local area as well as in far-flung places such as New York and Tokyo.

For more information about other running or walking events held here at QECP over the Summer go to the Park’s web-site on







On Saturday at 9.00am QECP experienced its first Park Run, along with 139 runners and many helpers.  Park Run is the name given to a collection of 5km runs that take place every week in many differ countries around the world.

They are free to enter and welcome runners of any ability. Entrants are required to register on-line for a unique number and to print their own bar code before taking part. Individual results are then uploaded on-line by volunteers.

Saturdays event was well rehearsed and went without a hitch. As it was the first race the winners now have the course record for at least one week!

Peter. J Collins, recently moved to these parts from Wales, was the male winner in a time of 18 minutes 45 seconds. And Elizabeth Hedley was the female winner in 20.33.

may13 162A total of 37 clubs were represented on the day and one individual was presented with an award for completing 50 different Park Runs. After the race was over the majority of runners retired to the café for tea and cakes.

For more information about this weekly event at QECP, or Park Runs in general go too


Today over 400 brave people took part in the South Downs Trail Challenge which started and finished at the Country Park. With three route options of 8.5 miles for beginners, 15 miles for those more used to distance walking, and finally a 20 miler for the hard-core athletes to either walk or run.
Registration began at 6.30 am in freezing temperatures and with a light dusting of snow. The event began at 7.30 am and everyone had to be back by 5.00pm. At the end of the day only one competitor failed to return in time and they were located very much the worse for wear in one of the local pubs.
The event was organised by the British Heart Foundation who are regulars at the Country Park.
There are many benefits to joining in such an event aside from the obvious one of fundraising for a good cause. The BHF offer training and fundraising advice, they prepare and sign the route carefully and on the day offer refreshments and medical cover.
From the Park’s point of view this type of set up can fit in very well to an already busy site.

More details about the British Heart Foundation can be found at

The medical cover was provided by Hampshire Search and Rescue who are one of the volunteer lowland search and rescue units who provide round the clock assistance to the police.

They also offer medical cover at events as a way of raising much-needed funds. More information is available at

Trailwalker camp

Trailwalker camp

Trailwalker UK is an epic 100km team challenge along the South Downs Way from the Country Park to Brighton Racecourse. Teams of 4 attempt the challenge in a 30 hour timescale which this year was made much more difficult by the wet weather.


449 teams set off on the Saturday morning with starts at 6.00am, 7.00am, 8.00am, 9.00am and finally at 10.00am.  Most of the competitors and their support teams had spent the night under canvas, or in local accommodation, arriving at the Gurkha mobile food station at the crack of dawn on Saturday for a cooked breakfast.



The queue for breakfast

The queue for breakfast

At the end of what was the hardest Trailwalker ever 240 teams of 4 completed the event raising over £1 million for Oxfam projects and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

The top team for fundraising was the appropriately named ‘Pain is just weakness leaving the body’ which raised £4811. 

The Queens Gurkha Signals  started the event in 1981 and when they were redeployed to the UK in 1997 they established it on the South Downs where it has been run ever since on an annual basis.

This year the first team home in a time of 10 hours 54 minutes was fittingly from the regiment. As well as entering teams about 200 soldiers were involved in organising the event helped by staff from major partner Oxfam.     

For more information about Trailwalker go to the web-site on

The start

The start

Gurka pipers

Gurkha pipers

The race start

The race start

On Saturday the 9th June over 1100 people took part in the South Downs Marathon. Now in its 7th year the SDM is considered to be one of the UK’s leading running events. It is organised by 2:09 Events and runs from Slindon College along the rights of way network to the Country Park.

In addition 174 people took part in Marathon Relay and 385 joined in the much shorter Family Fun Run.

The first man home on the Marathon was Paul Jegou who completed the 26 miles in 3:02:51 and the first woman was Naomi Tier in 3:11:16

...and finish

…and finish

2:09 Events is a company that provides event management and training camps for runners of all abilities. For full race  information go to their web-site at

There are more running and cycling events taking place throughout the Summer at QECP. More details on the web-site at