The South Downs Marathon is a scenic point to point race over the beautiful South Downs. It starts from Slindon College, goes through the Slindon estate to join the South Downs Way at Bignor Hill. It then heads west to finish at the bottom of Butser Hill in Queen Elizabeth Country Park for the classic marathon distance 26.2 miles.
The South Downs Half Marathon was launched in 2012 to offer a shorter trail race to the marathon. The courses were easy with both including steep hill climbs and descents, stony tracks and runner made tracks through the hay fields.
Taking part in the full marathon were nine Bats with four running the distance for the first time. First home for the Bats were Sam Lake who was also second lady overall and her running buddie Steve Hill to finish together in a time of 3.46.07. Jenny West ran her first marathon for the club to finish in a great time of 04.52.29. Julie Page, Mel Greaves and Emma Dooney also ran their first marathon.
For the half marathon, first male Bat home was Phil King who ran a great off road event and was chased across the line by Dave Adams. Club veteran Ralph Elmes was the next man home and finished third in his age group. Lisa Birch was the first lady Bat home. Stew Barwis made his debut for the club and a special well done to Philip Adams who ran his first ever half marathon to finish third in his age group.
As is often the way with the Bats, many ran together in pairs and crossed the line hand in hand; as they finished the usual clapping and screaming support of the team formed at the finish and waited until the last Bat cross the line some six hours after the starting horn.
Also as the weekend lone Bat, Fran Morgan made her way to the foothills of Snowdonia to finish the mountain trail marathon in a great time of 6 hours 16 minutes.