Trail Running Sussex

Scenic Inspiring Trail Running


2020 Virtual High Weald Challenge



Welcome to the 2020 Virtual High Weald Challenge Trail Races


The 2020 Virtual (Time-trial / Leader-board) High Weald Challenge Trail Races consisted of a 50km ultra trail and / or a trail half marathon over the official High Weald Challenge routes, which took place BETWEEN Tuesday 18th August and Sunday 27th September 2020.


The 2020 Race Results are available immediately below.

Ultra Trail Results 2020 - Clicc HERE.

Trail Half Marathon Results 2020 - Click HERE.

The results are also available on the website - half marathon and click here for - 50km ultra trail where it is possible to sort the race results differently, e.g. name alphabetical order, gender oder, or age category order.


History of the Actual High Weald Challenge Trail Race

Trail Running Sussex have been organising trail races within East Sussex since May 2014, when the inaugural Weald Challenge Trail Races took place. Following the success of the Weald Challenge, the High Weald Challenge 50km Ultra Trail Race took place on Sunday 27th September 2015. In September 2016, a trail half marathon was added to the High Weald Challenge Trail Races, however, unfortunately mainly due to time constraints on Race Director Stuart Mills, the decision was made to no longer offer the High Weald Challenge Trail Races after 2016.

The Thoughts Behind The 2020 VIRTUAL High Weald Challenge

Over the last few years many runners have asked whether we will be holding the High Weald Challenge event again as they really loved the route, which could be regarded as being one of the most scenic trail runs within the south of England, with an amazing variety of terrain and views.  With there being many races cancelled this year due to the coronavirus, and with some of these events offering a virtual race instead, we thought that this would be a great opportunity to hold a virtual High Weald Challenge. Our virtual race is however slightly different, as our virtual race requires the runners to run along the official trail route, thereby enabling runners to experience the extremely awesome routes of the High Weald Challenge Trail Races, so like a time-trial where each runners starts at a different time, but their overall time to complete the same official route is added to the race leader-board. Whilst at the same time participants in the event will be part of an online community, with the regularly updated leader-board, and hopefully an active facebook event page, as well as receiving the 'Weald Famous' High Weald Challenge handmade coffee mug, and a High Weald Challenge finishers medal. (Please see below for momento details).

In addition, with many races/runners now being more conscious of the need to reduce waste, with cup-less races being a norm within trail racing, and the excellent Trees Not Tees and Rerun Clothing organisations, we thought this would be an ideal time to empty our race director Stuart Mills' loft and for the High Weald Challenge coffee mugs and finisher medals from 2015/16 to be enjoyed by runners, rather than perhaps eventually ending up within a landfill!


Trail Half Marathon and 50km Ultra Trail - From Tuesday 18th August 2020 Through to Sunday 27th September 2020

The 2020 Virtual High Weald Challenge Trail Races follow the long distance paths of the High Weald Landscape Trail, the Vanguard Way and the Wealdway. Both races start and finish in the East Sussex village of Groombridge, and encompass the surrounding beauty of the Sussex countryside en route, with a small venture into the Kent countryside during the last few miles. The courses are approximately 80% off-road, and as the runners travel along the picturesque and undulating routes, they will take in a great variety of landscapes containing rolling hills, irregular shaped fields and ancient woodlands. Runners participating in the 50km Ultra Trail race will experience the added bonus of the spectacular views from the open heathland of the Ashdown Forest, and also cross the famous Pooh Sticks Bridge from Winnie the Pooh fame.

Pooh Sticks Bridge Pooh Sticks Bridge

Pooh Sticks Bridge

Race Entry

Click the link below to enter online through the RaceDirector website.

Enter Here

Entry Fees

Virtual 2020 High Weald Challenge Trail Half Marathon - £10

Virtual 2020 High Weald Challenge 50km Ultra Trail - £10

BOTH RACE DISTANCES: Virtual 2020 High Weald Challenge Trail Half Marathon AND 50km Ultra Trail - £15 Total


Entries close on Sunday 27th September, this being the FINAL DAY for the VIRTUAL (Time-trial / Leader-board) race.

There is a total race entry limit of 216 runners, due to the availability of High Weald Challenge race momentos* (*See immediately below within "The Entry Fee Includes" sub-section).


The Entry Fee Includes

A great run along a clearly described undulating scenic trail route

A regularly updated leader-board for each distance so you can track your progress against others

The opportunity to complete the virtual race as many times as you choose to (no extra cost for repeat runs / time submissions) during the six week race window, to enable you to improve your ranking on the leader-board

Detailed route description resources available to download, including gpx files, detailed route description within 'Road Book' booklets, clearly indicated route within 'Map Book' booklets, a Google Earth Flyover video, and six Audio Notes/Photos videos for each of the six legs of the 50km route. Please note, the trail half marathon consists of legs 1, 5 and 6 of the 50km ultra route. Although the final leg, i.e. leg 3 of the half marathon route is slightly different to leg 6 of the ultra route, with it being 1.1 miles shorter.

A small donation from every entry fee (10%) to the Vanguard Rambling Club – Vanguard Way Working Party, to help provide a little bit of assistance for the great work they do in maintaining the Vanguard Way long-distance footpath trail.

A quality bespoke High Weald Challenge finishers medal AND / OR a quality bespoke handmade High Weald Challenge event coffee mug*. *As indicated within the Thoughts Behind The 2020 VIRTUAL High Weald Challenge sub-section above, one rationale for the virtual races was to make use of the already purchased High Weald Challenge coffee mugs and finisher medals from 2015/16. So whether all finishers receive a coffee mug and / or a finishers medal will be dependent upon how many entries we receive.

There is an entry limit of 216, as we only have 216 High Weald Challenge Momentos, consisting of 66 coffee mugs, 71 half marathon medals and 79 ultra medals. Therefore:

- If between 151 - 216 entrants, each runner will receive one momento, with the first 66 runners to enter receiving a coffee mug, unless, after having completed the official High Weald Challnge route nad submitted their time, they e-mail us to inform us that they would prefer a medal instead of a coffee mug.

- If between 67 - 150 entries, the first 66 runners to enter will receive both a coffee mug AND a medal, with all other runners receiving only a medal.

- If less than 67 entries, all runners will receive both a coffee mug AND a medal,

Runners that enter both race distances will receive a momento(s) for each race. As pictured below, the High Weald Challenge coffee mugs do not indicate the race distance, however, the medal ribbons do indicate whether the runner finished the trail half marathon or the 50km ultra trail.

Note: The trail half marathon medal ribbons do not indicate any year, however 53 of the 79 ultra trail medal ribbons have the year 2016 printed. Not a problem though, remember one of the virtual race aims is to reduce waste, so each of these 53 ultra trail medal ribbons have been lovingly sewn to remove the unwanted 2016. See photo below.

Hopefully the above makes some sense! Due to the different scenarios described, there is an advantage to enter early. Also, we won't be able to post out the finisher momentos until we know how many runners have completed the route(s) before the cut-off date of Sunday 27th September 2020, which is five years to the day, since the inaugural High Weald Challenge took place back in 2015.


How To Complete the Virtual High Weald Challenge Event?

Participating in a virtual event means you can complete the official High Weald Challenge route, which starts and finishes in Groombridge, East Sussex, at any time within the event time frame. You choose the day which suits you best. Perhaps, run the route with a friend and/or family whilst adhering to the England Athletics Covid-19 regulations which allow groups to be either 2 household units or a maximum of 6 people, whilst maintaining social distancing. Once you have entered the virtual race, we will send you an email with a step by step guide, as well as a link to the race route webpage, which contains links to detailed route resources.

The last day to enter is Sunday 27th September 2020, the fifth anniversary of the inaugural High Weald Challenge Trail Race.

Once entered into your chosen event(s), i.e. 50km ultra and/or trail half marathon, complete the distance and then submit your overall elapsed time within the results submission webpage. The link to the results submission webpage will be contained within the entry confirmation e-mail which you will receive upon entering.

We would also like to encourage you to post a photo of yourself running the High Weald Challenge on our Trail Running Sussex facebook page and leave a comment about your run. Below is race director Stuart's GPS watch displaying his half marathon time, and a photo at the finish of a rather hot run during this current August 2020 heat wave!


Start / Finish Location

Groombridge Village Hall, Station Rd, Groombridge, East Sussex TN3 9QX. Start/Finish location map LINK on Goggle Maps.


The Route

Once you have entered the virtual race, we will send you an email with a link to the High Weald Challenge race route webpage where you can find out more about the route for both trail races including maps, road books with detailed route descriptions, downloadable GPX files, elevation profiles, and videos.

Ashdown Forest Tree Clump

The Distinctive Ashdown Forest Tree 'Clump'

Ashdown Forest

The Ultra Trail Route Travels Alongside the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Course


Race Records

There were two editions of the High Weald Challenge 50km Ultra Trail (2015-16), and one editition of the High Weald Challenge Trail Half Marathon (2016). The course records for the two race distances are:

Trail Half Marathon

Andy Howey 1:30:19 Kelly Jarvis 1:45:30

50km Ultra Trail

Mark Denby 3:58:09 Helena Eames 5:07:55

Full race results for the Actual High Weald Challenge Trail Races are availble on the Trail Running Sussex Rsults webpage.


Race Momentos

All finishers will receive a quality bespoke handmade High Weald Challenge event coffee mug, AND / OR (please see above within the Race Entry - The Entry Fee Includes sub-section) a quality bespoke High Weald Challenge finishers medal.

coffee mugmedal

loads of mugs

The half marathon medal ribbon (red) and the ultra medal ribbon before and after being sewn to remove the 2016. Also please note that the vast majority of coffee mugs we have left over are blue with only a few cream mugs.

Video of the 2015 Actual Race

Click HERE to view a video of the 2015 event on the Film My Run Youtube channel.


A selection of photos from the 2016 Actual High Weald Challenge Trail Races


A selection of feedback from the 2016 High Weald Challenge Trail Races

Great race Stuart. Beautiful route. Fantastic friendly atmosphere and Francis's cakes were delicious as always. Thank you to you all for all your hard work. Looking forward to next year already.

My first ever trail half (or any race) thanks for the great experience I’ll be back next year to tackle the 50k ultra.
‎A wonderful HM on Sunday. Well organised, gorgeous course and fantastic coffee and cakes. Thanks to the team and marshals. I will be back.

Great event, the marshals along the route have been lovely and huge thanks to the guys at the finish who looked after me when I felt a bit dizzy and provided me with a huge bottle of coke. Made it save home and will definitely be back next year.

Thank you Stuart and all the volunteers too who made today what it was. I had a cracking 2nd High Weald Challenge 50k.

What an awesome race today at the High Weald....ultra last year half this and really is a beautiful place to run. Lovely people...great marshals...thank you Stuart...see you next year...  fastly becoming my favourite races. Thank you and keep up the good work 

Thanks for putting on an excellent event today, my first with you and look forward to many more! Loved it from start to finish, well organised and marked out, and great countryside views. See you at the Weald Challenge!

Thank you for such a great event!! We really enjoyed yesterday :) xx

I just wanted to say thank you for the considerable time and effort you put in to making the High Weald Ultra such a testing but enjoyable day.  A big thank you to you and your team of helpers, all very encouraging and supportive on the way round. Also some lovely cakes very much enjoyed!

Hi Stuart,  I wanted to say thank you for a phenomenal race yesterday. It was my first ultra and way beyond any distance I have ever done before.

Firstly, many thanks for a great event. Interesting route through great scenery. Well marked & easy to follow. Great feed-stations. Friendly officials. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  Many thanks.

My husband did the half marathon while I did the 50k and we both had a very positive experience.  The aid stations are well spaced (but not too far); the volunteers were cheerful and welcoming when we got to the stations; the "picnic" goodies were very yummy.  There was only one slight hiccup for me on the ultra markings but luckily realised before I went too far off track.  All in all, for my first 50k, a very positive experience and one which I hope to repeat with you again next year. 

Just to say thanks for the weekend - really enjoyed it! I'll definitely be back and will recommend to others. 


A selection of feedback from the 2015 High Weald Challenge 50km Ultra Trail

Huge thanks to you and your amazing team for a wonderful day - the course was stunning, and the organisation of the event was spot-on... we even saw a herd of deer gallop through the woods in front of us! A truly special day... thank you.

Thanks for a fantastic run, lovely route and glorious scenery. Thanks to everyone involved in the organisation and to all the other runners I chatted to on the way round.

Thank you so much for a fabulous day. Everything was perfect, the organisation, the weather, the route was stunning and had everything I love about trail running, the marshals were all so friendly, the camaraderie and the lovely coffee mug and medal made it extra special.

What an awesome route with fantastic views across the countryside. Definitely not my quickest run but by slowing it down I enjoyed it so much more than if beasting it. Thank you.

Another fab day! Thanks so much! Will put in my diary for next year.

My thanks too for creating such a beautiful route and for organising a really enjoyable race. The printed route directions were fantastic - thanks for making the huge effort in preparing them.

Thanks so much Stuart for organising and creating such a fantastic course. It was my first ultra and what a special one it was. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped to make it such a great day. Look forward to coming back next year.

Wonderful event. Everything was perfect (even the weather for a change) and I love my mug. Will be back next year hopefully. Thanks to all who organised it.

 Many many thanks Stuart and team for such and awesome event. It was my first ultra, it was a spectacular course and I loved every minute of it.


A selection of photos from the 2015 Actual High Weald Challenge 50km Ultra Trail

Our Supporters

We are proud that our race is associated with the following supporters.

The Langham Hotel, a fine Eastbourne establishment which was Eastbourne’s first AA 4 star hotel, is owned by the Kirby family who are active trail runners.  Due to their involvement in trail running, and with Neil thoroughly enjoying his runs in the Weald Challenge 50km Ultra Trail, the Langham Hotel are offering rooms to Weald Challenge runners at discount rates. Please call them directly on 01323 731451 if you wish to enquire.

Taylor St Baristas Cafés are located in London, plus Taylor St Baristas Delivered selects and curate for you some of the world’s best coffees – tailored to your personal preference, delivered to your door, as and when you need it.also they deliver. Whenever you pop into a Taylor St café, you can rest assured you’re going to get a truly good cup of coffee.  Every cup of Taylor St coffee is prepared by highly qualified baristas, (A person who is specially trained in the making and serving of coffee drinks).  Like a chef's, the barista’s knowledge, skills and techniques critically affect the quality of the product they are preparing.  Taylor St Baristas provide the complimentary coffee to all finishers at the Weald Challenge Trail Races.

The Lets Run Store is a dedicated online retail store for the Ultra & Trail running community. Born out of a passion of running and the obsession for the right kit The Lets Run Store should be your No1 choice. The Lets Run Store offers a 15% discount (with a minimum spend of £50) to all Weald Challenge runners on all products within their online retail store. The discount can be used from the moment you enter the Weald Challenge race. Included within your race entry confirmation e-mail will be the discount code to receive the discount from the The Lets Run Store.

Montane® - The leading brand of lightweight, multisport, endurance mountain gear. Montane® has become synonymous with lightweight and breathable clothing, and is therefore the ideal clothing for trail running. Race director and trail runner Stuart Mills recommends Montane clothing for trail running, especially the Slipstream GL Jacket - the World's Lightest Windproof Jacket, for those days when the weather looks okay when you start your run, but you just aren't sure!

TORQ provide a highly developed range of performance nutrition products, including TORQ bars and gels. TORQ have uncompromising standards, and absolutely refuse to use ingredients that are not derived from a NATURAL source, or don’t naturally occur within the human body. TORQ bars are delicious, moist and chewy, and packed with usable carbohydrate. The texture of the TORQ gel is light and syrupy, and the flavours of the gels are sensational. 

Taylor St BaristasMontaneTORQLangaham Hotel Ultra Runner Store




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