Firle Trail Half Marthon

On 20th December 2012 by Rachael


Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot


Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot

If you live in or near Brighton, you will know of The Ram Inn in Firle.

A weekend pilgrimmage for a walk and Sunday roast, or drink in the sun, is a must for most Brightonites.  But it is also the location for a fantastic trail run, one of the last in the summer season.

Located in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the foot of the South Downs  the start line is moments away from the spectacular Firle Country Estate, home to the 8th Viscount whose family have lived here for over 500 years.

I arrived an hour before the 9.30am start because I had four miles to run first to keep up with my Lake Garda marathon in October and there was something rather special about having the place to myself before anyone else arrived.

It was the start of a hot day and mist hovered over the ground as I ran through rows and rows of corn crops which loomed high over my head, shafts of sun piercing the shadows.

It was probably the best time of the day to run, for by the time the half marathon, the heat had already turned up a notch.

The actual run itself starts off relatively easily over undulating ground, but then it heads up. Steeply.

From the 8-12km mark, the route ascends from around 50metres to 220metres. Don’t enter this if you haven’t done hill training.

It was a relief to hit the South Downs Way, to escape the sun bouncing off the chalk trail.

But the Downs is deceptively tiring on the legs, both because it is undulating and because the grass saps your energy so that your legs have to work harder. (Skip training would be particularly good for this run).

Forget the uphill though. The hardest part was the steep descent via a tarmac road from Firle beaconto Firle Estate.

Bypassing the cute Beanstalk Tea Room, just moments outside of the estate for the second time, you then have to retrace part of the route.

If that is not bad enough, this last three to four mile section crosses over multiple terrain from chalk and gravel to spongy grass, sand and then tarmac.

But challenging yourself is the reason why  I enter races. Or so I told myself.

For the spectacular scenery and the promise of a blow out roast at the end, I would rate this race as a must for anyone who likes trail races and lives in the area, or in London, just 60miles away.

Then again, if you combine it with an overnight stay at The Ram Inn, a walk to Charleston House and tea at The Beanstalk Tea Rooms, you have the makings of a great weekend away.

Run Type: Nature

Terrain: Grass, sand, tarmac, & chalk.

I wore: Brooks Pure Cadence
– barefoot possible in minimalist if used to sharp rocks

Post Run Recovery: Roast salmon and salad. Er, and wine.
And er cake.

Race goodie bag: What goodie bag? Seriously disappointing on this front with no medal, and a choice between a bag, towel or mug. Plus Vitamin Water and a Trek Bar. Still, at least the towel came in handy (and I’ve yet to keep anything from a race goodie bag anyway!)

When: Date tbc but generally falls on first weekend of September

Details: Firle Half Marathon and 10K

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