A unique opportunity to experience a quiet corner of rural England in Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn! Four weekends of running a varierty of challenges
The Ranscombe Challenge doesn't quite fit in with our quest to bring you even flatter or even more mud free courses but when you experience running round this beautiful rural reserve on rolling chalk downland trail amidst an array of wildflowers, wildlife and views over North Kent and the Medway (it's a minute from the M2 Google Map) you'll understand why we couldn't resist the detour from our norm!
In fact the course is so pretty we thought we'd give you the opportunity to savour it for even longer – each event has a time limit to run as many of the 3.8 mile laps as you can or want!
Having completed lots of marathons we believe we know what it takes to put on an enjoyable marathon for the fit, the dedicated and the hardcore long distance runners. And for those, like ourselves, who fit none of those categories, we'll do our best to get you round! We put on marathons run exactly the way we wish they were all run - low key, friendly and with most of the entry fee being spent on the runners.
For this race we're the guests of the Ranscombe Farm Reserve, who exist to maintain this corner of England as a haven for wild flowers to flourish in. They are the flagship reserve for the charity Plantlife International , speaking up for wild plants!
It's our aim that this event makes an impactful difference to the Trust in a positive fashion and as such £5 from each entry fee will be donated directly to the Trust to aid them in maintaining this lovely environment.
Please explore the race and consider joining us!
There are hills, the North Downs Way crosses part of the reserve, and being totally on trail there is the chance of a bit of mud but the well stocked aid station, a unique custom made medal and a goody bag that actually contains goodies will make the undulations and any mud more than worth it. (But it is on chalk downlands so does drain pretty well!)
Two 8 Hour Timed Challenges
Bespoke "Autumn" Medal each day
Our famous goody bags!
£35.00 per day (includes £5 donation per day)
What do I get?
You will receive
1) A really special finishers medal, custom made and designed, not a generic one.
2) A goody bag at the finish, which has goodies in, not a bunch of adverts. There will be nothing healthy in our goody bags, things they contain for example, chocolate, crisps, cider.
3) A well stocked base camp with plenty of nibbles and refreshments for during and post race replenishment, including the legendary Rachel's Rocky Road!
Where do I park?
Parking is limited on site and we'll have to leave it till quite late to ascertain what "on site" parking we'll be able to utilise as the number of days that the main parking area can be used is strictly controlled and whilst we have several other alternatives these (especially for the Winter and Spring Challenges) will be dependant on the weather and the workings and requirements of the farm and reserve.
We also have a couple of "off site" areas that can be utilised too and again we'll advise runners before each event where are the best places to park. It's possible in some instances that it will involve a bit of a walk to the start/finish area, but we'll try to keep this to a minimum of course and in all cases we do encourage people to car share/car pool to both be environmentally friendly and to take the pressure off the parking areas.
How do I get there?
Train : The main entrance is just under 1 mile from Cuxton station on the Medway Valley Line. Strood station, served by the High Speed Rail Service and the North Kent Coast line, is 2 miles away.
Car: Take the exit at junction 2 of the M2 motorway, and follow directions to Cuxton, Snodland and West Malling on the A228. The entrance to the Reserve is just a few hundred yards on the right as you head down the Sundridge Hill. Click here to view a map of area
Bus: Bus route 151 from the Medway Towns runs regularly through the week. The nearest bus-stop to the reserve's main entrance is on Sundridge Hill by Pilgrims Way.
Bus timetables and maps can be found here .
When do I get my race number?
You'll pick this up on race day morning from the race base camp.
Are there time limits?
Yes, eight or twelve hours to run as many laps as you can. You can finish at any time within the time limit and your final distance will be recorded along with your finishing time. Only complete laps within the 8hrs/12 hrs will be recorded or you must have left the aid station for your last lap by 45 minutes from the final cut off. Any runner completing 7 laps will have completed marathon distance and will count as a marathon finish for the purposes of the 100 Marathon Club, if you complete 8 or more laps then you've completed an ultra. As long as you finish one lap then you'll receive an official finish time, medal and goody bag. With timed events there are no DNFs.
Do you have secure baggage facilities
No. But you're free to leave bags at the start/finish. There will always be someone around but we can't guarantee their security, in the event of rain we can't guarantee things won't get wet. You'll be able to park close to the start/finish don't forget.
Trail shoes? Road Shoes?
Trail shoes! Though even in February after the rain this winter, the majority of the paths were very runnable in road shoes, with the exception of a few patches where trail shoes would have kept me stable on the more slippy parts!
Is the course closed to the public?
No. We are using the Ranscombe Farm Reserve which is part of a network of local footpaths and trails and is shared with ramblers, dogwalkers, horseriders and cyclists. Runners do not have the right of way and need to be considerate of other users of the land. Please don't litter, we'll have a bin at the base camp.
What on course facilities do you provide?
Water, squash, nibbles, starter, timekeeper and encouragement every lap! Base station will be well stocked for all runners.
Can I leave personal drinks at the drinks station?
Yes, you may want to label it and we will not be responsible for folks drinking the wrong drinks!
Are there any facilities at the start/finish area?
There will be portable toilets at the race base camp for you to use.
Can I use an ipod or mp3 player on the course?
Yes. Though please be aware that you are running on public footpaths with the general public so make sure that you pay attention to farm vehicles, cyclists, people, dogs, horseriders, wildlife and so on.
Are these events official?
Yes. They are held under UK Athletics Rules. Permits from the Trail Running Association will be available for inspection at base camp if required. Additionally our races are recognized as eligible events by the 100 Marathon Club if you complete the seven laps required for marathon distance then that counts as a marathon, 8 or more and that counts as an ultra.
Can I run with my dog?
Unfortunately no. Running with dogs isn't permitted as we operate under UKA rules and they state that they aren't permitted and aren't included within the insurance coverage that we operate.
Will there be a back runner?
Yes. No one gets left behind.
What are the nearby hotels?
There are lots of B&Bs in the Rochester area, the Trip Advisor list of reviews starts here.
Can I bring supporters?
Absolutely! Bring your family and friends to enjoy this beautiful place! They can bring a picnic, enjoy the walks, or download an explorer trail map to keep the little ones occupied! http://www.wildaboutplants.org.uk/ranscombe/families/explorers/
The entry fee is a little more than normal – why is that?
We are holding this event by kind permission of the Ranscombe Farm Reserve. £5 of every entry fee will be donated to the Ranscombe Farm Reserve for their latest project to provide litter bins around the Reserve to help keep it clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. To find out more about the work of Ranscombe Farm Reserve please go to http://www.plantlife.org.uk/nature_reserves/discover_ranscombe/
Key Facts ...
The Challenge nature of the events means that runners can choose their own challenge. Complete one lap, and you're a finisher, so you earn your medal and goody bag. Seven laps gets you an official marathon finish, eight or more gets you an ultra finish. ..
The course follows the trails and footpaths of the Ranscombe Farm Reserve. (Cuxton Rochester, Kent ME2 1LA - Google Map) Offering a variety of single track woodland trail, open fields and rolling grassland, woodland rides and an ancient avenue lined on each side with large hornbeam trees – and an abundance of flora and fauna to look out for!
Each lap is approximately 3.8 mile long, with approximately 380' of elevation gain and will be well marked with tape and arrows. With two railway lines, a road, fencing and a river edging the reserve on all sides you'll quickly know if you've gone astray! You can do as many laps as you can or wish within the 8 or 12 hour time limit. You must have left for your last lap by 15.15.(18.15 for the 12 hour events)
You can view more information about the Ranscombe Farm Reserve through this link to a PDF brochure www.plantlife.org.uk/uploads/documents/Ranscombe_Wild_Flower_Walk2.pdf
Please note the exact route is subject to change and on the day will be clearly marked! The link also shows you points of interest and the wildlife you may see on the way round!
The course is all on public footpath and there will be other users, including walkers, dogwalkers, horseriders and cyclists. We do not have right of way over these other users and we ask that you be considerate at all times.
Litter bins will be provided at the aid station and on entry back into the woods . Please do not litter the course – it is a most beautiful place and we want it to stay that way!
Key Facts ...
The Course is quite hilly! The good news is that there is a lovely wide mile long down hill trail after the hill. The bad news is the climb up the hill!