Now in it’s 4th year, the Valley Challenge is an 8.2 mile charity run taking in the 3 villages of East Dean, Charlton and Singleton. The run is multi-terrain and takes in the 3 peaks of the beautiful Lavant Valley in the South Downs National Park just outside Chichester. Using the trails and tracks of The Goodwood Estate, this is a race for all abilities, you can run and walk whatever you choose. All money raised this year is donated to The Friends of Singleton Primary School. The valley challenge cost a total of £13.00 attached, £14.00 unattached and £15.00 on the day.

I signed up for the race as I thought it was a doable distance for me at the moment, I wasn’t quite prepared for the hills but they never sold it short! In my last year of uni I’m desperate to take part in as many races as possible. Whilst I was out running I saw a sign about the race and took a picture and googled about it. It was only a few days before the race but I still managed to get entry swiftly and quickly.

The course

The course was great for those of you who like hills!

We started off in the first 1km being a hill. It felt like it was vertical! The elevation on the first hill went from 62m to 157m. It was up a road and so we had a few cars trying to get past the hoards of people! The descent for this was lovely, through an off trail path which went through the wooded area. This hill was the nicest hill in the race in terms of gradual height and difficulty.

The second hill went from 49m to 125m and this was up a lovely hill, once you got to the top you such a view of the Goodwood estate and the surrounding area. I have to admit this hill was horrible, it was nice to be running up the beautiful area but it was hard. To get onto the descent theres a small hill about 1metre you have to climb up before you start heading down, the descent for the second hill was quite short and steep. You had to be careful coming down incase you went too quickly on the grass when you get to the stoned area through the farm (that smell was lovely in the farm, shout out to the marshall that had to stand there)

The third hill went from 45m to 143m, a significant increase although this hill was met with some beautiful purple flowers and cows, it was definitely the hardest hill. There was a false sense of reality because you think you have finished the hill, you go through a fenced gate, you come into an open valley where the route keeps going up and up! It felt cruel but once you had got up that hill and looked back down you could understand why you signed up for it!

The last 2/3k’s were along a very nice and flat path and then following the road back into East Dean back into the finishing line which is just up a small but gradual hill!

The race

There was a good turnout – from what I’m aware the best they have had for this event. Runners from all the local clubs. Each water station was at the 3 main pubs on the route, cups of water and orange slices were in the selection (much appreciated)

The morning was very cold and windy, I was stood at the start hoping it would hurry up because I was freezing!! If I had goosebumps they would certainly be out! During the race it was mild, a little bit of rain came down when you were heading up the second hill but other than that, it was a decent day.

Everyone was very encouraging, we all set off as a mass hoard up the first hill and it slowly started to spread out. I met a 2 very nice ladies who I ran with most of the way until it came to the 3rd hill and that’s where they disappeared. Towards the finish line I could see them in front of me but just couldn’t catch up with them!

The finish line was great and the goody bag was awesome, sweets at the end of the race are always the best things! It was a well organised race and I would love to do it again next year, lets get prepared for those hills!!