The Lewes 10-mile and 5-mile Downland Trail Runs take place on the first Sunday in October each year. Starting from Landport Bottom Meadow to the North of the historic town of Lewes, the races take in some of the picturesque trails around Blackcap and Mount Harry on the South Downs. The courses cover a variety of off-road terrain with chalk tracks, grassland, and woodland paths.
The 2024 event is on Sunday 6th October. The 5-mile race starts at 10:30, the 10-mile race starts at 10:45.
Entry will be through Sport Systems who will provide chip timing for both races. We will provide the link as soon as entries are opened.
The races are licensed by the Trail Running Association on behalf of UK Athletics. The 10-mile Downland Trail race remains part of the Sussex Grand Prix.
Entrants for the 10-mile race must be 17 years old or older on the day of the race. Entrants for the 5-mile Downland Trail race must be 16 years old or older on the day of the race.
IMPORTANT – there is a 2 hour 45 minute cut-off for the 10 mile race. If you are still on the course at 13:30 we cannot guarantee support from marshals or first aid staff, and your finishing time will not be recorded and included in the Sussex Grand Prix. If you are unsure whether you can make the cut-off we recommend that you enter the 5 mile race this year to see how you get on.
The races are Sponsored by The Outdoor Shop for all your outdoors needs
Both routes start at Landport Bottom and head up to Blackcap, with stunning views across Sussex & the Weald. The 5-mile route then takes a loop back from Blackcap to the start with a bit of undulation along the way over the historic Mount Harry. The distance is a little under 5 miles but we have put in a few hills to make up for this.
The GPS-measured 10-mile route heads out to some of the quieter, less travelled parts of the Sussex Downs. It returns through the wooded valley of Ashcombe Bottom that runners have described variously as a little challenging or fun!
The routes are all off-road, including grass, chalk and flint track, and woodland trails. For many years we have been lucky with the weather and dry routes. Even with rain, the Downs tends to drain quite quickly. Ordinary running shoes with a bit of a grip are usually fine as long as you go carefully on any slippery bits. If you have trail shoes then do use them, especially if it’s been raining. Not really suitable for spikes due to some hard packed chalk paths but it is possible.
On the day
5 mile race starts at 10.30 am
10 mile race starts at 10.45 am.
The race HQ is at Wallands Primary School (See location map here). Note that the car entrance for the race is from the A275 Nevill Road, please do not use the local estate roads. Directions are at the bottom of the page
In the school HQ you will find the following facilities;
- Entries on the day
- Male/female changing areas
- A place to leave your bag (note that race organisers are in the main hall throughout the race but we do not have a dedicated team watching bags so please do not bring valuables)
- Refreshment stall serving hot/cold drinks and a variety of sandwiches, rolls & cakes.
- Results and post race award giving
Results, medals and records
For the 10-mile race there are medals for the winning men and women’s teams and to the first three individual male and female winners. There are also awards in 5 year age categories.. For the 5-mile race there are trophies for the male and female individual winners.
The 10-mile trail race is part of the Sussex Grand Prix, and so contributes to your points if you are targeting that race series
Previous years’ results are available for download at the bottom of the page.
The current course was established in 2022.
The 10-mile course records are held by James Turner, Brighton Phoenix (male, 58:04, 2022) and Victoria Alikhan (female, 1:13:14, 2023).
The 5-mile course records are held by Jim Risdale, Arena 80 AC (male, 29:15, 2022) and Rosie Gasson, Brighton & Hove City AC (female, 33:45, 2023).
The Lewes 10 Downland Trail Race and the Moyleman Marathon
If you like trail running then the Lewes Downland 10-mile trail race is for you as it is the older brother of the Moyleman Marathon having started in 1984. It presents a great opportunity to try out some of Downland terrain around Lewes. It also provides a taster and a warm up if you are aiming to enter the Moyleman Marathon.
The Moyleman Marathon has the same start and HQ as the Lewes AC 10-mile and 5-mile trail races, these two trail runs have been put on by the club for over 37 years. The two races are run over a chunk of the Moyleman course. However there is a difference as both the Lewes Downland 10 and the 5-mile trail races finish back in Landport Bottom and not in the middle of Lewes like the Moyleman race.
Waste and environment
We live, and run, in the South Downs all year round and this year we have focused on reducing at the race the creation of waste in general, and plastic in particular. We are doing a number of things to cut down on unnecessary waste;
- We continue to do our best to avoid using plastic cups at the drinks stations. We use bio-degradable cups.
- Even bio-degradable cups take energy to make – why not leave your own bottle at the finish line to be filled up? You will walk past the finish when you are walking to the start line. Make sure you can recognise it though – maybe put a label on!
- All hot drinks from the refreshments table in the school will be served in paper cups. Please put these in the appropriate bin for recycling (but please bring your own reusable cup if possible)
- If you use plastic drinks bottles please put the empties in the appropriate bin for recycling
- Don’t chuck your gel / sweet wrappers on the Downs, bring them back for disposal
PLEASE HELP US TO REDUCE WASTE
How to get there
Lewes is on the mainline to London Victoria towards the North, Brighton, Worthing and Chichester to the West and Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford to the East. The race headquarters is a perfect warmup distance from the station, passing through the 11th century Lewes Castle (See route map here). There are sometimes bus replacement services on Sunday, so check National Rail before you set out.
Lewes is served by the 28/29 service between Brighton and Tunbridge Wells (Map and Timetable here). Get off at the Prison bus stop and just walk or jog up the road (See route map here)
The main cycle paths into Lewes run along the A27. If coming from the West, turn left at the Prison lights. If coming from the East, the nicest route is probably via Pells (See route map here). There are reasonably quiet routes into Lewes from North and South
The simplest way into Lewes is via the junction of the A27 and A277. Follow the A277 to the Prison and turn left at the lights. The race car park is on the right-hand side at the top of the road – there will be signposts.
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