Druid's Challenge (09-11th November): a three-day, 84-mile ultra marathon crossing the historic Ridgeway - now celebrating its 10th year!
Over a decade ago we organised the very first Druid's Challenge. Since then, over 1,000 people have run the route - many several times. Historic and well-loved, the 5,000-year old Ridgeway has proved especially popular among those stepping up to their first multi-day ultra, as well as those training for events like the Marathon Des Sables.
Starting in Buckinghamshire, competitors will make their way to Wiltshire over the course of three days, with two overnights in Watlington and Didcot. The Ridgeway path takes in stunning views of quintessential southern English countryside including Ivinghoe Beacon.
To mark the tenth anniversary in style, we'd love to welcome back as many people as possible from previous years - particularly anyone who ran the first event in 2009! We'll be handing out commemorative buffs, and there will be special celebrations all weekend.
You'll be following in the footsteps of travellers, herdsmen and soldiers who have used the Ridgeway since prehistoric times. Be entranced by the ancient landscapes, hidden valleys, beautiful downland and woodland.
As with all of our events, everything is taken care of at the Druid's Challenge so you can focus on the experience! Overnight accommodation, evening meals, showers, breakfast, food and drink at checkpoints, free parking, and even inspiring guest speakers in the evening are all included.
Detailed information about all elements of the event can be found in our event instructions.
- **Multi Day Event Prize for 1st Male and 1st Female Overall Winners: Free Entry to Same Event Next Year** -
You can enter the whole weekend event including food and accommodation or individual days.
Entries will close one week before the event (or when full). A waitlist option will be available if the event becomes fully booked.
Early bird - £155 before 30th April 2018
Standard entry - £168, from 1st May 2018
Late entry - £178, from 1st October 2018
Single day - £58
Optional accommodation for single day competitors - £30 per night
Full event without accommodation or food - £150. Select Individual Days on the entry form then "All 3 days" at the bottom.
If sleeping in school halls isn't for you, there's a Premier Inn and a Travelodge a few miles from each overnight location, and we'll be offering lifts there and back each day. So, why not book the full event (without accommodation or food) and have a comfortable bed instead?
Premier Inn (Oxford South), Milton Interchange, Nr Didcot OX14 4TX - 35 minutes' shuttle from our Watlington overnight point and just 11 minutes from our Didcot overnight.
Travelodge (Wheatley), Harvester A40, London Road, Wheatley OX33 1JH - 15 minutes from Watlington and 33 minutes from Didcot.
There's a 10% discount on the entry fee, available for all serving military or emergency services staff. To book with your discount, please email us: email@example.com.
Please note: a 2.5% service charge, levied by the registration software, will be added to your total.
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Start / Finish
Registration will be open from 08:00 on Friday at Tring Cricket Club, London Rd, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 6HA.
Start on day 1: Ivinghoe Beacon, LU7 9EB
Finish on day 1: Icknield College, Watlington, OX49 5RB
Finish on day 2: on the Ridgeway (grid reference: SU458850) with a shuttle bus to Saint Birinus School, Mereland Road, Didcot OX11 8AZ
Finish on day 3: Alexandra Hotel, Wroughton, SN4 0QJ.
A broad track that takes the higher ground, the Ridgeway is a unique route that passes through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), often quite a distance from any towns or villages, giving a real sense of peace and seclusion. You'll experience open views of the rolling chalk downland, peppered with ancient monuments including Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and white horse chalk figures. It's a National Trail with plenty of clear signposts and post discs. You'll also be given a route card, designed to get you through any trickier sections. We recommend familiarising yourself with the route before the start of the race - for more information download our full race instructions.
Overnight accommodation and guest speakers
You'll stay at Icknield Community College in Watlington on the first night and Didcot Leisure Centre , Mereland Road, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 8AY on the second night, with sleeping accommodation in a large hall.
Everything is looked after - all you need to do is run (or jog or walk!)
This year, we're pleased to welcome Rory Coleman who will be speaking on '20 years of the MDS: What's changed and what I've learned so far'!
We'll also have Emily Denham and Maritsa Harrington who will be leading 'A girl's guide to the MDS' - a chat about their experiences training for, participating in and completing the MDS.
They'll be bringing their perspective, hints and tips as non-athletes - 'just a pair of old buddies who took a leap of faith from a bit of road running into the world of ultra'. They'll share their stories of juggling real life, how to stay motivated, how to overcome unhelpful attitudes, and the (eventual) euphoria of crossing that finish line. The session is aimed at helping more women realise what's achievable, but men are more than welcome.
There will be three checkpoints each day at regular intervals, fully stocked with water, and sweet and savoury food to keep you fuelled.
The event is supported by a Course Manager and a fully qualified medical crew will be in attendance. We strongly recommend taking a moment to read our medical page before booking.
The only compulsory kit is a fully charged mobile phone and a minimum 500ml of water, but it's worth taking a look at our recommended kit list.
Other equipment may be made compulsory by the race director depending on the weather.
Getting to and from the event
There are plenty of options for reaching the start and finish points of the Druid's Challenge:
To the start
Trains run regularly from London Euston to Tring, taking roughly 35 minutes. Note that the first train leaves at 06:54 on Friday.
We'll be running a minibus shuttle from Tring Station before the start times, transporting you to the registration point. We can also pick up those arriving in the evening at Princes Risborough Station from 18:00. Just let us know whether you plan to use our shuttle and your train times when you book.
From the finish
On Sunday, you'll be able to catch a train from Swindon to London Paddington or onwards towards the South West. We'll be running a minibus shuttle from the finish to Swindon Station regularly - it's a 20 minute journey.
We have arranged for competitors to be able to leave their cars at the Sunday finish (Alexandra Hotel, Wroughton SN4 0QJ) on Friday morning and book a place on a coach to the start. This means that your car will be at the finish ready for when you get there on Sunday.
The coach will leave at 0700 on the morning to get to the start in time. This may not be in time for the walkers start so they will have to join the main group of runners at 1100.
The cost will be £30 a head. Book via additional purchases or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're planning to leave your car at the finish and take our shuttle coach to the start on Friday morning, you might want to stay overnight on Thursday nearby. There are plenty of hotels around the M4 Swindon Junction, and we've arranged a discount at the Alexandra House Hotel. To book using the discount, contact Teresa Clarke on 01793 819023 (works Wednesday to Friday).
We also have discounted rooms available at the Principle-Hayley hotel should you want to stay overnight on Sunday to unwind after the finish. When booking, just quote "extreme" to get the discount.
Other transport options
The minibuses and some cars will need to head back to the Tring area once the event is completed on the Sunday afternoon / evening. We are able to transport some people in this way. If you'd like a lift with us, we'd ask you to wait while we pack up the event.
We'd recommend that you try and be independent so that you don’t have to wait, but we will do all we can to accommodate individual requirements.
Looking for more information? Download our Druid's Challenge event instructions.
GPX files: Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
We can't wait to see you there! Questions? Say hello on email@example.com.