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Pilgrim Challenge

3 races scheduled · 200 participants · Sat 12th Jun 2021 · The Sands
COVID Plan
Safety measures in place ·
Tickets on organiser’s site
About this event

The Pilgrim Challenge follows the North Downs Way National Trail, the oldest trade route in England. Take on the whole weekend, or try your hand at one day. Whether this is your first ultra of your 100th, the stunning scenery of the North Downs will take your breath away and take you to new limits.

Raceday details
How to enter

Tickets available until Sat Jun 05 2021

What's included:

  • Transport to and from Farnham station
  • A fully recced and marked route
  • Full medical cover throughout
  • A quality finishers T-shirt and medal
  • Toilets and changing facilities
  • Checkpoint food and water at regular intervals
  • Free tea, coffee and cake at the finish
  • Prizes and trophies for overall and category winners
  • Action photos en-route, free to download
Ultra - Full Weekend
8:00am Sat 12th Jun 2021

Run 66mi

Ultra - Day 1
8:00am Sat 12th Jun 2021

Run 66mi

Ultra - Day 2
7:00am Sun 13th Jun 2021

Run 66mi

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What people think
4.8
37 reviews
Ryszard
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Not sure if it was already on the communication sent out, but I was glad I brought trail shoes. Road ones would have been a nightmare on that course, as testified by a few poor souls I met!… read more
PAUL
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
My first ultra and first multi-day all in one! Everything was well organised and friendly. The course was easy to follow - I was worried I would be getting lost a lot but didn't really have any problems on either day. A great course with really good trails, lots of mud, some tough hills and great views. A really enjoyable 2 days on the North Downs.… read more
Oli
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Brutal, challenging, hilly, muddy and energy-sapping yet invigorating!… read more
Frequently asked questions
What kind of shoes should I wear for the Pilgrim Challenge?
Since the terrain of all this event is a mainly off road on paths, trails and tracks, most people use trail shoes with varying levels of grip on the sole. Fell running shoes are not recommended, unless you are used to running long distances in them. What ever you wear please ensure they are comfortable and broken in.… read more
Is there any kit that is compulsory for the Pilgrim Challenge?
The only compulsory kit is a fully charged mobile phone and a minimum 500ml of water.… read more
Is there a cut-off time for the Pilgrim Challenge?
No, the event doesn't end until everyone crosses the finish line!… read more
Route description
Route description

The Pilgrams Challenge follows the oldest trade route in England, and was used by Pilgrims heading for Winchester, Canterbury, Dover and the Continent. This ultra follows a glorious section of the ancient route, from Farnham through to Merstham, in Surrey, passing through picturesque villages and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The North Downs National Trail has excellent markings in the form of signposts or post discs. In addition, you will be given a route card and map, designed to help on any tricky sections. Please familiarising yourself with the route before the start of the race.

Start Groups

There are different start groups to accommodate for different ability levels. Entrants will choose their start group when registering.

The 3 start groups are based on a mileage per hour.:

  • Walker start: 3 miles per hour (20 minute miles)
  • Main Start: 4 – 6 miles per hour (10 minute miles)
  • Elite Group: 7 – 9 miles per hour (>10 minute miles)

It is important that you do not start too early as the checkpoint and finish opening times are based on the above timings.

Ryszard
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Not sure if it was already on the communication sent out, but I was glad I brought trail shoes. Road ones would have been a nightmare on that course, as testified by a few poor souls I met!
PAUL
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
My first ultra and first multi-day all in one! Everything was well organised and friendly. The course was easy to follow - I was worried I would be getting lost a lot but didn't really have any problems on either day. A great course with really good trails, lots of mud, some tough hills and great views. A really enjoyable 2 days on the North Downs.
Oli
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Brutal, challenging, hilly, muddy and energy-sapping yet invigorating!
Andy
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Great course and race, lots of tun. I loved the mud which helps level the field a little. Course markings pretty good though some of the national trail wooden signs have been snapped off giving a couple of areas I needed to check my gpx file on phone nav. Mostly on the return leg.Great race and absolutely brilliant team looking after us, ta very much.
Andy
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
My first Ultra and I loved it, even the mud! A very wet day but well worth the effort. The XNRG team were great and the checkpoints and the supplies were very apt and runner focused. Thank you, I'll be back.
Nick
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
First time for me on this course and apparently this year wasnt that muddy! Well it was muddy enough for me, most people seemed to wipe out on it at some point over the two days. Otherwise a really nice course, excellent organisation and very friendly people.
Daz
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
I arrived at the event with no problem and the post code took me straight to the start location and parking.There was no waiting to register and I picked up my race number and timing chip no problem. The race brief was througher and clear and a big emphasis on safety and staying safe which was great.The course along The North Downs Way was challenging with just over 4,500 feet of elevation along the 33 miles. The conditions were tough too and muddy reputation didnt disappoint which added to the challenge. Having said all that the course is beautiful and is a wonderful place to run with some fabulous senery.Navigation was confusing at times and I missed a couple of markers which meant I went on a few detours but I soon got back on the route.The marshals were all very friendly and supportive at the aid stations and helped me fill my bottles and get food and treats for me which was a great help.At the finish I was welcomed by some big smiles and congratulations from the event crew and of course at very nice medal, long sleeve technical top and a cup of tea and cake.I ran Day 1 of 2 days but if you are looking to challenge yourself then this is an event for you.
Matthew
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
A much more challenging race than you'd think. It's hilly and very muddy. The first half of day one is quick. This is followed by miles of thick sticky mud which slows you down and saps your energy. This makes for an interesting day two. The checkpoints were super smooth, friendly and helpful and the hospitality over night made another day of running seem possible. Fantastic organisation by XNRG, inspiring speakers during the evening and great a course. Would definitely recommend it.
Jasmine
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
I absolutely loved this race - even though it was possibly my slowest ever time by about two hours! Really tough conditions but so satisfying to finish, a great challenge. And as usual we were well looked after by the Extreme Energy team, both during the race and overnight. If you're considering trying a multi-day race definitely go for one of theirs, you'll get incredible support and there are no cut off times so no panic about pacing. Cannot wait for the next one!!
Paul
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
XNRG are a great organisation. I have done a few of their races and always feel like I am coming back to a part of their family almost. Great value for money, great crew who are amazing from initial enquiries, registration, at the checkpoints and even at stupid O'clock in the morning when they have had zero sleep. A great event, and a great team of people, keep on doing what you are doing Neil, Brian and crew! Regards, Paul from Jersey
Ed
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Fantastic and challenging event.
Maritsa
Star
4.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
I hate mud. I knew it was going to be tough. Day one gave us sleet, snow and slippery terrain.Day two was like trudging through a bog of doom that seemed to go on forever! But the sun shone for us.We did it, and came away feeling more confident about heading out to Morocco in 9 weeks for MdS. Theres no mud in the desert right?!As with every other xnrg race that ive done, its the team of people behind the scenes who make it super special. Always very well organised, from registration until you leave site once youve collected your medal and t-shirt, they are so, so friendly. The showers might not always be hot but Anna, Neil, Brian and the rest of the team do their best to make sure youre ok, the catering is ace and there are interesting, inspiring people doing talks in the evening.And as for the marshals, theyre like smiling, beautiful angels armed with jugs of water and buckets of haribo, and always have lovely words of encouragement to send you on your way.Im not sure Ill be back next year (its tarmac all the way after the desert), but if you like mud, and fancy a superbly organised multi-day event, with a nice bit of bling, then The Pilgrim Challenge is for you!
Katherine
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
I absolutely loved this race! My 1st ultra and will definitely be back next year. The weather was quite tough on day one and at every check Point over both days there was a massive warm welcome to get us going again. Thanks to everyone for such a fun weekend!
FCRC Paul
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
My first XNRG event. Such a fantastic route. Day 1 was so tough with the mud, hills and rain. The water stations and marshals were excellent. Day2 was superb. I knew the route and where the mud and hills where. Tremendous atmosphere and camaraderie. I loved the food and snacks at the water stations. The run to the finish was fuelled by endorphins. More smiling staff and a warm tent with hot drinks . Thank you for putting on this event. I will be back.
Alan
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Only did the second day. Tough course with some serious lumps and A LOT of mud. Brilliant help from the people manning the checkpoints and plenty of good eats! Ill be back as I have a score to settle with the last 20 or so kilometres!
Drummond
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
The XNRG team always run a great event. This was no different. Course was challenging but brilliantly supported by the amazing checkpoint support crew. Always welcoming, encouraging and incredibly helpful. The atmosphere and catering at the end of each day are superb too and there is ample of everything. A wonderful mix of a challenging event with just the right level of support and comfort provided by XNRG. Well done and thank you to Neil and his Team
Aga
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Loved every mile and every hill...even the weather didn't ruin my first ultra!
Michael
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This is the second time I have done the Pilgrim Challenge and it is one of my favourite events. Well organised with cheerful and helpful staff and marshals. I always enjoy chatting with like minded people and making new friends. It's just as well the spirits were high with everyone as this is a tough course and challenge, especially with the slippery mud we had to deal with!
Andy
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This was far more challenging than I anticipated based on the unbelievable amount of mud! I am generally a poor navigator but the route was pretty easy to follow along the North Downs Way. Also the route didn't appear to suffer from queues or holdups that other trail runs sometimes can. In terms of organisation everything ran very smoothly, the meal was good and the accommodation surprisingly warm. The only thing I could comment negatively on is the showers suffered a bit from a lack of pressure but I still got a hot shower so no complaints! I also took advantage of the free shuttle to and from the station which was waiting for me both ways and the driver a great guy. I have to say the event staff and people working the stations were really supportive, friendly and warm people. The other runners all seemed like nice people and it was the typical friendliness you'd expect from the ultra-community.... although I wouldn't say the atmosphere was exactly 'buzzing', but certainly better than 'meh'. For my first stage race I think I made a really good choice due to the organisation, event staff and the plentiful communication in the buildup.
Stuart
Star
4.3
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Great event, really well organised and highly reccomended. From checkpoints to event logistics nothing was left wanting. Good accommodation,food and evening speaker at the overnight stop and good value for money.
Doug
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
An epic weekend out - top notch organisation, aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers amazing. Just enough hills and plenty of mud to add to the challenge.
Jed
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Great event organised by a first class outfit. The atmosphere is very friendly and inclusive. I would recommend this to anyone who fancies a challenging winter event.
Jon
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Great course and a great crowd to run with. Regardless of the weather there were friendly smiling faces all round! Aid stations were well placed, stocked and staffed, I feally felt looked after. Thanks all!
Caroline
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This is my second year running the Pilgrim Challenge but I have run loads of XNRG events. I think what makes them epic is the honest enthusiasm of the whole team. It has a family feel about it and it seems like the whole team really are behind you. This is not an event for people who dont like a lot of mud, steps and hills. It is challenging but with no cut offs there is no pressure either. Like other XNRG events the elites go first then the regular runners and then the walkers which means you see a lot of fellow competitors along the way. It is a there and back route with 33 Miles there, then a stop off at a school where you are given plenty of food.Accommodation is basic (a patch on the floor in a school hall where you set out your bed) but they do offer relay busses to a local Premier Inn for people who want a bit more luxury. Breakfast is cold but plenty of cereals, toast and bananas. They have guest speakers and set up a TV for any sporting fixtures. The following day you go back the same route and again there are transfers to local hotels and stations. They really do go the extra mile to ensure everyone is well catered for. Ill be back
Marie
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This was a brilliant 2 stage trail race with everything youd want! It was along a great route (and the mud just added to the adventure, or maybe I just made a really good trainer choice!) with really runnable sections as well as technical parts. The staff and volunteers were amazing at every step along the way - train and hotel transfers, aid stations, start and finish facilities. And as usual, the cameraderie amongst the runners was top notch! A great weekend had by all!!
Louis
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This was my first ultra marathon and it didnt disappoint! There was a great atmosphere on arrival and plenty of free tea and coffee to warm up and keep morale high from the rain!Once the race started it was clear that it would be no cake walk and I see why so many use it as training for the MDS!. The hills were an exceptional challenge! It took all my mental and physical strength to get to the top of them, but that is what I was looking for in this event.The CPs were well set up and well placed, they also gave a lot of good encouragement to the competitors as they came through.The over night stay in the school was an interesting touch!, I enjoyed having some time to share some banter with my 3 friends and I managed to get a good sleep!I found the second day tougher then the first, but again this is why I chose this event for my first as I wanted the challenge!The feeling of elation when I crossed the line will stay with me forever and I shall definitely be back for another go and also to try some of the other XNRG events
Mark
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Muddy, hilly, muddy, haha. Great course, great people, organisation superb Will return!
Lucinda
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Fantastic course and amazing checkpoints, made even more special by the cheery, supportive and knowledgable checkpoint helpers. Thanks to everyone involved.
Elizabeth
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This was a well organised race, with a crew that couldnt do enough to make every runner feel welcome and cared for. Im hoping to come back and do this race again next year.
Duncan
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
This was a great event. The course was extremely challenging, and very slippery on occasion, but this is the best event Ive done. Brilliantly organised - a classic case of an event for runners, organised by people who have been there and done it themselves. The support from the volunteers and people at the aid stations is amazing.This really is a quite brilliant event. Id highly recommend it to anyone considering a multi day ultra.Thank you to Neil and the team.
Alan
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
I have done this event 3 times. The organisers put in a good race and I believe care about what they are doing. This particular event this year was quite testing due to weather so don't take it for granted. Well done XNRG
Hilton
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
What an awesome event. Camaraderie was fantastic as were the organizers. Ive never done an Ultra Marathon before, so to do 2 back to back, I couldnt have chosen a better event. Thanks so much. Hilton Quinn
Kevin
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
A really well organised event following the well marked NDW making it an ideal first multi day ultra for many. The overnight facilities at Redhill were very good with a delicious dinner and breakfast served which also catered for my food allergy. An all round top weekend. Loved it.
gerald
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Really enjoyed it, despite very mucky conditions a very well organised event with a beautifully scenic course, about 90% trail and quite hilly.*Only ran day 2
Ignacio
Star
4.7
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Extremely good. Getting lost was just my fault, definetely the trail was properly marked. Unfortunately I didn't make the way back from Redhill to avoid further injuries (finally taking a mature decision!), but it was though since I loved the race experience. Hope to see you again in another event guys! Cheers!
Andy
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Brilliant weekend!!! Tough course which was great training for MDS. Well stocked checkpoints, friendly atmosphere and the evening food was ideal. I would certainly recommend this.My one suggestion would be to have showers at the end of the race.
Simon
Star
5.0
Did the Ultra - Full Weekend in 2018
Its a cracking smaller event run by a group very friendly enthusiasts. Highly recommended. Ive also done Druids another great XNRG event.
4.8
37 reviews
Rate this event
Logistics and schedule

Schedule

Day 1

07:00 Mini-bus pick up from Farnham Station begins

07:30 Walkers briefing

08:00 Walkers start

08:30 Runners briefing

09:00 Runners start

09:30 Elite runners (sub-5hour) briefing

10:00 Elite runners (sub-5hour) start

16:00 Transport to station available

19:00 Most competitors finished

Day 2

06:30 Walkers briefing

07:00 Walkers start

07:30 Runners briefing

08:00 Runners start

08:30 Elite runners (sub-5hour) briefing

09:00 Elite runners (sub-5hour) start

15:00 Transport to station available

18:00 Most competitors will have finished

Race Numbers

Race numbers will be available for pickup from registration on the day.

Start Waves

Entrants will be set off in start waves based on their ability level. The following races will be set off within the start times allocated below.

  • Full 2 day package - including accommodation and food - 3 waves between 08:00 and 10:00
  • Day 1 Only - 3 waves between 08:00 and 10:00
  • Day 2 Only - 3 waves between 07:00 and 09:00
  • Full - no accommodation or food - 3 waves between 08:00 and 10:00
How to get there

Sandy Farm Business Center, Sands Rd, The Sands, Farnham GU10 1PX, UK

Get directionsExternalLink

By Train

Day 1: Trains run from London Waterloo to Farnham roughly every half an hour from 05:00. There will be minibus shuttles to the start on day one, with the last pick up from Farnham Station at 09:00, and shuttles back to the station from 16:00.

Day 2: Redhill Station (Southern) is a few minutes walk from the school.

For the return journey, trains run from Redhill to London Waterloo every half hour.

By Car

Farnham is on the A31, A331 from Junction 4 of the M3. Redhill is on the A25, A271 and A25 from Junction 8 of the M25.

If you are only doing day one please park at Farnham Station Car Park and make use of the minibus shuttle.

Parking

There is free parking at Sandy Farm (at your own risk) for the full weekend, but it is locked up on Saturday night. Space is limited, so its encouraged to lift share where possible.

Accommodation

There will be minibus shuttles running to and from three local hotels during the event:

  • Premier Inn Redhill
  • Redhill Town Centre Travelodge
  • Redhill Travelodge

Please note: these are the only hotels our minibus will run to. If you're planning to stay somewhere else, please make sure you've booked taxis to and from the event.

Frequently asked questions
FAQ
What kind of shoes should I wear for the Pilgrim Challenge?
Since the terrain of all this event is a mainly off road on paths, trails and tracks, most people use trail shoes with varying levels of grip on the sole. Fell running shoes are not recommended, unless you are used to running long distances in them. What ever you wear please ensure they are comfortable and broken in.
FAQ
Is there any kit that is compulsory for the Pilgrim Challenge?
The only compulsory kit is a fully charged mobile phone and a minimum 500ml of water.
FAQ
Is there a cut-off time for the Pilgrim Challenge?
No, the event doesn't end until everyone crosses the finish line!
FAQ
What happens to our bags while we're racing in the Pilgrim Challenge??
When competitors have finished with their bags at the start and subsequent mornings, they will be loaded onto a van and transported to the day's finish. There they will be laid out on the accommodation floor for you to collect when you finish. Please limit yourselves to one bag.
FAQ
Are there toilet facilities at the checkpoints for the Pilgrim Challenge?
No, there aren't any toilets at the checkpoints, however this event take place on National Trails where there will be public toilets en-route.
FAQ
What do I need for the overnight stop at the Pilgrim Challenge?
For the overnights you will need a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, wash kit, towel and comfortable clothing to wear in the evening. It is also recommended that you bring ear plugs and eye pads.
FAQ
Are there showers at the overnight stop at the Pilgrim Challenge?
There are showers and changing facilities at the overnight stops for entrants, which single day entrants can use if they wish.
Booking related questionsDo you have a question about bookings, cancellations, or refunds?
Tickets on organiser’s site

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