Pilgrim Challenge

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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.
Ultra - Full Weekend, Ultra - Day 1 and Ultra - Day 2
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Sat, 12 Jun 2021 - Sun, 13 Jun 2021
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The Sands, United Kingdom
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(37 Reviews)
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Where and when
Sandy Farm Business Center, Sands Rd, The Sands, Farnham GU10 1PX, UK
Start times
Sat, 12 Jun 2021
Ultra - Full Weekend:
8:00am |
Ultra - Day 1:
Sun, 13 Jun 2021
Ultra - Day 2:
Races summary
Here's what races are available for Pilgrim Challenge
Ultra - Full Weekend
£160.00 - £170.00
Ultra - Day 1
Ultra - Day 2
Route information
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.
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
How to get there
Sandy Farm Business Center, Sands Rd, The Sands, Farnham GU10 1PX, UK
Get full 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.
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.
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.
Event day logistics
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
Kit List
The only compulsory kit is a fully charged mobile phone and a minimum 500ml of water.
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.
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.
Is there a cut-off time for the Pilgrim Challenge?
No, the event doesn't end until everyone crosses the finish line!
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.
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.
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.
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.
37 reviews
Did the race 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!
Did the race 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.
Did the race in 2018
Brutal, challenging, hilly, muddy and energy-sapping yet invigorating!
Did the race 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.
Did the race 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.
Did the race 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.
Did the race 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.
Did the race 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.
Did the race 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!!
Did the race 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
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