We started out on a warmer March morning than the last few weeks and jogged up from the start in North lane. This is a slight up hill gradient on the road and lasts for about 1Km until turning right into Thieves lane. This instantly goes steeply uphill for a hundred yards on stoney trail. Due to the recent rain the track was extremely muddy which made this section quite technical, however it should be a lot drier in May.
We carried down Thieves lane trail for about 1.5Km on a gradual downhill until we crossed the Petersfield Road. Care was taken crossing this intersection and then over onto the Green Lane trail path. We carried on this path for about 0.75 Km until meeting Chalton Lane at the 3.25 Km point.
We turned a sharp left into the field at Rooks Way and ran around the field until we came out onto the London road. This was a progressive uphill climb until flattening out mid-way round the field. This section lasts for about 1.25 Km and we’ve now run just over 4.5 Km.
We then came out onto the London Road and past the Hogs Lodge onto a pleasant downhill section for about 1Km. On approaching the A3 we took a left up onto an up-hill trail section for about 0.5 Km, where care was taken on the muddy and chalky section. This runs parallel with the A3 and then steeply descends onto the entry path to Butser Hill.
Butser hill is approached at the 6 Km mark and this is by far the hardest part of the course with an elevation climb of over 100 Metres. At the top we enjoyed a well-earned view at the highest point of the course, then ran out onto the South Downs Way. This is a nice section of road with excellent views of the Solent and your first water station. This road carries on for just short of 1 Km before a right turn onto the South Downs where the course goes back onto trail again.
We followed the South Downs Way along the trail for just over 2 Km on an undulating and stoney track which came out on the East Meon Road. We have now gone past the half way point. We took care crossing the road and then jogged up around the trail path to the Sustainability Centre which is at 11.5 KM and your second water station. We then carried along the Droxford Road, leaving the South Downs way and turning left at just over 12 km.
We then ran down Shuttlecocks for about 2.5 Km which has great views on the fastest part of the course. At the end of this path we took a right into Hyden Farm Lane at just over 14.5 Km. We then turn left after 0.25 Km into the stoney field at North Wood and out onto another field leading to the farm track. It was empty this time of year, however in May it should be full of crops to run through..
We then turned right and ran along the track until meeting the Hambledon road. At this point we have just done over 16 Km. We then turned left and ran along the grass verge on the Hambledon road back into Clanfield. We can now see the Clanfield sign so not long to go now and have hit the 17 Km mark.
We ran into Clanfield taking care to cross over the road at the junction of South Lane and then ran on the path past the shops and round the corner passing the Rising Sun pub on the left. We then ran up the hill along Chalton Lane making a right turn into Sunderton Lane at just over 18 Km.
We’re nearly there now and the last section is downhill along Sunderton Lane before turning right into the meadow at 19.4 Km. A quick burst through the Meadow and a sprint to the finish line.
This is a hard course with a total elevation gain of 293 Metres and a lot of trail which was very muddy at this time of year; however the toughness offsets the beautiful views on offer with the Clanfield Challenge course. Oh and of course the medal and T-Shirt at the finish.