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If you’re looking for a marathon with a difference, and are quite literally prepared to go the extra mile, then the Three Forts Challenge on May 2, 2021, could be just the event for you.
Starting and finishing on the Recreation Ground at Hill Barn, Worthing, in West Sussex, the long-established Three Forts Marathon provides an off-road, 27.2-mile task which takes place over rough tracks on the South Downs and includes around 3450 feet of climb. There may be a stile or two to be negotiated along the way as well!
The event was first staged in 1977 as a 26.2-mile cross-country race and has evolved into the current celebration of off-road running, with a half-marathon option also on offer.
The ‘Tough One’, as the Three Forts Marathon is known, follows a route which runs northwards from Hill Barn to Cissbury Ring, then eastwards toward Coombs then to Botolphs and the River Adur crossing.
The route then goes to Devil’s Dyke and back to the River Adur. It continues on the South Downs Way to Chanctonbury Ring, where it swings south-west to Findon Park Farm. It stays on public bridleways to Cissbury Ring and back to Hill Barn.
The half-marathon includes a total climb of around 1450ft and takes a shorter route to Steyning Bowl before picking up the last part of the marathon route.
The routes will be clearly signposted and marshalled at key points, while there are also 11 aid stations along the route.
All funds raised by the event, organised by the Rotary Clubs of Worthing, go to local charities. The main beneficiary is Ferring Country Centre, which provides training and work opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.