Marlborough Downs Challenge

The 2017 race will be on Saturday, 6th May

MDC View before CP2
Entries are now open
Click HERE to enter the MDC20
Click HERE to enter the MDC33

The closing date for entries is Monday, 1st May, or when the entry limit is reached.  Note that both races sold out in three out of the last four years, so please don't delay. There will be no entries on the day.  

below for some general information on the race.  We will add more details as we move closer to race day, and we will email full race information to all entrants late April.

The Marlborough Downs Challenge offers two events
33 mile* Trail Race
20 mile* Trail Race 

* Note that distances are approximate only.

The MDC is a beautiful yet challenging event, mostly off-road along tracks and footpaths. There is plenty of climbing - over 3000 feet for the 33 mile race.  The routes take in some of the finest Wiltshire countryside including:
  • The Wansdyke Path, Tan Hill Way, White Horse Trail, and Mid Wilts Way with superb views across the Vale of Pewsey West Woods and.        
  • Gopher Wood, with its amazing wild garlic.    
  • Two of the highest points in Wiltshire at Knapp Hill and Tan Hill, where the long and short courses diverge

Plus, on the 33-mile route:

  •     The Kennet & Avon Canal into Devizes
  •     Roundway Hill and Morgan's Hill
  •     Cherhill Monument and White Horse

Finally, the routes rejoin to pass through Avebury, with its pre-historic stone circle and views of Silbury Hill, then go via Overton and Fyfield Downs back to Marlborough Leisure Centre for showers and refreshments.

Navigation & Safety. All entrants will be sent a route description by email; copies will also be posted on this website. The Marlborough Downs Challenge courses are unmarked although there are some arrows for assistance at various points. Competitors are recommended to carry a map – the most appropriate is OS 1:25,000 Explorer Sheet 157 – and compass.

Suitable footwear must be worn or carried. This is a primarily an off-road event often remote from public roads. Mobile phones may not work in all locations. Parts of the route can be muddy. Remember, if the weather is wet and/or cold at the Start then it will be very wet and very cold on the Downs. If it is sunny then don't forget to apply sunscreen.


Race info MDC

information for entrants


2016 Routes:

20 Mile Route Description
33 Mile Route Description

GPX files of the routes may be downloaded from here.
20 Mile .gpx
33 Mile .gpx
(NB To download the .gpx files, right-click and Save or Download. Rename the files, changing the .doc extension to .gpx)

Alternatively, visit these links to view the tracks, then use the Download button to download in the format you require:
20 Mile
33 Mile


Nick Ham has kindly allowed us to post his photos of the 2016 race, and also photos he took of the event in 2015 and in 2011.
Links to these can be found on our Gallery pages.

Previous Results