I saw the sign. (Photo credit: Centurion Running.)

Stable newcomer and certified nut-job Mark Rose took part in (arguably) Centurion Running’s toughest event—the North Downs Way 100. The adventurer completed his quest in an astonishing 21 hours, 32 minutes, and five seconds, thereby receiving the highly coveted “100 Miles – One Day” buckle. Aided by many a mage, Rose channelled his inner barbarian to take 12th spot overall and fourth V40. 

Setting off from Farnham in Hampshire to Ashford in Kent might seem like a good idea over a few beers with your D&D buddies.

Dutch courage?

But our fighter rose to the challenge, battling 10,000ft+ of ascents and slippery descents, including the steep climb of Box Hill only a quarter of the way into the race. What a legend. 

Ups and downs.

Ally “the Chin” Smith threw on his Platypus® hydration pack and grabbed a set of crutches (for the technical section of potholes in the car park) to get the goss for The Stable News: 

Ally: Phew! That was a tough slog through the gravel for me. How are you feeling, Mark? 

Mark: Hi, Ally. Yes, that was one of the hardest things I’ve done. My body is in absolute pieces now! 

Ally: No wonder; it’s been a bit drizzly as well, don’t you think? 

Mark: You kidding?! The weather was atrocious. Out of the 21 hours, I think it rained for 17 of them. This made the trails very slippery and treacherous.

Ally: Ha-ha. You had plenty of hit points and potions in your knapsack to see you through. Have you attempted anything like this before? I know it’s hard to compare PBs over such a distance.  

Mark: It was a 100-miler PB. But then again, I’ve only ever done one before, and that was in the Brecon Beacons and hillier and took 37 hours.

Ally: A mighty, 16-hour PB! Go on. 

Mark: I was really pleased to get under 24 hours and receive my special sub-24 buckle.

A buckle, yesterday.

I was aiming for 20 hours, but my left hip flexor gave up at 80 miles after so much sliding in the mud. So a slow and painful finish. I only made it thanks to legendary pacing duties by King. 

All the hills.

Ally: I’m in awe. What an achievement, Mark. Will you be signing up for another hundo any time soon? 

Mark: Hahaha, no, not quite. My next big race is the Valencia Marathon in December. Hoping to shave a little off my 2:49 PB from Manchester this year. However, right now my main goal is to be able to recover and walk pain-free! Anything else is a bonus.

Ally: Ha, one step at a time, eh? Congratulations once again, Mark. I’ll leave you be. 

Mark: Thanks, Ally.

The Stablemaster was enchanting the Weekly Training with his powers of progression when he called up the News: “Markey boy slayed each mile as though it were the Hydra, growing two more back each time! But with great will and determination (and a good friend), he triumphed where many would have failed. Excellent work, my boy … Take a long, well-earned rest before we sharpen you up for the full ’thon.”