South Downs Challenge  | The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity
Sat 29 Apr 2023 Brighton, East Sussex, UK

South Downs Challenge | The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Experience a marathon hike through the breathtaking South Downs National Park, journeying through rolling hills to the white cliffs at Beachy Head, to fund lifesaving cancer research.

  • Sat 29 Apr 2023
American Express Community Stadium, Brighton > Beachy Head Cliffs, Eastbourne

South Downs Challenge | The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity



Age 16 & over

  • 26 miles hiking + 1000 m ascent


The extraordinary vistas of the South Downs National Park with its rolling hills, river valleys, ancient woodland and the iconic white cliffs of the Heritage Coast make it a walker’s paradise.

This challenging but rewarding trek is the perfect way to take it all in. Supported by expert guides with lunch and snacks included, all you need to do is lace up your boots and get walking!

Your efforts and fundraising will help raise vital funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and support a world-leading cancer centre to make a difference to the lives of people affected by cancer. Every step makes a difference!


  • South Downs Way National Trail
  • Seven Sisters Country Park
  • Stunning views from Firle Beacon
  • Impressive Beachy Head finish line
  • Bank Holiday weekend adventure
  • Conquer a hilly, multi-terrain hike
  • Easy online sign-up
  • Achievable fundraising target
  • Support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

  • Teams


  • 06:30 | You'll meet the support team and listen to the all-important safety briefing.
  • 07:00 | The trek begins! You'll enjoy a full day out, trekking for 10-12 hours on a multi-terrain route with plenty of undulations.
  • 17:00-19:00 | The majority of walkers will finish at this time and there's a comfy seat on the bus back to Brighton with your name on it.

Fitness level

26 miles forms an enormous challenge for walkers. But it is so worth it!

The South Downs Challenge is pretty tough so you'll need an adventurous spirit and an open mind. You may have taken part in other trekking challenges and now want to test yourself in a tougher environment. The more you exercise before the challenge, the more you will get out of it.


This is a sustained event of up to 12 hours and covering remote terrain with steep ascents and descents. The ideal training for this challenge is walking on similar terrain. However, if you do not have the luxury of living near the great outdoors, then the gym or running/walking in your local area are good places to start. Most training should be part of an ongoing lifestyle, but if this is not the case then you should begin training 4-6 months prior to the challenge and gradually build up. 

Kit advice

Remember to use the clothes, equipment and especially the boots/shoes that you will be wearing on the challenge in order to get them worn in.

Equipment of good quality and durability could make the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. Waterproof and well-worn in boots or trail shoes are required. The terrain is uneven and can be very rough, so it is vital that you use either boots or trail running shoes with a good grip. Sports trainers are not suitable.

  • Rural

Event HQ

American Express Community Stadium
Village Way
East Sussex

The event registration point will be in the small village of Falmer, just across the road from the AMEX football stadium.

  • First aid
  • Food stations
  • Hilly
  • Marshals
  • No cut off time
  • Point to point
  • Return transport
  • Toilets
  • Water stations


This incredible coastal trek starts just outside Brighton and takes you on 42km of testing, undulating terrain before finishing at Beachy Head.

You will cross Firle Beacon, for stunning views of the coast, before heading down to the Seven Sisters and finishing the trek along this most incredible stretch of cliff tops before finishing at Beachy Head.


Views from near Firle Beacon: This distinctive hill in the South Downs National Park commands impressive views but is a tough climb!


Paragliders over Firle Beacon.


The picturesque village of Alfriston: A historic village set in the Wealden South Downs, Alfriston marks the beginning of your descent to the coast.


Seven Sisters Country Park


The cliffs and lighthouse at Beachy Head: These stunning cliffs mark the finish line of the South Downs Challenge and a chance to celebrate your achievement!


Start from the small village of Falmer and trek towards Eastbourne along the South Downs Way. During the challenge, you will be led by experienced leaders who will motivate and support you along the way!

The route heads east and there's a tough climb up on to the top of Firle Beacon. From this vantage point you will have wonderful views over the surrounding area before descending to the picturesque village of Alfriston. From here you follow the pretty Cuckmere river to the sea before your final section takes you along the impressive cliff tops of the Seven Sisters Country Park to the mighty finish at Beachy Head.

From Falmer to Eastbourne along the South Downs Way.

  • Sustainability policy

Sustainability summary

  • The organisers are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism. On this challenge they liaise with South Downs National Park rangers to ensure minimal impact on the local environment.
  • The leaders care passionately for the environment and are available to talk to you about how you can do your bit to conserve the local area and enhance your experience; acting responsibly adds to the enjoyment of the day.
  • Hikers are encouraged to support the ‘South Downs National Trail’ who maintains the excellent footpaths used.
  • All participants are encouraged to support local businesses by spending extra time in the local area, booking overnight accommodation or going out for a meal in one of the excellent local pubs after the challenge.

Registration Includes

  • Your very own Royal Marsden Cancer Charity t-shirt to wear on the day. 
  • A 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock and Runners need.
  • Support and fundraising advice from a dedicated member of staff at The Royal Marsden and training support via your charity challenge account. 
  • On the day you will also receive a well deserved medal to celebrate your achievement!

Included - on challenge day

  • Fully qualified leaders to support and guide you through the trek. 
  • Safety checkpoints along the whole route including first-aid qualified staff and first-aid supplies. 
  • Packed lunch, snacks, drinks and water.
  • Bus transport back to Brighton from the finish line.

Not Included

  • Travel to the starting point in the village of Falmer
  • Personal hiking gear (boots, clothing etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Any accommodation required

  • Fundraising materials
  • Fundraising required
  • Fundraising support

The charity

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Raising vital funds to help cancer patients across the UK and around the world.

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity raises money solely to support The Royal Marsden, a world-leading cancer centre. From funding state-of-the-art equipment and ground-breaking research, to creating the very best patient environments, the charity never stops looking for ways to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

Fundraising deadlines

  • 80% of the minimum sponsorship required must be sent to the charity 11 weeks before departure (by 11/02/2023)
  • The remaining 20% must be sent within 4 weeks of completing the challenge (by 27/05/2023).
  • If you have raised the necessary funds, the charity will then pay the balance of your challenge costs.
  • The charity benefits by keeping the remaining sponsorship money plus every pound over and above what you raise. 

  • Age 16 & over
  • 100 places
  • Entries open
  • Enter online
  • Fundraising required

Entry fees

Registration fee


Minimum sponsorship


You are required to raise as much as you can for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Registration fee




Payment due by 25/02/2023

Becky and I feel so thankful to The Royal Marsden for the incredible support they have shown two family members through their fight with cancer. The walks we do like the Souths Downs Challenge are a small token of our support to try and give as much back as we can.

We will remain forever indebted to the staff at The Royal Marsden for their perseverance, support, love and care. There are no words to say how thankful we are to them all. Jamie, South Downs Challenge participant and supporter