South Downs Trekathon

South Downs Trekathon

South Downs Trekathon

Ready to trek a marathon distance in a day?

7 July 2018

Join Team RNIB to trek 26 miles across the spectacular landscape of the South Downs. Sign up today and help ensure no one is left to face sight loss alone.

Your epic adventure starts here…

Join Team RNIB to trek 26 miles across the spectacular and dramatic landscape of the South Downs. We guarantee an unforgettable experience and an epic sense of achievement.

We want everyone to join us for this challenge. If you are blind or partially sighted and require a guide, sign up with a friend or family member, or we can help find one. If you are sighted, we want you to use this experience to support fellow trekkers. This will be a team effort and we’ll work together to cover this marathon distance.

Every day, 250 people in the UK start losing their sight. Their lives will change completely and far too many people are left alone to cope. Right now, RNIB can only reach one in three people who need our support, but with your help we can change that.

By taking on this incredible challenge, every step you take and pound you raise will help us support more people, from the moment someone is told they are losing their sight, to the day they are living with confidence again.

The spectacular South Downs

From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park covers 1,600km2 of breath-taking landscape. Our route across this dramatic countryside will be an experience for the senses, across rolling farmlands and bridleways and along the rugged coastline of the famous white cliffs of Seven Sisters.

This will be a tough challenge as we’ll cover a massive 26 miles in a day. So stamina, determination and a good level of fitness are a must. The terrain will be mainly bridleways and footpaths so the big challenge is the distance. We will be expertly guided and supported the whole way, to ensure everyone can navigate the terrain and conquer this marathon distance.

As you reach the finish line with your fellow trekkers, the sense of achievement will be overwhelming and the camaraderie between you will be something you will remember forever.

Top five South Downs facts:

  1. The name Downs is derived from the old English word Dun meaning hill.
  2. The National Park has a resident population of 110,000 people, outnumbered by 125,000 sheep!
  3. 39 million people visit the South Downs every year.
  4. The famous chalk cliffs of the South Downs were formed from the remains of tiny sea creatures around 66 to 100 million years ago.
  5. The South Downs is where Julius Caesar’s army first invaded England.

What to expect

Saturday 7 July

We will meet early at Brighton train station and transfer to our start point near Housedean in West Sussex on the South Downs. After a briefing from our trek leaders we’ll set off on our epic trekathon! We will track a route towards Alfriston, then south to the coast via Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters along the footpaths and bridleways of the South Downs and South Coast.

We will be keeping a brisk pace, to complete the distance in time for a 9pm sunset. There will be brief stops for snacks and refreshments along the route and depending on the pace of the group we may split into two groups.

As we hit 26 miles we will be cheered across the finish on the prom in Eastbourne. Time for a quick rest and refreshments and then a transfer to Brighton train station. You will then make your way home with an epic sense of achievement, a marathon ticked off your bucket list, and lots of new friends in your address book!

How much will it cost

£35 registration fee

£350 fundraising pledge

What’s included?

  • Comprehensive training programme
  • Snacks and refreshments on the day
  • Transfer from the finish line to Brighton train station
  • Qualified trek leaders
  • Professional event organisation and delivery
  • Route planning which is considerate to the conservation of the landscape
  • Support vehicle for roaming support of walkers
  • Professional photography and filming
  • Qualified first aiders.

What’s not included?

  • Travel to the start line in Amberley and from Brighton station
  • Personal insurance (e.g. cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Personal equipment (e.g. walking boots, rucksack, waterproof jacket and trousers, torch, hat and gloves).

Why support RNIB?

Take on this incredible challenge and you’ll be helping to make sure people living with sight loss can face the future with confidence. Here are a few ways your fundraising could help.

£12 could pay for 30 minutes with a Sight Loss Adviser, to help someone cope with the shock of finding out they’re going blind.

£20 could help someone feel more confident about living with sight loss, with personalised support from our expert Advice team.

£47 could help someone feel more positive about the future, through a one-to-one phone or online counselling session.

£100 could help a person with sight loss discover ways to live independently, through our two-day Finding Your Feet course.

£200 could run our Employment Line for a day, so we can support people with sight loss to stay in their job or look for work.

£400 could help two people rebuild their confidence through a six-day Living with Sight Loss course.

£980 could run our Eye Health Information Service for a day, so our expert advisers can support people across the UK to understand their eye condition and available treatments.

£1,500 could make a new children’s book available in our Talking Books library, enabling a child with sight loss to experience the joy of reading.

“My life has changed significantly since attending the Living with Sight Loss course. When I left the course on the first day, I said to my mum ‘I feel sick with relief – there is a life I can have after losing my eyesight’”

Michelle Filmer

We support you every step of the way

Our friendly events team will be there every step of the way to support you. We’ll make sure you are fully prepared for your epic challenge, help you to raise as much money as possible and make sure you have an experience you’ll never forget.

Once you’re signed up, we send you an RNIB t-shirt and fundraising pack full of our top tips, and will be in regular contact with expert fundraising and training advice, giving you all the inspiration you need to smash your personal and fundraising goals.

Join us for this epic challenge and you’ll help us make every day better for everyone affected by sight loss: by being there when people need us most, supporting independent living, creating an inclusive society and preventing sight loss. Together we will make sure no one faces sight loss alone.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the team!

You can contact the Events team on 0345 345 0054 or email . We are available Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm.

“This trek was so much more than beautiful scenery and trails to walk across, it offered us a chance to meet people with a shared passion for raising money for a great charity, and offered me the chance to be more open about my sight loss and meet other people with sight problems.”

Danielle Hurlstone, RNIB Trekker

Frequently asked questions

What level of fitness is required?

The challenge level is moderate, suitable for someone who is reasonably fit and takes regular exercise. The route follows good paths and tracks; it is the distance which is the challenge in this event. It is expected to take between eight to twelve hours to complete depending on the pace of the group.

A fitness plan will be provided when you sign up and we recommend you follow this plan. However you should always seek professional advice before starting your training. Inadequate training will have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too, and we want you to have the time of your life! We expect everyone to train hard, but understand everyone has different limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace.

We’ve planned this challenge to attract people at all levels of experience and fitness, varying sight conditions and ages. This is not a race, this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

Who will be leading and managing the trek?

We are working with Maximum Adventure to deliver this trek, a well-established and experienced company who plan and deliver treks across the UK. Your trek will be led by experienced Maximum Adventure leaders and support crew with years’ of experience of leading across the harshest terrain in the UK. Qualified trek leaders are provided at a ratio of one crew to eight participants.

Your safety is Maximum Adventure’s highest priority and the trip is designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (e.g. phones, radios), medical kit, and will have access to 24-hour emergency back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip and will make any changes to the itinerary if necessary. Pre-trip administration, such as medical forms is all done with safety in mind.

You will also be supported by RNIB representatives on the trek, who will be there to support you and to answer any concerns and ensure you have the best possible experience.

Can I complete this challenge if I’m blind or partially sighted?

Yes, absolutely! We are encouraging blind and partially sighted people to sign up. We will be working closely with our event delivery partners Maximum Adventure to carefully plan this trek to take every consideration for blind and partially sighted participants. Plus we are working with past trek participants with sight loss, to implement their recommendations from past experience.

If you require a sighted guide, we recommend you sign up with a friend or family member so you can train and fundraise together. However, if you don’t have someone you can sign up with, then we will be matching people up to ensure anyone who requires a guide has the appropriate support to complete the trekathon.

We will be asking everyone who takes part to fundraise, so any sighted guides who sign up will also be asked to meet the minimum fundraising pledge, to ensure we cover our costs and raise as much money for RNIB as possible.

What are the arrangements for travel and accommodation?

There is no accommodation included in this trek and the only travel included is a transfer from the finish line to Brighton station. There are regular and direct trains between London and Brighton which take approximately one hour. Travel costs are not included in the price and will have to be paid by participants.

What kit will I need?

Personal clothing and equipment is not provided as part of the cost. It is vital you are prepared for all weather conditions and we provide a kit list on registration. The basic essentials include: day rucksack, waterproof jacket and trousers, walking boots, thick socks, warm hat/sun cap, head torch, water bottle and sun protection.

Are there any age restrictions?

You must be at least sixteen years old to take part, and if you’re between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, you’ll need permission from a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit, although in some cases a signed medical form may be required.

Will I need to fill out a medical form?

You will be required to sign a medical form and there are some restrictions in relation to certain medical conditions. Full details will be stated when you sign up, and if you have any of the medical conditions stated you will need to have your medical form signed by your doctor.

What about insurance?

The trip cost does not cover personal insurance and you will need to arrange personal injury cover yourself.

How much does it cost RNIB?

The total cost of the trek to RNIB is £154 per person. The £35 registration fee you pay on sign up goes towards some of the cost of your trip and is non-refundable.

We then use £119 of your £350 fundraising pledge to pay the rest of the costs. This means RNIB receive a minimum of £231 per person to continue our vital work. Our amazing supporters usually fundraise well above their pledge and our brilliant events team will be on hand to help you do this, so it’s likely RNIB will receive even more.

80% of your £350 fundraising pledge will need to be sent to RNIB no later than six weeks before the event. Unfortunately, if this has not been received you will not be able to go on the trip. This is to ensure we cover the cost and RNIB doesn’t lose money.

Many supporters kindly choose to pay their own costs, so all fundraising comes directly to RNIB. If you are in a position to do this, you can email to arrange.

How do I sign up?

Sign up online at If you require a registration form as a word document please contact the RNIB events team.

More questions?

Please contact our friendly Events team, who are here to answer any questions you may have. Please call 0345 345 0054 or email .