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Frequently asked questions

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Cheltenham Challenge is committed to reducing our impact on the environment by reducing wastage and limiting the use of single-use disposable plastic containers.

We ask that participants BRING AND RUN WITH their own REFILLABLE DRINKS BOTTLE. Water stations will be equipped with jugs for refilling.

Gel packs and other wrappers must only be placed in bins at water points and must not be discarded on the ground.

Registration desks are located in the Cheltenham Racecourse North Gate building. Note that this building is NOT part of the main Racecourse complex.

To find it, follow the road running through the car park at the top of the hill and proceed past the Centaur, the Hall of Fame and the administration buildings. Keep going and follow the road downhill and heading north towards the car parking areas at the bottom of the hill.

At the bottom of the hill, off to the right, you will see a white and glass tented structure with two conical domes on top. This is the North Gate entrance where Registration is located.

Registration will be open for collection of race numbers on the Saturday from 1pm to 5pm and from 7am on the Sunday of the event.

There are three Challenge races: 5k, 10k and Half Marathon. All start and finish at Cheltenham Racecourse. You can choose to walk or run whichever of the courses suits your ability.

The routes follow public rights of way across fields, along lanes, over stiles, through gates and across streams.  Some sections pass over fairly rough terrain.

Most of the route is cross country and off road, but there are some short on-road sections during the climb up Cleeve Hill and through Prestbury Village. On the half marathon loop, there is one road crossing on the High Street (at the pedestrian crossing) and another crossing over the main Winchcombe Road near the Ellenborough Park hotel. The 5k route is entirely off-road. There will be marshals and signage to assist you, but please note that the marshals do not have the authority to stop traffic to allow you to cross roads.

There are some steep climbs and undulations on Cleeve Hill on the Half Marathon loop, with total ascent of around 360m, but what a view from the top!  The latter part of the Half Marathon route is also shared with the 10k route. It is fairly level with a short climb right at the end on the approach to the finish line.

Check the individual route descriptions for more information.

Cheltenham Challenge does not ban the wearing of headphones on the off-road parts of the route, however, if you choose to wear headphones, you do so at your own risk. It is your responsibility to make sure you can hear marshals’ instructions and you must remain fully aware of other hazards such as vehicles, cycles, other runners and walkers, livestock and farm machinery.

Some sections of the 10k and half marathon routes cross over roads or follow roads or pavements. Headphones should not be worn on these sections nor in the vicinity of the race start and finish areas. Cheltenham Challenge does not accept responsibility for any incidents arising through the use of headphones, including personal accident or deviation from the marked route.

For UK online registrations completed by the first week in June, race numbers will be posted out. Non-UK and late registrants must collect their race numbers from the registration desks on the weekend of the event. You will need to give your surname and postcode for collection. Don’t forget to bring safety pins to attach your race number to your clothing!.

Your race number should be attached to the front of your clothing to ensure it is visible to course marshals and finish line video camera.

The number is produced on special waterproof paper and needs to be attached to your shirt with safety pins.  A timing chip will be embedded to the number and is programmed to you individually.  Please be careful not to bend or crease the timing chip. The electronic timing system will be activated and deactivated when you pass through the start / finish line.

Race numbers can be collected on the Saturday between 1pm and 5pm, and on the morning of the event. Please check the website for final details after online registration closes.

There will be a secure baggage area located  in or near the registration building.

Unfortunately, due to the mixed nature of the terrain, obstacles such as kissing gates and stiles, and pinch-points on some sections of the route, the course is not suitable for buggies, prams or wheelchairs.

All participants including children aged 12 and under MUST be registered for the event in which they are taking part. Please note that children and juniors are not permitted in the Half Marathon event.

Dogs are permitted but it is the responsibility of the dog owner to decide whether the course length, the ground conditions,  and the weather conditions are suitable for their dog.

Whilst the Cheltenham Challenge is NOT an organised Canicross event, we would refer dog owners to the welfare and other general guidance given within the Kennel Club’s “General Regulations for Canicross Competitions”.

Dogs must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. Participants with dogs are requested to position themselves well back in the starting funnel to avoid any potential entanglement when the race starts.

Whilst we work with landowners to ensure the routes across their property are freely passable, participants are asked to bear in mind that livestock may be present in some fields.

Dog water bowls are available at water stations.

Dog owners must carry poop bags and dispose of dog waste responsibly.

There will be a range of stalls in the event village with food and drink available to purchase.

Participants will be provided with free water and snacks at regular water stations / refreshment points around the route.

PLEASE NOTE: Cheltenham Challenge is committed to reducing our impact on the environment by reducing wastage and limiting the use of single-use disposable plastic containers. We ask that participants BRING AND RUN WITH their own REFILLABLE DRINKS BOTTLE. Water stations will be equipped with jugs for refilling.

There is at least one water station on the 5k route, two on the 10k route, and several on the Half Marathon route. Refreshments and water top-up is are provided at the finish area.

Cheltenham Challenge has access to plentiful toilet facilities within Cheltenham Racecourse. The toilet block is located beneath the main grandstand around 150m from the start / finish area. Please allow a couple of minutes for the walk.

There will be a Portaloo located on the Half Marathon route.

There is plenty of free car parking within Cheltenham Racecourse.  Please follow signs and marshal directions. The Cheltenham Challenge does not involve any road closures and we do not anticipate any traffic jams on the day.

For Satnav/GPS users the postcode is GL50 4SH and further travel information can be found on the Cheltenham Racecourse website. 

We cannot guarantee parking for spectators at any other points along the route.

First Aid cover is provided in the event village and on the course by 4×4 medical response vehicles.

If you need medical attention, please see the nearest course marshal who will be able to call for support if required.

If there is no marshal nearby, please ask another participant to inform the next available marshal that assistance is needed.

Massage facilities will be available in the event village.

The course is multi-terrain, over a mix of smooth and rough ground, farmland, tarmac roads, gravel paths etc. and some sections may be wet and muddy following a period of rain.  Casual walkers are advised to wear comfortable footwear or walking boots, experienced runners may choose to wear running shoes or trail shoes – your personal preference!

Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather. In previous years, the event has seen blazing sunshine,  torrential rain, hailstones, high winds, no wind, and everything in between. Check the weather forecast for the day and come prepared!

You participate at your own risk but some things to consider include:

  • Appropriate footwear and clothing
  • A change of clothes / something warm to help your muscles cool down slowly
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Thin layers
  • Mobile phone
  • Think of the weather and dehydration in warm weather
  • Water and toilets will be provided at points around the course.

All finishers will be presented with a Cheltenham Challenge medal upon completing their chosen challenge. Winners medals or T-shirts (TBC) will be presented to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed male and female in each event as measured from the official event start time.

Branded technical T-shirts will be available to purchase through the website.

Drinks, snacks and goodies will be available.

A sense of achievement comes as standard!

All routes start and finish at Cheltenham Racecourse. A minibus will be available if you are unable to complete your event and need assistance to get back to the racecourse. Course marshals will be able to contact the transport on request.

Please note that due to the off-road nature of the event, some parts of the route do not have vehicular access. On Cleeve Common, assistance may be provided by the Cleeve Common Rangers.

First aid assistance will be provided by a 4×4 response team or the normal emergency services.

There are a number of hotels and guest houses in and around Cheltenham.  Visit www.cheltenhamaccommodation.co.uk for information and availability.

There are a large number of restaurants throughout Cheltenham that cater for different tastes and budgets.  Many are in the town centre and at the Brewery.

Cheltenham has a lot packed in to a relatively small geographical area so once you are in town, you can walk from one place to another easily. The walk from the town centre to the racecourse takes around 30 minutes.

On line registration opens in early October and closes at midnight on the Wednesday before the event.

Early-bird rates are available until the end of January,  thereafter, normal entry fees apply.

Registrations are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Discounted rates are available to UKA Affiliated Club Members until online registration closes. 

There are two options for registering a team.

The easiest way is to simply to enter a team name in the appropriate box on the registration form. Team members should liaise to ensure they all enter the same name (with the same spelling!) if registering separately.

There is also a more advanced team setup and management facility available. This allows a team captain to set up a new team, pre-pay for places on the team, and issue invitations to other team members to join the team and claim a pre-paid place. This option is more suited to corporate and charity teams bulk purchasing places for colleagues.

The adult 10K and the Half Marathon events have previously been registered with the Trail Running Association under permit numbers 143 & 144. However, consultation undertaken with participants after the 2017 event indicated that TRA registration was not considered to add value to the event.

The 2018 events are therefore NOT run under TRA rules.