Frequently asked questions

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Due to low uptake of the Marathon and Ultra events, it is with regret that we have taken the decision not to offer them in 2017.

These events add an additional 6 hours to the overall duration of the Cheltenham Challenge, and require full route infrastructure and marshals to be in place for the duration. Some participants were completing the Marathon and Ultra events only to be greeted by a deserted event village and only a handful of spectators remaining to cheer them over the finish line.

Many of our event marshals and race management staff, all of whom are volunteers, were starting at 4am in the morning and finishing at 7pm in the evening – a long day by anyone’s standards.

To improve the experience for both participants and marshals, and maintain the atmosphere of the event, we have shortened the overall duration, discontinued the Marathon and Ultra, and moved the start time to 10am.

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 Saturday 17th June (times to be confirmed) and from 7am on Sunday 18th June.

There are three Challenges available in 2017: 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.

When you complete online registration, you will receive email confirmation containing a QR code. Please retain this code and bring it with you to the registration building to collect your race number (don’t forget safety pins!).

Note: due to the number of race numbers that go missing , we no longer post them out. All numbers must be collected on the weekend of the event.

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.

If you have registered several participants together, please bring all the QR codes and check that the correct race number is handed to the correct person.

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 Saturday 17th 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.

Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash. 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.

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 water upon completing their event and there will be regular water / refreshment points around the route.

On the 5k route, refreshments will be provided at the finish area.

The 10k route has a water / refreshment station at approximately the half-way point at the rear of the Ellenborough Park Hotel.

The Half Marathon loop will have plenty of  water / refreshment stations at regular points around the route.

New for 2017, the event will have access to ample toilet facilities within Cheltenham Racecourse. 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 will be presented to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed male and female in each event as measured from the official event start time.

Participants who register online before the end of March 2017 will receive a free Cheltenham Challenge T-shirt (subject to availability).

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 on 1st October 2015 and closes at midnight on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

Early-bird rates are available until 31st January 2017. Thereafter, normal entry fees apply.

Last date for registration changes, category or name transfers is 4th June 2017.

Discounted rates are available to UKA Affiliated Club Members until online registration closes on 14th June. Thereafter, subject to availability, flat rate on-the-day will apply.

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 event and the Half Marathon event are with the Trail Running Association under permit numbers 143 & 144.

The Trail Running Association (TRA) is an associate member of UK Athletics (UKA). The events listed above will be run under TRA rules and entry lists and results will be submitted to TRA for inclusion in national listings including Run Britain.

The 5K event and junior / child 10K categories are classed as Fun Runs.