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The Pony Express

2013 sees the 3rd running of the Pony Express Challenge – a 60 mile, 2 day ultra run around the New Forest National Park.

The New Forest, or “Nova Foresta” as it was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086, makes a stunning backdrop for a long distance run – take a look at our 2012 event photos here, or watch our YouTube clip.

It’s vast area of ancient woodland and pasture area with a long history: first cultivated during the Bronze Age, it was created as a royal hunting ground by William 1 in 1079. There are many reminders of the forest’s history, with many round barrows, ‘boiling mounds’ of burnt fire-cracked flint, and ancient monuments, including the famous Rufus Stone.

Most people know the area for the New Forest ponies. Throughout the run you’ll see hundreds of them, and the race date in May coincides with when many of the foals are born. Aside from the ponies and foals, the forest is alive with wildlife, from herds of wild deer, to birds of prey; you will be treated to many wonderful sights.

We start in Brockenhurst, right by the main line train station, and then head out on a southerly route of 30 miles around the forest to Moyles Court School, near Ringwood. Here we settle in for an overnight right in the centre of the forest. The evening meals and breakfasts at Moyles Court are some of the best we have throughout the year and are all included in the entry fee.

On Saturday evening we are delighted to be joined by Jennifer Bradley, a Pony Express veteran who went on to run across the US in 2012, covering 3300 miles in 80 days, from Washington State on the Pacific Coast to Delaware on the Atlantic. She will be sharing her amazing story and is sure to inspire you for the next day’s run.

On Sunday, we head off around the north of the forest, covering another 30 miles with some stunning views right across to the Isle of Wight, finishing back in Brockenhurst.

We have 3 starts for walkers, runners and fast runners which creates a great atmosphere out on the course as the walkers and runners pass each other. The route is a mixture of tracks, trails and open pasture, and is normally firm under foot and pretty quick going. The record for the full 60 miles of the route is 8 hours 4 mins, held by Mark Ford.

The Pony Express runs on May bank holiday weekend, and many competitors make it a family weekend break – so why not bring the full support crew along?

We hope to see you in May in the New Forest.

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