Ones to Watch – Race to the King 2024

Race News

With less than two weeks to go until the 2024 Threshold Trail Series kicks off at Race to the King, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the athletes toeing the line at West Dean on 15th June.

With its accessible figure-of-eight format and runnable Coastal loop, Race to the King really is the perfect first ultra, and we tend to see a lot of newcomers to the sport at this event, as well as people using the 50k course as a warm-up to Race to the Stones 100k. Nonetheless, the race has serious competitive potential, and we’re delighted to be welcoming some very fast runners this year to Race to the King, a number of whom will have their eye on course records.

This year’s Race to the King is also the focal point of our Ultra 50:50 Campaign to achieve gender parity at our events, bucking an industry-wide trend for ultramarathons to be male-dominated. Our six Ultra 50:50 Challengers will be taking on the event – each has a unique story to tell, from a two-time cancer survivor to a new mother returning to ultrarunning post-partum. If you see them on the event, give them a smile!

About the Routes

Though it’s always been based in the heart of South Downs National Park, Race to the King’s route has evolved over the years. Initially a 52-mile double marathon, in 2022 we made the decision to bring the distances on offer at the event into alignment with the 50km/100km format of Race to the Stones, modifying the route in the process.

2024 will therefore be third year Race to the King takes place in its current format, a ‘figure of eight’ made up of two 50km loops – the flat and fast Coastal Loop through Chichester Harbour and the hilly, slower-going Castle Loop across the South Downs. The two loops are also run as stand-alone 50k events.

Ones to Watch

Joe Baker

Yorkshire-based Threshold Ambassador Joe is a seasoned pro in the world of 24-hour racing. In 2022, Joe became the first solo runner to complete 30 laps (150 miles) at Endure24, our 24-hour trail racing series, and is the current record holder for both our Endure24 Reading and Leeds events. This year, Joe will be toeing the line at Race to the King 100k, and although he is not planning on racing aggressively, his 100-mile PB of 15:27, run in March earlier this year, suggests he is nonetheless in strong contention for the podium.

Follow Joe on Instagram

Sophie Carter

We’re delighted to be welcoming Sophie Carter back to the Threshold Trail Series. After her triumphant victory at last year’s Race to the Stones 100k (breastfeeding her seven month-old baby at pitstops along the way), she plans to run Race to the King competitively, and is arguably the clear favourite to take the win in the 100k event. We believe that Alex Buckley’s 2023 course record of 12:20:43 is well within Sophie’s grasp, and can’t wait to follow her journey on the day.

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Sam Harper

After placing third at Centurion Running’s 2022 North Downs Way 50-miler, Sam went on to solidify his position as a competitive ultrarunner with a second-place finish at the 2023 Race to the Stones 100km. Sam has his sights set firmly on Race to the Stones once again this year, but is using the 50km Castle loop at Race to the King as a final warm up race. Keep your eyes on those hills for a fast time from Sam!

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Mike Houston

With a 10k PB of 32:23 and a 2:36 marathon to his name, Mike Houston is undoubtedly one to watch when it comes to the men’s podium at Race to the King 100k this year. A self-confessed “ex-pie eating, drinking golfer”, Mike is a Chichester local, so his familiarity with much of the route may give him a sizeable advantage. However, this will be his first time running beyond the marathon distance, and as we know too well, experience is a big factor when it comes to ultras. Mike told us he plans to run Race to the King conservatively in order to qualify to enter a 100-mile race.

Kerry Langley

Brighton-based Threshold Ambassador Kerry Langley is a personal trainer, coach, and mum to two girls, as well as being head of female performance at The Vault 164. Kerry is taking on her first ultramarathon with us this year at Race to the King, running the 50k Coastal course. Though her focus will primarily be on enjoying herself and finishing strong, Kerry’s background in strength and fitness could lend itself well to a strong time.

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Tommy Lewis

Tommy is a qualified personal trainer and run coach who this year is taking on Race to the King 50km Castle loop as one of our Threshold Ambassadors. Known for his in-depth videos on all things running, Tommy will be putting his expertise into practice on this undulating course across the South Downs, which takes in magnificent views of Arundel Castle along the way.

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Marvin Palmer

Birmingham-based Threshold Ambassador Marvin is running Race to the King Coastal 50k as part of his training to complete Race to the Stones 100km, his third attempt after two regrettable dropouts due to injury. Third time’s the charm!

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Alex Sawbridge

As a member of the Threshold Sports team, Alex may be a familiar face if you attended one of our pre-race webinars this year. Alex is no stranger to the world of ultras, having placed sixth at Race to the Stones 100k in 2023, a feat made all the more impressive by his sixth place finish at Centurion Running’s South Downs Way 100-miler just six weeks beforehand. Whilst Alex is planning to run conservatively, we know he loves a bit of friendly competition, and look forward to following his journey along the Race to the King 100k route this year.

Follow Alex on Instagram

Tasha Thompson

Tasha Thompson is the founder of Black Girls Do Run, an online and in-person community platform to show that everyday regular black women do and can run. As a Threshold Ambassador, Tasha is taking on 50km at both Race to the King and Race to the Stones, as well as running as part of a Black Girls Do Run team at Endure24 Reading, part of our 24-hour trail race series Endure24.

Follow Tasha on Instagram

The Ultra 50:50 Challengers

Since 2013, we’ve consistently welcomed a higher proportion of female athletes than the industry standard. In 2024, we want to go one step further, and achieve 50% female participation at our events.

In the build-up to our 2024 events season, we recruited a team of six (extra)ordinary women to take on the challenge as part of our Ultra 50:50 campaign. All of our incredible Challengers will be taking on 50km or 100km at Race to the King, and we can’t wait to see their incredible journeys celebrated out on the course.

Find Out More

Follow Along

As the race unfolds, we’ll be sharing updates from across the pack all weekend on our social media channels: make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and join the Strava group if you haven’t already.

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