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  • Writer's pictureIan Marshall

The Three Hills Challenge: 30K / 2625’

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

This event was previously known simply as ‘The Surrey Hills’. The 30K course is the longest of the three events held on the day, ‘The Leith Ten’ is 16K and ‘The Surrey Six’ is 10K. The races are orienteering type events with the 30K not quite as manic as the two shorter races. The events are organised by South London Orienteers & Wayfarers (SLOW) who also organise the Box Hill race in January.

Fresh from their exploits at Cader Idris in May the 3 Amigos (Clem Dixon, Tarbo Fukuzawa and Ian Marshall) reconvened in Dorking for the 30K ‘Challenge’. The weather was ideal which was fortunate as the day after (Monday) was deluge day in the south East!

It is useful to obtain a copy of the course map pre-event, sit down and plot a course or better still if you have the time! spend a day in the hills recc’ing. There are 12 checkpoints to visit in a prescribed sequence each one to be ‘dibbed’, at the finish you get an immediate print of your time/position for each checkpoint. One runner from Imperial College realised he had missed checkpoint two and had a mad dash back to ‘dib’ it before carrying on.

It wasn’t soon after the start that some people stopped and stared at their course maps, what looked a good route on the map wasn’t quite so easy to locate on the ground when faced with multiple path choices. Whilst Clem & Tarbo had their own little battle, Ian was plodding along but managed to pick up places. You may be a fast runner but this can count for not a lot if you suddenly realise you’re not where you thought you were!

There was a cut-off time of 1hr 45mins at the Duke of Kent School just below Pitch Hill (the last of the 3 hills) but as some people were making interesting route choices this was extended to two hours. It was quite easy to keep meeting up with same runners again and again because of the myriad of route choices

This is a really nice low key event, something a bit different over lovely countryside. There is climbing as you would expect but also plenty of downhill and fast flat running, a good Sunday workout! The ‘Three Hills’ are all steep but not too long with Holmbury Hill the steepest.

As you might expect the first few places went to experienced Orienteering club runners but Tarbo and Clem weren’t far behind!



1st           Jack Kosky           South Downs     2:05:46

8th           Tarbo Fukuzawa                               2:47:37

10th         Clem Dixon                                         2:48:28

30th         Ian Marshall                                       3:49:18


1st (18th)Rebecca Slack    SLOW    3:10:03

36 finished, 2 retired.


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