The day ultra race runners headed into battle with the Gladiator 2 film crew

South Downs Way 100 2024
South Downs Way 100 2024 (Image credit: Centurion Running)

There’s something deeply ironic about an ultra marathon that’s been organized by a company called Centurion almost literally running into trouble with a film crew shooting scenes for Roman epic Gladiator 2.

But that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when the leaders in the South Downs 100 in the UK  were almost forced to take a detour when they found the crew for the Ridley Scott-directed sequel slap bang in their path.

The 100-mile race had this year became part of the Gran Canaria World Trail Majors for the first time, so the racers weren’t expecting a hazard like this en route, which they encountered about two thirds of the way into the race.

The bulk of the movie, set for release later this year, had already been shot in Morocco, and it’s understood that this UK filming were part of reshoots on the South Downs.

Irish actor Paul Mescal, who stars as Roman Empire Lucius Verus, the grown-up son of Lucilla from the 2000 original movie, was spotted at the location.

Keith Simpson, the father of the winner of the women’s race, Cat Simpson, recalled the incident in Facebook post, saying, “There was a very unusual incident during the race. As the early runners approached Devils Dyke at 66 miles they encountered the film crew of Gladiator 2 who tried to send them on a slightly different route. Unsurprising the Centurion staff quickly contacted them to sort out this out.”

So don’t be surprised if you see someone running through the background of ancient Rome in fluorescent trainers and Lycra shorts come the film’s release in November this year.