Pembrokeshire Coast Path Run
Pembroke Coast Path – I never really liked running when I was younger. I did it but that was mainly to get away from something or someone. As I’ve gotten older and I can put on weight just by looking at a chocolate bar then it seems that running is a good way of staying fit and trim….ish. .
I’ve done more and more running and I’ve begun to realise my enjoyment of the sport. The ease of which you can grab your running shoes and head out the door on a micro adventure, is great. Running it seems is a quick fix to break the day up and give my brain a sprig of fresh air.
I love climbing, don’t get me wrong but you do spend a lot of time hanging around… and waiting. Maybe it’s why I’ve enjoyed climbing challenges (usually involving speed climbing) and mountaineering more so in recent years with the main focus being on continual movement rather than ‘what’s the smallest hold you can stick’.
I have many loops and circuits that I know and run regularly around my local area and it was only about 4 years ago I went fell running in the Breacon Beacons and with some sense of amazement I realised I could do it. However the idea of journeying and embarking on an adventure still holds its draw and I am passionate about it. Attempting a challenge is magnificent, the hours spent planning (or not as the case maybe) and the great sense of reward one gets from finishing them – ‘the bigger the challenge, the bigger reward’ – perhaps.
I ran my first ultra distance earlier in 2015 running 30 miles on the Cotswold Way. My idea was to practice different sections on that national trail and then try and run the whole 100 miles in one go over a couple of days.
Pembroke Coast Path – My Equipment
The trails themselves are world famous and are well sign posted throughout allowing the eager traveler to swiftly move along, rather than stopping every 5 minutes to check the map. Yes I know to keep the sea on the same side and you will be fine but there’s more to it than that. I still like the adventure and I wanted to leave a lot to chance and exploration so I decided to go unsupported (well sort of Bobs ran with me on the first day and Alun picked me up on the last day) and with no accommodation apart from my van and no idea how to get back to it each day – an adventure it was sure to be.
After purchasing coast path map I checked my diary and I had 7 days off between 18th and 24th June. I had work commitments on the weekend and I thought it would be a perfect to try and slot the 186 miles (299 km) run in then. I did some research on the fastest time for someone to complete the trail in and at the top of Google came a report of a Merrell sponsored athlete – Katie Roby. She had run the trail with support in 6 days, running an ultra a day for 6 days. ‘Perfect’, I thought, ‘that’s my challenge then – 6 days’
Now, some of you may be wagging the finger here thinking ‘Dave you nutter, your not a sponsored hero – you will not make it’. However I worked out if I traveled 6.25 km an hour for 8 hours that’s 50 km which is 31 miles – 31 miles times 6 days is 186 miles…….bingo – I can do that. I can walk 4 km an hour, that’s easy. So if I run the flats and down hills to increase my pace to 6.25 km and run for 8 – 9 hours non stop that’s the Pembroke Coast Path ticked – I didn’t bother to look at the height gain…….it can’t be that hilly – can it????
Pembroke Coast Path – Day 1 – St Dogmaels to Goodwick
Oh my god it’s hilly……
Pembroke Coast Path – Day 2 – Goodwick to Abercastle
It’s – Wet Wet Wet
Pembroke Coast Path – Day 3 – Abercastle to Broad Haven
That was a really long way and I felt alright…..
Pembroke Coast Path – Day 4 – Broad Haven to Neyland
That was a really long way and I felt shit…..
Pembroke Coast Path – Day 5 – Neyland to Freshwater East
10 hours of sleep, I feel better but I go mad – really, I go mad!!!
Pembroke Coast Path – Day 6 – Freshwater East to Amroth
30 km left – you aren’t going to quit now boy!!!
My systems this time were good. I didn’t get chaffing apart from on day 1. I then switched after that to wearing lots of pants. The hardest thing was getting back to the van each day. I found out about the amazing bus routes that serves the Pembrokeshire Coast on day 2 but they don’t take into account you’re going to be running an ultra marathon a day. This meant multiple buses, taxis and hitch hiking. This left not much time for washing kit, showering, eating and of course sleeping – however I have realised if you don’t stop and you keep putting one foot in front of the other it’s amazing what you can achieve – believe in yourself and keep going.