The Cotswold Way in One Day

Start of the Cotswold Way waymarkerIt started as a bit of a joke. Could the Cotswold Way (100 miles, from Chipping Campden to Bath) be run in one day? Then of course we found that somebody had alread done it.

Then Dan, who had done the South Wales Traverse, said it was quite doable, and that he fancied it. Then I said I was going to support the attempt.

And then we found ourselves at Chipping Campden yesterday, at 7:15 am. Alex and Dan were running, Craig and myself supporting.

The first leg, from Chipping Campden to Stanway house, 12 miles, started at 07:30 am. The boys arrived fresh and cheerful at Stanway House bang on schedule at 09:50 am. They had lost the route, they said, which had cost them about 10 minutes.

Craig knows the next leg, from the Cotswold Relay race, organised by our club, City of Bath AC, so he ran with Alex and Dan. They set off at 09:54 am, for Cleeve Common.

They arrived a bit early for our rendez-vous at the golf club house at Cleeve Common, 12.5 miles further, at 12:06 am (14 minutes up on schedule). Spirits aren’t quite as high anymore. Dan doesn’t want to look inside his shoes, he reckons there’s already blood there. Alex announces this is the furthest he’s ever run. They say how much easier it is for them if someone is running with them to do the route finding, so I decide to run with them on the next leg, a short one at 8 miles, to Seven Springs. We leave 10 minutes later after a cup of tea and some sitting in comfy chairs.

Just as we come into Seven springs we notice that the version of the Cotswold Way on my map isn’t the same as on Dans. Consequently, we don’t find Craig, who’s parked the van somewhere along his version of the Cotswold Way, but we don’t know this yet. Not good news as we are out of water.

Alex and Dan carry on, with a new meeting point in the middle of the next leg at Crickley Hill country park. I keep phoning Craig until I get through to him and find out what the situation is. We decide it would be good to get some water to them, so I jump on my mountain bike and start chasing after them. After I have filled up their bladders, I rejoin Craig at Crickley Hill. When Alex and Dan arrive, Craig decides to run the next half of the leg with them, to the Royal William pub at Cranham Corner. Alex says he wants to keep running until over halfway.

The guys arrive at Cranham Corner at 16:49 pm, 11 minutes up on schedule, after 12.5 miles from Seven Springs. Dan looks very tired now and keeps repeating he’s dead, his calves are really stiff. Craig decides to run another leg with them, and they leave at 17:08, on to the canal crossing at Stanley Mill in Stroud, another 12.5 miles on.

In the mean time Andy has joined the supporting crew, and is trying to catch up with the runners at Painswick. When Andy arrives at the Mill, he’s got Alex with him in the car, who had enough at Pitchcombe, well over halfway. Andy runs back from the Mill to see how Craig and Dan are doing.

They arrive at 19:38, 12 minutes behind schedule now. Dan is really looking the worse for wear now and doesn’t feel like eating, or getting out of his chair. Still very stiff calves. He has a cup of tea and wants to sit down a bit longer than the scheduled 10 minutes, because he’s feeling nauseous. After he chucks up a huge amount of brown water, he gets up and wants to carry on. Andy runs with him, and we rendez-vous 4 miles on at the Coaley Peak viewpoint.

Just as the 2 cars arrive there, I receive a phone call from Andy. Dan has gone to sleep in the grass he says, he’s had enough. We go and pick them up at Middleyard, where Dan is sat in the chair, and doesn’t do a lot of moving. He’s got really bad cramps in his legs. He must have been really dehydrated.

Still, a sterling effort from Dan to run more than 12 hours, and more than 60 miles. From Alex, who ran more than 50 miles, more than 10 hours on his feet. And from Craig who ended up running with Alex and Dan on 2 and a half legs, running a good 30 miles.

There are some pictures up on the City of Bath AC website.

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