FKT: Catherine Stoneman, Jane Stephens - Cotswold Way (United Kingdom) - 2022-06-25

Route variation
Standard point-to-point
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 10h 44m 46s

Catherine Stoneman & Jane Stephens
Supported FKT attempt.

During a visit to a bar somewhere in Cornwall sometime in January 2022 one of us (I blame Catherine) came up with the idea of having a fun couple of days out somewhere pretty. I happened to mention that I had once taken part in a 3 and a half day race along the Cotswold Way and that it was really pretty. So we set our sights on that. Stop in a nice pub overnight somewhere along the route. Finish up with a night in Bath. Perfect.

Now I really do blame Catherine for the next bit. There is no women's FKT on the website. So it rapidly turned into us deciding that we
should at least give it a go and lay down a gauntlet for other speedy ladies to follow. Catherine is a much faster and better runner than me so I knew she would be completing this at my pace. Catherines other half, Mark, was to be our crew for the duration.

Mark drove us to the start in Chipping Campden and we set off just after 6am on Friday 24th June.  It was a beautiful morning and thankfully comfortably cool at that time of day. We had planned to meet with Mark for the first time at 25 miles so that we could get a decent chunk under our belts. Catherine had meticulously planned our crew points and it was amazing to tick off the miles, knowing that Mark would be there. He never once missed us and even popped up unexpectedly too. He was just brilliant!

The comfortably cool conditions were short lived! It rapidly got very warm. Unfortunately for me, my occasional nausea issue reared its head after about 30 miles and several times I thought it would stop my progress. Luckily, the worst time for me was during a scheduled
crew stop in the middle of the night and quitting would have meant Catherine continuing on her own. This was something neither Mark nor I were happy about, Mark was wearing flip flops so he couldn’t go out with her ,so as she so eloquently put it I had to "man up and stop fannying about!" Best words spoken in the midst of a crisis!!

So to sum up our run.
We completed it in 34 hours and 47 minutes. We did have a few sleeps along the way. The best of these was for 45 minutes in an actual bed, but only after Mark found us like a couple of hobos curled up in a shop doorway in Wootton Under Edge. He actually called us doughnuts and in pied piper fashion guided us to a pub! 2 fairly smelly bodies took full advantage of a lie down but only briefly. We set off
from the 71 mile mark relatively refreshed.

On the approach to Bath, after crossing the M4, we were met with a diversion due to a “serious police incident” on the route. The signs looked fairly permanent and directed us left instead of right and assured us of no added distance. This turned out to be an incredibly well signed diversion and after about 2 miles we were back on course. We met Mark briefly on a couple of occasions, the last being in Weston. Then it was just the final 3 miles into Bath and to meet our loved ones on the steps of the Abbey.

A few things to point out that have stuck in our memories. The Cotswold Way is VERY hilly. It is not 100 miles long. There are several totally pointless bits!! By this we mean - why do we have to go all around this field when we are going to rejoin the route “just there”! Some of the hills are horrible. Lots of the views are stunning. We hate Cheltenham. We only base this on the fact that once you see it you never leave it! Coopers Hill is fab and asking a random stranger to start your BabyBel cheese rolling competition brightens everyones day.

When you think you have 13 miles left and you find a massive sign saying “Cotstwold Way to Bath 17 miles” your crew saying “it’s only 4 miles” is not at all helpful! Downloading the GPX from the official CW website actually tries to take you from Bath to Chipping Campden. Spending 34 hours and 104 miles with your best friend is awesome!