FKT: Daniel Evans - Allen Davis Round (United Kingdom) - 2021-07-03

Route variation
Standard Loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
9h 26m 14s
GPS track(s)

Saturday 3rd July 2021 Allen Davis Round.

Firstly, I would like to give kudos to Allen for creating this fantastic route! It has everything.

My first 50 Mile Ultra. I met SVT Gaffa Marc Barrow at Port Eynon 0830 for a 0900 start. Walked up to the start, which was a mission as the ferns and everything else seemed to have exploded in height.

0900 start, headed off, overshot the first turn, double backed, got attacked by stinging nettles up to the waste going through the path around the campsite. Out of the campsite though the fields which on recce runs had sheep, none to be seen, but the length of the grass has increased somewhat. Over some more empty fields knee high grass, not what it was like on recces therefore carefully thinking the pacing as to not blow up later...... and then the rain started. Getting to a Trig point in a barley field was fun. Firstly, on recces this was all ploughed out, this time, knee high barley, also cautious of damaging anything and getting chased by a farmer were also on my mind. That one checked off, now to head over to Rhossilli, where we were met with acres upon acres of chest height fields to run though, soaked from head to toe and barely an hour in, and we were enjoying life. Coming out into Pitton Cross Marc dropped off (Thanks man!) and was then picked up by Alastair who was coming with me to Cefn Bryn.

We were ticking off the Trig points nicely, the weather was lamping down but fortunately I had recced the course in much worse conditions, so I knew exactly what it was going to be like on the tops and what the descents were going to be like. Over this stretch the hills are pretty much back-to-back. It was very much a jacket on jacket off stretch. We had a great run. Prior to this run I had never met Alastair in my entire life, time flew by and the conversation was very much gauged on the task in hand as Alastair was an experienced ultra-runner, imparting his knowledge onto me whilst chatting all things sport.

Top of Cefn Bryn (13.4 miles completed) we were met by my Parents for a pit stop and the weather wasn't letting up, we were also joined by Matt Powell. Again, another chap I knew but had never run with but knew he was very experienced. We headed off out over the Bryn we would hit another Trig this would be where Alastair would depart - Thanks a lot bud.

Matt and I would try and recover some of the pace that had been stripped from me due to the overgrown fields and slippery grounds preventing a decent run down, mainly as I feared over going head over heels. Between here and the next checkpoint as it was mostly down/rolling with 1 climb onto Welsh moor. Back onto the road and shuffling along nicely Matt and I were making good ground and he kept me at a good honest comfortable pace. We were then met by my parents again for another pit stop. (20 miles completed)

Weather was easing up now. We continued from Tircoch Cottages out over to Penclawdd to be met with what was a lovely path during recces to being neigh-on impassable. Stung by nettles head to toe, skin was being shredded, then the grass fields to the top were knee high. It was a royal slog. Going into another TP we were met by some cows and a bull, at this point I got a little bit worried, not for me but Matt as he was wearing red, and we needed to get past them... Preferably alive. Turns out they don't mind the colour red. Another TP ticked off. At this point Matt was departing and I was going solo over to Fairwood. Thanks for giving up your morning mate!

For the first time I was now on my own, I knew what was coming, field after field, but what I had figured out gauging on what I'd been through already, it wasn't going to be the short grass and sheep filled fields I was used to on my recces. They were waist height and to conserve energy I hiked it out and consumed my solid foods whilst the opportunity had presented itself.

Getting out into Three Crosses was nice. I knew that in 2 miles I had a few runners joining me, but also a little stretch of tarmac to displace some of the water built up in my shoes. This worked a treat until I got passed the Fairwood TP and had to go through the ferns which are head height for about 300 metres. Again, I hiked it out, took on solids and fluids and headed into the Wildflower cafe where I was met by Lee, Bob and my parents who had kindly got me an espresso. It was at this point the sun had come out. I stripped my soaking t-shirt off for a new one and it felt great having dry kit on. I also took extra fuel just in case. (28 miles completed)

Lee, Bob, and I then headed off to Blackpill over Clyne GC. It was roasting on the top but a lovely, shaded descent and I knew I had a couple of flat miles to claw back some of the pace I had lost. Lee and Bob I've known years, so it was just like going for a training run, talking about anything and everything. As we got to Blackpill, Lee’s partner Beth jumped on as we headed out over to the next TP on top of Mumbles Hill. After running flat for a few miles, the pace had really kicked up and we were making great progress, chatting with the legs ticking over, it took the focus off my legs. Not because they were hurting, but because I literally could not feel them with all the nettles they had been through. Wise move, we walked up to neigh on the top of Mumbles hill giving me time to get solid fuel on. Out of the descent into Fortes Cafe there was a big crowd cheering me on from Celtic Tri and some innocent by-standers…. Super appreciate the morale boost! At this point Lee and Beth departed (Thanks guys it was a blast!). Gary, Sy, Rhys and Joe joined and Bob stayed on. Only thing that was missing… my parents! (They stopped for chips and I was 15 minutes early) (33miles completed)

Fortunately, I had already taken extra fuel at the Wildflower Cafe which was good. Only thing was I was now running low on fluids, but I knew Caswell had shops which were open. Running the coastal path with a good group of lads was perfect. It was hot, but with such a big group of us rotating the conversations and banter were A1. Mainly Gary telling me to stop walking I am supposed to be running. I can always rely on Gary to give you a good pep talk. Heading into Caswell, I really needed fluids and a fizzy drink (which were in my parents’ car). Bob nipped up the road to source these for me which were a godsend. We paused in Caswell, Gary turned back around to double his annual running mileage and the rest carried on post a bottle of coke and water. (36 miles completed)

Now I was heading into unknown territory for myself, 36 miles was my longest run to date, would my mind start to play games with me? Nonetheless it was time to hit the steps out of Caswell. These weren't as bad as what were to come, but it wasn't half heating up and inside there it was mega humid, sweat was pouring out of me. Brandy cove was much the same, just pretty much double the length and that was tough on tiring legs, but the best was to come. I knew I had to remain smart with my strategy which so far was working well. We as a group ran well, all runners so a lot of chatter was surrounding races planned/cancelled/completed and aspirations for 2022. Next thing I get a little cramp shot in my calf about a mile away from Southgate. Bob had salt tablets (which were also in my parents’ car), so I took one of them and a good mouthful of water, backed the pace off whilst the Precision Hydration went to work.

Getting into Southgate another feed station, Bob and Rhys paced it out to see if my parents had 1) Arrived and 2) Enjoyed their chips. They were there. I took an extended break here to make sure I got everything I needed, PH in my bottles along with the fuel. A very well earned can of coke also. (40 Miles completed)

The next 5 miles I knew were going to be tough as it involved sand. Sand wrecked me on my training runs, but now I was 40 miles in. Due to the weather not a lot of people had ventured out and because it had rained the sand wasn't as sapping as it normally was. It was a clear path over the steppingstones and up the travellator of a path. The path was torture. I was roasting, a bead of sweat on the end of my nose the whole way to the top, it was mega humid but one foot in front of the other the top was in site. We all made it to the top. The conversation was quiet but deep breaths could be heard all around. One at the top over to the gate where a bird’s eye view of the next section over to Oxwich was to be seen. SAND - but before that a sharp descent through gauze, nettles, ferns, bushes just to top up the stings and scratches from earlier. I genuinely think these helped as for most of the run so far, I hadn't been able to feel below my quads. Rhys, Bob and I were first out and carried on, whilst Bob waited for Sy and Joe. Going across the sand to the Cafe for another pit stop was hard going, my legs were now starting to feel tired as the sand sapped away at them, but I knew end of this stretch there is an ice cream, can of coke and the home stretch! (45 miles completed)

At this point Rhys departed (thank you man!) 4 amigos left. Oxwich step, oh man time to meet your maker. One mission was to get from bottom to top without stopping, as stopping would be like a kiss of death. Bob, who is a well-known ultra-runner, set the pace and kept the positivity going. We got to the top in one go, which I knew now that is over its rolling all the way to Port Eynon. Regrouped at the TP and onwards for the final stretch. Around 48 miles my left knee started niggling, so I run walked run walked to ease it up. I knew it wasn't an inbound injury just it was tightening up, after all I had never run this distance in one go before. I also guessed the nettle stings were wearing off. Bob steps up again, “come on get a move on”, like an RSM but with humour, much like I did to him when he done his Ultra last year. When we got to Port Eynon the knee was still giving me gyp so I thought going through the campsite before the final climb to the finish I would stretch my legs out. I opened the legs up for a couple of hundred meters and the niggle in my knee disappeared. (50 miles)

Out of the campsite I looked at my elapsed time. 9hr22mins I was on for a sub 9:30 like I wanted. I took the opportunity to shuffle through the bushes and nettles again and put a final dig in to the trig point again. 9hr26mins14secs

My journey to my first 50 miler and an attempt at a Fastest Known Time was completed.