FKT: Mandy Foyster - JOGLE / LEJOG (UK) - 2023-05-20

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19d 10h 51m 8s
GPS track(s)

I started my self-supported LEJOG on Monday 1st May 2023 at 4.59.30am.  I had planned & prepared for this over eighteen months and after 40 years of long distance & adventure running experience. I carried all my own equipment in a 25-litre running backpack with a specially adapted chest pack on the front & two soft bottle holders. My kit was minimal, I carried a lightweight bivi-bag, sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping mat, a padded jacket, one set of spare underwear/socks etc, shorts/leggings/base layers/mitts/one pair of waterproof socks in addition to my normal ones. I also had a tracker from Open Tracking, mobile phone, small headtorch, Fennix 6 watch, four small power banks, charging cables for everything + I had an Alpkit lightweight solar panel on my backpack to assist with the recharging. I used zip lock plastic bags containing my electricals, one containing first aid kit, one containing personal care items, one containing my spare clothing & another with a few emergency repair items in it. I also took lightweight waterproof jacket and trousers and a large plastic rain poncho which covered everything including my backpack. My travel towel was stuffing for one of my fun mascots, Olaf the snowman, I had clip on lights so I would be visible at night as well as hi viz clothing/ reflective pink backpack cover etc.  I took sunglasses, goggles, a buff cap & a few other head buffs, money, debit card, and identity tags.  I had trained for twelve months to get used to carrying it all, so it all worked perfectly.  My daily routes were downloaded onto my Fenix watch and on OS maps on my phone. I ran/walked the whole distance of 877 miles completely on my own wearing/carrying my backpack all the way. I had no support nor assistance at all from anyone I knew & the only help I accepted was from the public where appropriate & in accordance with the FKT self-supported guidelines. I bought all my food and drink from shops, petrol stations and cafes along the way. Occasionally I was given a complimentary cup of tea because the people serving were interested in what I was doing. Everything I accepted would have been available/offered to anyone else in my situation. I either stayed at campsites or slept in my bivi-bag in suitable places on route. I re-charged my electricals fully at the campsites. I took the photos using the timer/selfie mode on my iPhone and on a couple of occasions members of the public offered to take my photo for me when they saw me trying to balance my phone.

Day 1 - Lands’ End to Mena Campsite, Lanivet.  It was a warm but good day, hilly in places and tricky where I had to run/walk along the A30. Thankfully due to the road works I was often able to run in a traffic free lane created by the cones and because it was a Bank Holiday there was no one working on the road works. Some parts were on quiet roads/cycle paths and there was even a little bit of trail which was nice. I arrived at my campsite in the middle of the evening where I slept in my bags in a tiny caravan. Miles completed – 57.09.

Day 2 - Mena campsite to Appledore Campsite just beyond Okehampton. A large part of the day was on the A30 again, but I did take a short detour via quieter roads over Bodmin Moor. It was warm again and the best moment was crossing the county border into Devon. By chance I came across another campsite & booked in for the night, they had a pop-up tent which I slept in, I asked if I could buy a cup of tea, but they gave me a complimentary one. Miles completed – 47.08.

Day 3 - Appledore Park Campsite to West Monkton. It was sunny, windy, and hilly & the Devon countryside was very pretty. I crossed the border into Somerset in the late afternoon and ran/walked on until I found a safe place to sleep in my bivi-bag on the edge of a field/public car park. I was having to do a fair bit of foot care now taping my toes & under the balls of my feet with pink tape which helped. Miles completed – 52.52.

Day 4 - West Monkton to Bristol but then carried on into the night forming part of day 5. It was cooler and generally flatter until I went up a huge hill just before Bristol. It also started raining and I used my poncho to keep myself and everything dry, it worked brilliantly. I couldn’t find anywhere to stop & sleep before the Severn Bridge + it was raining hard. I had a bit of a scare when my watch suddenly got very low on battery, but I managed to save my days activity, plug in my charger, and run on again, which is documented as day 5. Miles completed – 47.73.

Day 5 - Bristol to Trippenkennett Farm Campsite.  I ran on during the night over the Severn Bridge in the wind and rain. I was pleased to get over the bridge because I knew there was an ultra-distance race starting there the next afternoon which some of my friends were doing and I didn’t want to see anyone I knew because of the FKT guidelines. Once over the bridge I looked for a safe place to sleep for a few hours & found a quiet spot in a cemetery where I rested in my bivi-bag until daylight. Then I carried on to my campsite at Trippenkennett Farm just beyond Monmouth arriving there in the afternoon and was able to get myself showered and all my clothes handwashed & dried. Miles completed - 33.45 (documented as end of day 4 + day 5 on Strava).

Day 6 - Trippenkennett Farm to Church Stretton. It rained a lot and my feet got very fragile & sore feeling despite wearing waterproof socks, so I stopped at a Starbucks coffee shop to redo my footcare and kept plodding on. I went the wrong way in the afternoon & had to use a muddy footpath to re-join my route where one of my shoes came off and got stuck in the mud which added to the fun! I retrieved it & carried on to Church Stretton where I slept in my bivi-bag in an old disused open garage.  Miles completed 53.15.

Day 7 - Church Stretton to Eaton. My shoes had dried out overnight & I set off soon running through Shrewsbury. It became very hot later and I didn’t feel too good, so I found a quiet field where I laid down and slept for a couple of hours in the sun. Afterwards I felt better and made good progress in the late afternoon & evening. I called into a pub to buy some drink and they insisted on giving me a free cup of tea and filled my bottle with free orange juice. In the small village of Eaton, I slept in my bivi-bag in a church porch. Miles completed 48.91.

Day 8 - Eaton to Broughton (just beyond Preston). I hadn’t slept well because of the pain & twitchiness in my feet and leg muscles so after about ten miles of slow running/walking I called into a Costa & bought some food and put my head down for an hour on the large seats. I felt better afterwards & carried on, there was a road closure & I had to follow the diversion, it also rained heavily for much of the day. Later in the day the road was flooded, and I had to wade through but at least it cooled down my hot tired feet. After going through Preston with wet fragile feet I stopped exhausted in Broughton and slept in my bivi-bag on the concrete behind a memorial statue. Miles completed 52.71.

Day 9 – Broughton to Kendal Rugby Club Campsite. It had rained during the night, but I kept reasonably dry in my bivi-bag and had covered my backpack with my rain poncho. It was much nicer weather and became hot & sunny later, so I laid my damp bivi-bag over my shoulder & it dried as I walked along. The heat slowed me down a bit and I grew very tired as the day wore on, but I reached the campsite at Kendal Rugby Club in time to have a shower & good rest & eat a mountain of food. Miles completed – 42.50.

Day 10 - Kendal Rugby Club Campsite to just beyond Carlisle.  The first part involved going over Shap Fell & I was stopped by a kind police lady who was concerned that the weather was turning nasty, and she asked if I had suitable clothing & understood how high I was going. I explained what I was doing, and she was reassured and let me continue my way. It was very wet and cold up high, but my rain gear kept me warm and dry. On lower ground again I met another lady who was walking from John o’ Groats to Lands’ End in the opposite direction to me. Later I felt very tired again & had another sleep in my biv-bag for an hour in a wooded area. After going through Carlisle, I was struggling to find a quiet place to sleep because of the nearby motorway. I found a spot near a business park & was about to bivi down for the night when a security guard approached me saying they were concerned for my safety with the passing lorries & asked me to move across the road to sleep undercover at their small base. Miles completed – 47.43.

Day 11 – Carlisle to beyond Moffatt & on a mountainside. It was wonderful to reach Scotland, but I hit a bad patch after several nights of poor sleep mainly due to the rain & pain in my feet and legs. In Ecclefechan I bought a cup of tea in a shop & become a bit disorientated and started going back the way I had come from towards Carlisle. After two & a half miles I realised my mistake and turned around to run back in the correct direction.  The weather was pouring rain but then cleared up in the evening. I was desperately tired & turned up a quiet track to sleep on the mountain side. I had just settled down when a Land Rover pulled up & the landowner was concerned that I might get run over because of the forestry lorries which used the route, so he showed me a better/safer spot to bivi a little higher up the track. Miles completed – 45.49.

Day 12 – Mountainside near Moffat to Braehead. Another tough day when I was desperately tired & had to take a long break in a cafe in Abingdon. I managed to dry out my sleeping bag which had got damp on the mountain by laying it over the cafe chair. Afterwards I walked & ran on as best I could, there was a road closure due to a damaged bridge over the river and a big diversion which added on extra miles. I eventually re-joined my original route and slept in my bivi-bag in a bus shelter. Miles completed - 42.36.

Day 13 – Braehead to the Falkirk Wheel Campsite. I’d had a better night’s sleep & enjoyed my run to Falkirk. I was also really enjoying the changing scenery. I arrived at the campsite in good time to have a shower & wash all my clothes again. A lady asked if she could help me with my bedding etc, but I explained I could not have any assistance because I was doing this self-supported. I slept in my bivi-bag on some gravel which was drier than the grass. Miles completed – 24.63.

Day 14 – Falkirk Wheel Campsite to Amulree.  A much better day after catching up on some rest and it was good weather for running & walking. Due to there not being many towns/shops in Scotland I was often having to but large amounts of food & drink to carry which slowed me down at times but was essential for energy and survival. It became quite mountainous and cold in the wind up high & I was wearing all my clothes. I found a safe spot to sleep outside a village hall in Amulree which was out of the wind. Miles completed – 46.75.

Day 15 – Amulree to Glen Garry. I had not slept so well due to feeling cold, so I struggled quite a lot today. The A9 was incredibly busy so I decided to take the longer more scenic and quieter route which was well worth it to stay safe. I had another afternoon sleep in the warm sun in a cemetery and then in Pitlochry I purchased another base layer to help me stay warm from and outdoor shop. It made a huge difference & then I reached the quiet cycle paths which also helped because they were easier to run and walk along. I found a quiet spot to bivi near some rubbish bins which are put at regular intervals along Scotland’s cycle ways. My feet were starting to feel better because the blisters I had early on were beginning to heal up. Miles completed – 38.91.

Day 16 – Glen Garry to Laggantygown near Loch Vaa. I’d slept better because I was warmer & had a good day running on the cycle paths with stunning scenery. It rained a few times, but my poncho always kept me dry. I encountered my first Scottish midges, but they were not too bad because of it being early in the year. After buying more food in Aviemore I slept in my bivi-bag in an open shed in a cemetery. Miles completed – 44.96.

Day 17 – Laggantygown to Kessock Campsite. I’d slept well again & left everything as I found it, spotless & no trace left behind as usual. I encountered another road closure but it was open to people on foot so I could get through. I had a section on the busy A9 when I had a dreadful nosebleed, they had been troubling me for many days. Then I had a lovely section along trails & General Wades Military Road which was beautiful and took me all the way to Inverness. I reached the Kessock campsite early in the evening, had a shower & settled sown in an undercover spot offered by the campsite owners. Miles completed – 34.13.

Day 18 – Kessock Campsite to Golspie. I had a grumbly quad muscle & tender foot today but was determined to keep going, I just did more walking than running. I crossed the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths and saw my first road sign to John o’ Groats which was a real high point for me. I reached Golspie late in the evening and slept in my bivi-bag in a camper’s car park next to the sea. Miles completed 47.41.

Day 19 – Golspie to Inver Campsite. It had rained lightly in the night, but I’d still slept quite well & it was warmer now in Scotland. It was very hilly, the scenery was stunning, and my left quad & foot seemed to have got magically better. I was just incredibly tired and struggling with energy levels as the days wore on. There were plenty of food shops on route, so I had no problem with food supplies & arrived at the campsite in the late afternoon. On arriving the owner asked me if I had a tent & when I said I just had a bivi-bag he offered me static caravan to sleep/bivi in. There was also a bath at the campsite which was amazing. Miles completed – 32.70.

Day 20 – Inver Campsite to John o’ Groats. My motivation was huge for my final day, but it was still hard because I was so exhausted & depleted on energy. The weather was perfect for slow running and walking and I made good progress not having to worry about buying lots of food & drink for the night etc. The scenery in the far north of Scotland is also unique & made for an interesting last day. In Wick I heard someone call me, it was two people in a campervan who had seen me at the Falkirk Wheel campsite & they agreed to act as independent witnesses to my run should it be needed. I reached John o’ Groats just before 4pm & my friend was at the finish to look after me once I had completed my run & touched the signpost. Miles completed – 37.12.

My friend presented me with a wooden medal after I finished which he had had made for me and drove me safely home.

I was fundraising for a small animal sanctuary ’The Mirkwood Rest Home for Retired Sheep’.


Wow - well done!