FKT: Mark Townsend, Julie Gardener - South West Coast Path (UK) - 2013-05-12

Route variation
Whole route - one way
Gender category
Mixed-gender team
Start date
Finish date
Total time
14d 14h 44m 0s

At 630 miles long, walkers rarely undertake the South West Coast Path as a whole, choosing instead to complete the trail in shorter sections, but for Managing Director, Mark Townsend, this presented an irresistible challenge. As a keen endurance runner, there was only one option in mind… to run it!

Taking on such a challenge alone would be a solitary affair, so Mark enlisted the help of his fellow runner, Julie Gardener, an outdoor consultant who inspects trails for the company and on 27th April 2013, they clambered into the back of the Contours campervan, accompanied by their dedicated support crew, an outrageous supply of food and several pairs of trainers on stand-by, as they made their way to the start of the trail at Minehead.

630 miles on foot is difficult to put into perspective, but 630 miles along the South West Coast Path is a different matter again. With nearly, 920 stiles, 300 bridges, 7,000 steps, river crossings, ferry encounters and almost 115,000ft of elevation, completing the whole trail in one go is like climbing Mount Everest… four times!

With a carefully planned itinerary, the team aimed to complete the trail in 16 days, breaking Ultrarunner, Malcolm Law’s record of 16 days, 9 hours and 57 minutes. It takes tremendous determination and stamina to battle through the pain of such a run and as the support crew will testify, a lot of supplies!

630 miles later, after 115,000ft of ascent, 26 diversions, 50 baked potatoes, 5 pairs of running shoes, 60 litres of water, 150 cups of tea and coffee, one lost rucksack and a campervan crisis, Mark and Julie reached the end of the South West Coast Path at South Haven Point. They touched the marker after exactly 14 days, 14 hours and 44 minutes, smashing both their own expectations and Malcolm Law’s outstanding record!

Whether you walk or run the South West Coast Path, it is without doubt, one of the most breath taking trails in the UK, featuring diverse landscapes and memorable experiences that are too numerous to describe.