The South West Coast Path is the longest walking path in the UK. It runs 630 miles along the southern and western coasts of the UK, through Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. The SWCP has seen several FKT trips in recent years. Here's a summary from Damian Hall's post on the inov-8 blog (with links added):
As FKT fever has grown, the SWCP has seen similar activity. Mark [Townsend] has run the path before, setting a joint record [with Julie Gardener] in 2013 of 14 days, 14 hours and 44 minutes. In April 2015, Patrick Devine-Wright, who I once finished joint-second with in a 102-mile race, ran it in a new record of 14 days 8 hours and 2 minutes [a 41-minute video of the trip is here]. But then in June the extraordinary Mark “Bez” Berry – who, like Mark Townsend, I met on the Spine Race (it’s where you meet all the best people) – knocked a whopping three days off the record. He completed the trail in just 11 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes. An average of 55 miles a day. This April, Royal Marine Baz Gray, with several hugely impressive endurance feats to his name, attempted to run the path in 10 days – an average of 63 miles a day. He was, however, forced to give up after just three days with a bad knee injury.
Prior to Townsend and Gardener, Malcom Law ran the SWCP in 16d9h57m in June 17 - July 3, 2012. Law started out with Tom Bland, who had to stop after 7 days due to injury. Law indicates that the previous record was "21 days".
Jurassic Coast Variation
This variation traverses the entire length of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, following the South West Coast Path. Start location is at the South West Coast Path marker at South Haven Point. Finish is at the mouth of the river Exe in Exmouth.
- Distance: 192km
- Elevation gain: 5,700m
|10d 8h 24m 44s
|10d 12h 6m 0s
|10d 15h 18m 0s
|11d 8h 15m 0s
|14d 8h 2m 0s
|16d 9h 57m 0s
Damian's record is quite intimidating and incredible! Does anybody know if there is a solo female record apart from Julie's (also impressive and intimidating!) time?
I Kristian Morgan will be attempting to complete the South West Coast Path in an anticlockwise direction (Poole to Minehead) in the fastest possible time. My primary support will be Sharon Mullan. I'm aiming to beat the current fastest known time of 10d 15h 18m held by Damian Hall, a great athlete with many accomplishments. If I do not reach this goal my other goals include...
- Break Mark Berrys 2nd Fastest Known Time 11d 8h 15m,
- Break 12 days,
- Break 13 days,
- Break 14 days,
- Break Patrick Devine-Wrights 3rd Fastest Known Time 14d 8h 2m
- Break 15 days,
- Break 16 days,
- Break Malcolm Laws 4th Fastest Known Time 16d 9h 57m,
- If I fail to achieve my listed goals I will endeavor to complete the full trail in whatever time it takes.
I will be using a Garmin InReach mini for real time tracking (updated every 2 minutes). This can be found on my website
People can also follow the journey on these social media platforms...
Forgot to add start date... 4am on the12th of September 2020
Trail updates: Days 1-7 *Gun Section is Sharon Mullan's Trail name
Day 1 - 9/13
Start: 3:33 AM South Haven Point
Stop: 9:34 PM Abbotsbury
Kristian forgot to grab his head torch and ended up borrowing a lantern from some campers to light his way.
Day 2 - 9/14
Start: 3:56 AM Abbotsbury
Stop: 7:53 PM Maidencombe
After a standoff with Gun Section at a trail crossing, Kristian and his crew AKA Mom settled a minor squabble without drawing fire and carried on admirably. 3 mile lead on Damian to close day 2.
Day 3 - 9/15
Start: 4:51 AM Maidencombe
Finish: 10:41 PM Bolberry
Kristian doesn’t remember much other than the heat from day 3, he only has enough the energy peeling off miles, not recounting events. A passerby on the trail said this was the hottest day on record in Britain. He’s picked up another 3 miles on the record for a 6 mile lead.
Day 4 - 9/16
Start: 4:45 AM Bolberry
Finish: 9:13 PM Finnygook Beach
Kristian’s only companion on the trail for the day was a friendly hedge hog. He and Gun Section missed the ferry to cross River Avon and had to driver around to the next trailhead. Kristian forget to pause the run on his watch so his Strava data show’s some sub 3 miles. He’s flagged the run with tech support for adjustment, so he doesn’t get credit for the world’s fasted 10 miler.
Day 5 - 9/17
Start: 4:00 AM Finnygook Beach
Finish: 9:53 PM Pendower
Kristian started off the morning gazing up at a cloudless sky full of bright stars. One of the stars broke free and streaked across the sky for a four count. Amazing start to a day with another solid effort. He settled into his ten after 10pm for another 5 hour sleep. He’s averaged 5 hours sleep per night so far. His lead is now 8 miles ahead of the record.
Day 6 - 9/18
Start: 3:59 AM Pendower
Finish: 10:38 PM Porthleven Sands
Kristian is nearing Land’s End, the weather has been warm but beautiful and he’s seen amazing sunrises and sunsets every day. He experienced the first affects of sleep deprivation, nearly falling asleep while hiking an uphill. Kristian remembered Courtney Dewalter’s leopard in a hammock hallucination, but didn’t experience any of his own. He’s in great spirits and continues to maintain a slight lead on Damian despite the lack of sleep.
Day 7 - 9/18
Start: 4:05 AM Porthleven Sands
Finish: 10:37 PM Lelant Saltings
Gun Section has settled into her grove as the best brewmaster a son could ask for. Kristian had everything he needed this morning as he awoke to a nice breakfast, coffee, fully charged devices, and a clean set of clothes for the day. He also welcomed his first pacer today, Simon Dicks a friend and fellow ultra runner spent 40 miles reminding Kristian to have fun. A black cat crossed his path, but there was no bad luck to follow. After crushing Land’s end, Kristian and Gun Section experienced their first hallucinations, something about tigers and driving the van while sleeping.
Day 8: Kristian put in 60 miles and was joined by his good friend Dene. He finished the day with his lead still intact.
Day 9: Pulled his right quad muscle on an aggressive downhill and feared his attempt might be done. Finished the day just north of 50 miles hoping to get an extra hour or to of sleep to get enough recovery for his quad to continue. Still maintaining a slight lead on Damian.
Day 10: Quad is feeling a bit better, but Kristian has to adjust his downhill technique and descend sideways. He's had to adapt his mindset and will not give up, realizing he still has enough mobility in to carry on. He will forgo sleep tonight and treat the final stretch as a 100 mile race. If he finishes before 6pm tomorrow on Sept. 23 he will have the record.
Kristian finished the Southwest Coast Path on September 23, 2020 in 10 days 12 hours and 6 minutes. He shaved just over 3 hours from Damian Hall's 2016 record.
Updated data from Days 8-11
Day 8 - 9/20/20
Start: 4:11 AM Lelant Saltings
Finish: 11:27 PM Polzeath
Day 9 - 9/21/20
Start: 4:10 AM Polzeath
Finish: 10:03 PM South Hole
Start: 3:40 AM South Hole 9/22/20
Finish: 3:39 PM Minehead 9/23/20
Kristian started his final stretch at 3:40 am on September 22nd with an injured quad and a healthy mind, and was joined by his sister Stephanie for the night portion. Mark Berry, the man with the 2nd Fastest Known Time also logged some miles with Kristian lifting his spirits along the way. With 12 miles to go, Kristian and Gun Section were unable to connect at the final crew point, so Steph peeled off and gave Kristian her supplies to carry on alone. He was in a near dream state on the last few miles, struggling to stay awake at times, but finished strong with a brand new record! He clocked 111 miles with around 17,000 ft of elevation gain in 35 hours 56 minutes only getting in a 30 min power nap.
Kristian is now resting in the comfort of a quaint British Inn before heading home to London.
Is there a self supported leaderboard for the SWCP?
I will be making my attempt as Female, Supported (same as Dani's) starting 4th September 2021.
UK & Ireland Regional Editor note:
To see how hard it is for the support crews on a trail of this distance and complexity - lots of ferry crossings, the possibility of open military firing ranges, steep, narrow roads etc - have a watch of these videos by Dave Phillips' crew Keely & Philly:
Part 1: https://youtu.be/zvhKZMd_lEM (24 mins)
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSyXTp5RTGE (24 mins)
On Monday 24th July I'm attempting to set a decent male self-supported time (shouldn't be too difficult as there are none on there yet!). Would be pretty pleased if I could beat some of the previous supported times, and get near the 2 week mark. I am running to raise money for the Cornwall & Devon Air Ambulances, a vital emergency service in the South West which relies on donations to keep going.
Live Tracking: https://share.garmin.com/sprock