Ultra runner Damian Hall sets record on 185-mile Wainwright’s Coast to Coast
Damian Hall has set a new running record on the 185-mile Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route – by just 18 minutes. His time of 39 hours and 18 mins (TBC) breaks a 30-year record held by running legend Mike Hartley.
The Coast to Coast across the breadth England from the Irish Sea in the west to the North Sea in the east. Damian, 45, followed the same trails as Mike, starting at St Bees and finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay.
As is his tradition when running long-distance, inov-8 ambassador Damian also picked up litter along the way.
Damian’s Coast to Coast record run
Damian set out on Tuesday morning on his bid to set a new fastest time for the Wainwright’s Coast to Coast. As well as the expected sleep deprivation, he also had to cope with very tough weather conditions and extremely boggy terrain. He finished in 1.5 days and just inside the previous record.
He was supported by a small team of friends, some of whom paced him on the trail and others who provided road support at scheduled meet-up points.
Damian, the holder of multiple ultra-marathon records, said: “Of all my record attempts this one proved to be the most difficult and the one which forced me to dig the deepest.
“Mike’s record was so brilliantly fast that I had to give it absolutely everything I had – and then some
more – to beat it. That meant me running faster than I would normally do for such a long distance.
“I started aggressively and felt good throughout the first day. I got myself about two hours ahead of
schedule and felt buoyed after receiving support from Mike [Hartley] at Shap. During the night, however, I began to suffer a bit with tiredness and a few stomach issues.
“The second day saw the heavens open and it became really tough going. I had some wobbles in the last few hours and my fuelling went awry. Tendonitis in my calf didn’t help either and by the end I was shuffling my way towards the sea.”
The dad-of-two from Wiltshire, who is a running coach, author and freelance journalist, added:
“There’s no way I would have broken the record without the support of my team who went above and beyond to feed, water, pace and encourage me throughout. They also helped collect rubbish
along the way and we filled one bin bag.”
Why the Coast to Coast?
Writer and walker, the late Alfred Wainwright created the Coast to Coast trail in 1973. Starting in St Bees, it weaves for 185 miles (and 28,000ft ascent) through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, to the coast again, at Robin Hood’s Bay.
Damian hiked it in 2007, before he heard of either the Pennine Way (which the Coast to Coast crosses at halfway, in Keld) or the idea of running these distances. He said: “There something very pleasing about starting on one side of the country and finishing on the other.”
Coast to Coast takes most people 12 or more days to hike. In 2007, Damian took 10 days.
Damian said before setting out for the Coast to Coast attempt: “I like revisiting trails as a runner that I’ve previously explored as a hiker, especially if they’ve had a Mike Hartley record. I’m going to see how quickly I can do it.
“I’ve had this run in mind since not long after last year’s Pennine Way bimble. Though it must be said, runners today have many advantages Mike and his contemporaries didn’t have, such as GPS and other technology, better shoes, kit and nutrition nous.
“In some ways this may be harder for me than the Pennine Way. I don’t mind the distance. But I do mind that speed. The C2C route has changed at times down the years, but I’ll be making a real effort to mirror Hartley’s run as closely as possible. I’ll also pick up litter as I go and fuel without animal products (which is easy and fun).”
Damian partnered with Our Carbon to make this run, and his family’s lifestyle, carbon negative.