Ultra runner James Stewart, of Croy, North Lanarkshire, ran the 117-mile Fife Coastal Path in 19 hours, 32 minutes and 8 seconds on Friday (April 30). The previous Fastest Known Time (FKT) was set by Nicola Duncan in 23:17 in 2020.
Last year, James, 45, also set an FKT for the 134-mile John Muir Way. The Pyllon runner is a three-times GB 24-hour runner, two-times Scotland ACP 100k runner, a winner of the West Highland Way race in 2016 and a Rocky Raccoon winner in 2017.
Running the Fife Coastal Path (FCP)
James had planned to take part in the Centurion 100 race but because of the Covid stay local message, he decided to pull out of that in March and instead chose to target an FKT for the Fife Coastal Path. His hope was to finish in less than 20 hours.
He says: “The long-distance trail is fairly convenient for me, easy to navigate – well at least I thought it would be! – and logistically good for a crew. Given the late decision to do it, it seemed the right trail to choose.”
Because he has been training for the 100 mile track race, James knew his fitness would serve him well on the FCP from Kincardine to Newburgh. Although, he had only ever run the first eight miles before he set out for the record run.
Highlights of Fife Coastal Path FKT run
James enjoyed the views on the trail and he was also grateful for the support he received while running. He adds: “The weather held up well, except for the biting headwind. Seeing all the little towns and villages was ace, as was seeing the places looking normal and busy with folks around again after the easing of Covid restrictions.”
Tough times on the FCP
James felt very tired at around the 30-mile mark, which was worrying, and then he was sick 10 times between the 70-mile point and the end. He says: “It felt like a tough slog with no energy and little nutrition so I was glad to get it over.
“At no point did I think I wouldn’t finish and only an injury would have stopped me but I was relieved when I finished.
“For long runs like these, you need deep determination. Inevitably, the body will hurt so the mind is always there to be conquered if you want to get to the end.”
Other FKTs across Scotland
Elsewhere in Scotland recently, Paul Giblin, of Pyllon Coaching, and Graham Connolly set an unofficial supported male record for the 205-miles (330km) Cape Wrath Trail in 3 days, 23 hours, 50 minutes.
Billy Gibson set an FKT on the Fife Pilgrim Way of 8 hours, 2 minutes and 32 seconds.
Anna Rutherford set a new female FKT on the Southern Upland Way in 2 days, 14 hours, 34 minutes.