Will Renwick ran 500 miles to reach all 189 peaks with a summit of more than 2000ft in Wales in 23 days. His journey, which started at Swansea Observatory and finished at Conwy Castle, is believed to be a new Fastest Known Time (FKT).
The total ascent for the non-stop trip was 100,000ft, which is almost three times the height of the world’s tallest mountain, Everest.
Will, who has raised more than £12,500 for the charity Mind Over Mountains, revealed that as early as day two he almost gave up due to a leg injury. He also suffered large blisters his feet.
But it was his girlfriend who offered wise words – and gave him the motivation to continue.
Will said: “I spoke to my girlfriend early on in the run and she said I should just take each day at a time and to see where I got to. This was good advice.
“I am relieved and very happy to have completed the challenge.”
‘I am a Welsh-ophile’
Will, originally from LLancarfan, in the Vale of Glamorgan, describes himself as “a bit of a Welsh-ophile”. This gave him the idea to take on the challenge to run to all Welsh mountains.
He said: “I have always loved exploring my home country. I have walked Offa’s Dyke Path, the Cambrian Way and the Wales Coast Path.”
Will was the youngest person at the age of 22 to walk both the Wales Coast Path and Offa’s Dyke.
He started to think about his latest challenge when he heard that a couple of people had walked a self-titled Dragon’ Back Challenge to reach 189 Welsh peaks.
Will, who is president of Ramblers Cymru and editor of Outdoors Magic, said: “I kept imagining all the hidden corners of Wales that I’d reach on such a journey. But I knew I’d need a month to do such a long walk and I couldn’t get that long off work.
“That’s when I decided to try to run it. I thought that if I could run it, I’d do it in three weeks.”
25 miles a day – day after day
Will set himself a goal to run 25 miles each day. He said: “My aim was to run from first light until the last light of the day. I aimed for 25 miles each day, although this wasn’t possible in some locations, such as Snowdonia, because of the density of mountain peaks.
“Also there was a sudden change in the weather further north and because I was running so late in the summer I found the daylight suddenly shortened.
“There were times when the challenge was very hard and I definitely had some very low moments.”
The hardest days for Will came towards the end of the run. He said: “I had a difficult few days in Snowdonia.
“The terrain of the Nantlle Ridge, a small range of mountains, was challenging. I’d thought it would be an easier day but it turned out to be much harder than expected with so much up and down and going between summits.
“On the mountain called Mynydd Mawr there were strong winds and I thought I would need to crawl to get to the top. I ended up with an ankle strain because I was pushing so hard against the wind.
“There was also a very bleak day in the Moelwynion mountains in central Snowdonia. I felt low but I tried to remind myself about taking each day at a time.”
Will was fortunate to have some rewarding and enjoyable days on the FKT, too. He said: “It was the many acts of kindness along the way tat I will always remember. People offered help and support and I have great memories of this trip thanks to the kindness of strangers.
“Some of my evening camps were also amazing because of the sunsets. I also enjoyed the simple pleasure of being out and exploring the mountains of my home country.”
A new record for the 189 Welsh peaks
Will, who lives in Wiltshire, is believed to be the first person to run to and between the 189 peaks of Wales. The trip was solo and unsupported and Will wild camped most nights.
He accepted a night in a caravan when it was offered to him and he had a couple of hotel nights.
He is keen for someone else to do the same challenge. He said: “I would love to see someone else set a faster time.”
Support Will’s charity choice
Mind Over Mountains is a charity that provides outdoor experiences for people going through low times. See Will’s fund-raising page.