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Runner Paweł Cymbalista sets new unsupported Great Glen Way record

Written by Fiona

April 11 2022

Just two months after recording a fastest time for a supported run on the Great Glen Way, Pawel Cymbalista returned to run a new record time but this time unsupported. The 34-year-old, from Mallaig, ran 118km (73.3 miles) from Inverness to Fort William in 11:28:36 at the weekend. The total elevation was 2097m.

After finishing, he said: “I feel super happy. I had been aiming for the same time as I did on the supported run, or maybe a bit slower, so I wasn’t expecting to be 25 minutes quicker.”

Why run the Great Glen Way again?

Pawel, who holds the record for running up Ben Nevis thew most times, revealed the idea of an unsupported Great Glen Way run was an itch that he couldn’t stop scratching. He said: “After my supported Great Glen Way run I kept returning to the Fastest Known Time website and seeing that the fastest unsupported time still is in someone else’s name.

“My supported time was an hour and 40 minutes faster than the unsupported time and I kept thinking that this can be done. It just wouldn’t leave my head.

“And now I have both records and the fastest overall time, which is the unsupported time where you have to carry everything without anyone to help. This makes me feel super proud of myself.”

Pawel’s record unsupported Great Glen Way run

The most recent Great Glen Way run took place in what Pawel describes as “amazing weather”. He said: “I had a series of snow showers at the start of the run but it turned into a wonderful day with lots of sunshine after that.

“I had to start taking off my layers. My bag was full of winter essentials and emergency equipment, just in case, but it was beautiful on the day.”

Pawel, who is originally from Poland,  described the experience of running unsupported. He said: “The hardest section was along the Caledonian Canal. It’s really hard to keep going without much change in terrain. The canal running is also a bit too flat and repetitive for my liking.”

He admits it was more difficult not having anyone to follow on the run. Pawel said: “I had to rely on feel for my pace. If it felt too easy, I checked my watch and then adjusted the pace to keep it as close to 5:20/km as possible.

“I didn’t have anyone to talk to, or listen to, either. Instead, I listened to motivation audio books, which make me keep going. This time it was Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. It gave me the power to keep pushing through lots of pain.

“I’m also very stubborn and I don’t like to not finish what I have started. I love the saying: ‘Do not stop when you’re tired, but when you’re finished.’ It has became my motto these days and I really stick to it. It helps me when I am going through lows.

“I often thought about my family while I ran and that kept me going because I knew I would make them proud.”

Pawel enjoyed many highlights, including great views along the route. He said: “The scenery above Invermoriston is stunning on a sunny day.

“Then, when I finished and met with my wife Ashley and daughters Maiya and Freya, it felt brilliant.”

Pawel’s next challenge is another 24 hour Ben Nevis.

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