Damian Hall with beerImage: Damian Hall

Way To Go Damo!

Ultra runner, Damian Hall, has broken the record for the 185-mile Wainwright’s Coast to Coast.

'Carbon-negative ultra runner' and inov-8 ambassador, Damian Hall, has broken the record for the 185-mile Wainwright’s Coast to Coast after crossing the finish line on Wednesday (26 May).

The 45-year-old clocked a time of 39 hours and 18 mins, beating the record of ultra running legend Mike Hartley, whose time of 39 hours and 36 mins had stood since 1991. The route across the breadth England goes from the Irish Sea on the west coast to the North Sea on the east coast. Damian followed the same trails as Mike, starting at St Bees and finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay, while also picking up litter along the way.

He battled sleep deprivation, super-boggy underfoot conditions and, on day two, extremely wet weather. Damian was supported by a small team of friends, some of whom paced him on the trail and others who provided crucial road support at scheduled meet-up points and of course he was sporting his trusted TERRAULTRA G 270 shoes with Graphene-Grip plus his favourite inov-8 clothing and equipment.

Prior to starting his attempt, Damian, author of the recently released In It for The Long Run said: "Excellently whiskered guidebook-author Alfred Wainwright created the Coast to Coast trail in 1973. Starting in St Bees, it weaves for around 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. 

"I hiked it in 2007, before I’d heard of either the Pennine Way (which the Coast to Coast crosses at halfway, in Keld) or the madcap idea of running these distances, and thought it was well brill. There’s 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, so I was pretty chuffed to complete it in 10, thinking I was quite the endurance hero. I didn’t know at the time, but in 1991 someone called Mike Hartley ran it in 39 hours, 36 minutes and 52 seconds, beating his friend Mike Cudhay’s record by seven hours – and my time by eight and a half days. 

"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, who placed 5th at Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) in 2018 and won the (albeit shortened) Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (UTMR) in 2019 is no stranger to epic record-chasing attempts. Last year he lowered the 268-mile Pennine Way record (once held by Mike Hartley), but has recently watched his friend, John Kelly, beat that. Several other records remain in his possession.

When Damian arrived at Robin Hood’s Bay on Wednesday evening after his epic feat of endurance, he was rewarded with a very well-deserved beer (pictured). I bet it tasted amazing! 

You can learn more about Damian by visiting his website or following him on Facebook and Instagram or Twitter


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