Arry Beresford-Webb: First run of both Wales Coast
Path and Offa's Dyke Path National Trail.
The Challenge: The entire 870 mile Wales Coast Path and
176 mile Offa’s Dyke Path within 41 days. This was the equivalent
of 40 back to back trail marathons, all with the intention of
raising £25,000 for Velindre Cancer Centre and Gozo CCU Foundation.
I set off from Cardiff Bay on 24th March 2012, and headed West to
run in the perimeter in a clockwise direction. I ran the Wales
Coast Path right up to the End/Start in Queensferry, and then
headed back to Prestatyn to run South on the Offa’s Dyke Path,
rejoining the Wales Coast Path at Chepstow and finishing in Cardiff
Bay at the official opening on 5th May.
Highlights: I loved Anglesey and Pembrokeshire in
general, but there are so many incredible places along the whole
path that it’s difficult to pick one favourite spot! Also, the
emotions and physical strain that I experienced due to the nature
of the challenge played a big part in how I related to different
places. The people I met along the way were fantastic! So kind and
generous, and many who were local to the path had a real sense of
pride about it! I was so grateful to the people who came to join me
for sections, friends, colleagues and people I had never met
before. Piers Bramhall, the face of the Visit Wales “We Want Piers”
campaign, even travelled to the most northerly point in Wales from
his home in London to run with me. On day 19 I ran with my brother
to Barmouth, which is a place of many childhood memories of time we
spent with our parents and grandparents (mum was from Dolgellau), I
had a big grin on my face for that entire day!
Lowlights: My lowest parts of the challenge were not
reflective of the path at all, as they were caused by physical and
psychological factors. On day 4 of the challenge, where I ran the
entire 32 mile stretch of the Gower in high temperatures, I twisted
my knee and damaged the cartilage. This was on one of the most
beautiful parts, but my memory is of pain! That could have marked
the end of the run, but thankfully my grit and determination is
stronger than that, I managed to gain enough strength to support
the knee, as well as using some industrial strength tape and pain
killers! One of the worst memories for me was when I
psychologically crashed and burned during day 15 Cardigan – Newquay
on the Ceredigion Coast. This was when the pain, intensity and
emotions got the better of me. With the help of two close friends
who ran with me and of Andy, my hero of a boyfriend, I wouldn’t
have made it to the end of the day. The few days following were
tough mentally, but thanks to some childhood memories and familiar
territory in Gwynedd, as well as my supporters, I soon bounced
back! I plan on returning to do the Ceredigion Coast path again,
only to enjoy it this time!
I’ve raised in the region of £10,000 in total, and that figure
is still rising. I won’t stop until I’ve raised my for £25K target!
I feel privileged to be the first to have experienced the diversity
of the entire Wales Coast Path. I would love to do it again, but at
a slower pace, so that I can actually stop and enjoy the places
that I saw so briefly! For more information, visit
my my support page.