And for my next trick…
In the aftermath of the High Five-0 Challenge, while I was still in recovery mode, I found myself pouring over maps and dreaming up other adventures. But they were New Zealand maps and I fully expected that the next challenge, whatever it was and whenever it happened, would be on home soil again. So how did the idea of running around Wales of all places come about?
In truth it wasn’t an idea that was totally new to me. Ever since running England’s South West Coast Path in a then record 17 days back in 2012, it had been on the periphery of my radar screen as a possible future endeavour. It may well have stayed there, just a vague ‘maybe one day’ type of thought tucked away at the back of my overactive mind, but for a chance mention of it to my good mate James Harcombe on a very cold, wet autumn day. We were well into a 40k out & back run on the Greenstone Track when I blurted out the idea. Quick as a flash James, who hails originally from the south of Wales, said “I’d be keen” and within five minutes we’d established that next May, just short of a year away, would be the perfect time to give it a go. No looking back, no second thoughts, we were committed, just like that!
The route we will take starts in Chepstow and follows the Wales Coast Path for some 1,400 km to the English/Welsh border near Chester. At this point we will be just a long stone’s throw from the place I was born and raised on the Wirral Peninsula. We will then quickly backtrack to Prestatyn and from there follow the 285 k long Offa’s Dyke Path, roughly following the border between James’s country of birth and my own, to arrive back in Chepstow after covering very close to 1,700 km (or possibly a bit more if our navigation isn’t spot on!)
Unprecedented? Not quite! In 2012 the same route was pioneered by Arry Beresford-Webb, who covered the distance in 40 days at pretty much a marathon a day. Since then, to the best of our knowledge, nobody else has attempted this in one continuous go.
Our goal is to run/walk/crawl the entire route in just 25 days – an average of almost 70 km a day. Along the way we can expect an incredible variety of terrain, and no doubt, weather! Accurate data is hard to come by but we reckon on tackling about 40,000m of ascent (equivalent to 4.5 Everests from sea level.)
Through Chasing The Dragon we also aim to continue the legacy of the High Five-0 Challenge by continuing to spread valuable messages about the role of exercise in the great outdoors for maintaining mental wellbeing; and to raise much needed money for mental health charities both in New Zealand (The Mental Health Foundation) and in the UK (Mind)
At the time of writing James & I are both injured and very restricted in our running. But ahead lie many months of preparation and training. It’s another hugely audacious goal, but then what would be the point of doing it if it were easy?
Dream Big. Live Big. Do Good. Inspire People. That’s what it’s all about!
Follow our progress via Chasing The Dragon on Facebook.