So a crazy thought came over me a few weeks back why not try to run the Cotswolds Way over 2 days? 102 Miles and 1400ft of accents sounds mad right? I decided to start planning, how would I get to the start in bath? How many hours of moving would I do each day? Where would I Stay for the night? This is where I came across the sport of Fast packing which is a combination of walking and fast hiking with a pack that was as light as you could get it but still carrying all the essentials. So it was settled on the 23rd May I would travel down to bath by train and standing in front of Bath Abbey I will run 102 miles spread over 2 days and climb 14000ft carrying all my kit and being unsupported, sleep under the stars when I decided to stop madness haha!
So what Kit have I decided I would need? I have searched for lightweight kit but with it being so expensive I looked at what I had already and all though it is not the lightest it would do. There were three main areas I needed to nail down to make it easier for me these were,
- Pack – This had to be big enough to get all my kit but small enough that I could still move fast enough, I looked at the usual running bags as it was great to have the pockets to the front as well as water bottles, but these were to small with the biggest that I owned at only 14 litres. So I started to look at hiking packs I decided I needed between 20 to 30 litres. I tested a few packs but found that I had to stop to get to my food and kit out and a draw back was with a hydration system I couldn’t see how much I was drinking. Lucky for me the Marathon de Sables was on so I looked at what packs they were wearing and there it was The Raidlight Ultra Raid 20 litre pack this was perfect!
- Tent – At around 2kg for a one man tent this was a bit of hefty kit and meant carrying poles too. Now for only 280g and packing down to smaller than a can of coke is the Rab SilTarp. Another perfect bit of kit all I would use was my walking poles to prop it up but I know many people probably wouldn’t like to sleep under a sheet with no groundsheet but light kit is key.
- Sleeping Bag – Again I needed something that was light, packed down to a small size but kept me warm enough at night. I had a look at Snugpak as I new there kit was good and reliable from my days in the army so instantly found what I was looking for in the Travelpak 2.
So with acquiring them 3 main bits of kit here is the full list of what I Will take take
- Pack (2 600ml Water bottle + 2 Litre bottle)
- Sleeping bag/Bivvi bag (The heaviest and biggest item)
- Head torch
- Sleeping mat
- Warm Jacket (when I’m moving slow or at night)
- Trousers (In case I get cold at night)
- Waterproof Jacket
- Waterproof Trousers
- Buff x2
- Trekking Poles
- Compass/Map (Harvey’s Maps)
- First Aid Kit
- Wet wipes (yes we all no what there for)
- Headphones (So I Can sing out loud on the trails)
So these items would be my setup for the Cotswold Way. A challenge I’m looking forward to but will be as tough as hell.
I have enjoyed planning this route and figuring all the smaller details myself which hasn’t taken to long. First off I will be getting the train down on the 23rd from Banbury (with a change at Didcot) arriving in Bath at 1130. Distance – To do no less than 4 miles an hour with a few stops thrown in to rest my tired legs. I have split the running on both days but as I am traveling down by train it limits how much I can do on day one. At the moment the plan is to do 45 miles day 1 and then on day 2 complete the rest. I am trying to budget as well excluding kit as that is all down to personal preference. I will not spend any more than the average cost race entry of an Ultra Marathon so around the £50 mark, so far the train ticket cost me £14 which is great.
I will be keeping the challenge updated on the day via Twitter and a few updates in the run up to it wish me Luck!