Frank Thomas, of Cheltenham, was the first person to run the Cotswold Way in under 24 hours. Frank’s south to north traverse in 22 hours and 23 minutes was achieved in May 1994.
Martin Beale completed the run in 22 hours and 44 minutes in May 2008 running from Chipping Camden South to Bath.
So has anyone done it quicker as a solo runner and has anyone tried it in December on the days of the Winter Solstice when it is dark for 16 hours?
Well they have now and an unofficial record has been set by Ed Batty of Stinchcombe, Glos who set out to run from Chipping Camden to Bath on 22nd December 2012, just 7 days after his 24th birthday.
Ed had only flown in from where he works in Switzerland in the morning for a Christmas break with his family but had planned the run and had trained for it over the previous 3 months. He was determined to complete this at the worst time of the year in less than 24 hours – he was not trying to break the record – just the satisfaction of achieving a personal best. Ed has run parts of the way before and has completed a 36 hour run/walk of the Way some 2 years previously – also in December.
Ed works for an international English college in Villars, Switzerland as an Expedition teacher and Assistant House Master and his passion is fell and ultra mountain running which he only took up some 3 years ago whilst at University – he makes time to train in the Alps at high altitude which certainly helps his running when back in the UK.
Ed set off at 3pm on a mild but overcast day although knew it was going to be very muddy underfoot as it had rained heavily for a few days before. He could manage nearly 2 hours running in the half light before he had to use his head torch which was then his guide for the next 14.5 hours.
He was supported at various brief stops on the way by his father and for some of the run by two of his old university friends, Kev Tucker and Matt Thorpe who had run with him before.
Matt ran some 20 miles with him from Dowdeswell Reservoir near Cheltenham until Painswick and Kev ran the last 10 miles from Cold Aston to the finish at Bath Abbey.
Ed admits that there were parts around the half way point where he felt mentally very tired but the high calorific food intake that he had planned and the moral support of his colleagues enabled him to focus and his determination to finish became greater when the day broke just after 7.30am at Hawkesbury Upton.
His will to break the record only came about when he reached Lansdown Race Course above Bath and from there much of the run is downhill into Bath and he felt he had a good chance to achieve this.
He arrived at Bath Abbey at 12.43pm in the early afternoon completing the run in just 21hours and 43minutes – a record that cannot be verified as there were no official time keepers present, but Ed had the great personal satisfaction of knowing he had beaten the record at the worst time of year.
If you are interested in attempting to break the record, please see the FAQ on how to get your attempt officially recognised.