Cotswold Way record smashed... again!

2nd October 2014

The new record stands at 19 hours and 31 minutes! Read on and be amazed...

 

On the 27th / 28th September, Nathan Montague of Marlborough ran the entire length of the Cotswold Way in a staggering 19 hours and 31 minutes. Read the full race report below:

The 2014 edition of the Cotswold Way Century, organised by Cotswold Running, kicked off on a perfect Autumn afternoon. At 12:05 on Saturday, 87 runners left sunny Chipping Campden with the hope of reaching Bath by Sunday evening. The field quickly spread out, with the early hills and warm weather encouraging a steady start.

At the first aid station at Stumps Cross (13 miles), Nathan Montague of Marlborough led the front pack of ten runners as they kept a 9:15/mile pace. He maintained the lead and the pace through to the 27 mile station at Aggs Hill and built a narrow lead to chasers Jake Hayes, Damian Hall, and Patrick Devine-Wright. The hills of that first marathon splintered the lead pack, with women's leader Charlie Ramsdale holding steady in the second group of chasers.

As the daylight began to fade, the challenge for many would be to navigate accurately through the long dark hours. The front-runners were already through the third aid station at Birdlip (39 miles) when darkness fell, with the back of the field just clearing the marathon point. Montague continued out front, but began to lose ground to Devine-Wright and Hayes whose local knowledge saved them some of the navigation errors that cost the leader. By the 43 mile station at Painswick, Hall had dropped 20 minutes off the lead three, and Ramsdale continued tracking the leaders in a group of four, 12 minutes further back. Montague, Hayes, and Devine-Wright had upped the pace as the evening cooled, moving up to an 8:45/mile average. Through the next 10 miles, Montague eased back to join with his chasers following further navigation errors. Hall continued steadily, maintaining a manageable gap to the leaders. Ramsdale, still accompanied by Spencer Bunn, Duncan Oakes, and Steve Wyatt, dropped another 20 minutes behind the leaders, but 1:20 ahead of 2nd & 3rd women Mel Hawker and Laura Darby-Jones.

By the 80 mile aid station at Horton, Hall had closed to join the lead group, and Ramsdale had opened a gap of nearly two hours back to Hawker. The race had started to take its toll on Ramsdale, however, and she was forced to retire. The lead pack, now four, remained together until the 87 mile stop at Tormarton Picnic area. Montague pressed ahead, opening a seven minute lead over the next 6 miles to Cold Ashton. Hayes began to pay the price for the early fast pace and dropped back into 4th place. Hawker and Darby-Jones reached Horton together, but Hawker pushed on to open a 15 minute gap by Tormarton. She extended the lead by a further 10 minutes on the way to Cold Ashton.

The final nine miles saw Montague build his lead further, as he took advantage of the early daylight to confidently navigate the remaining course. As he cruised up to Bath Abbey with the sound of organ music in the background, Montague smashed the previous fastest known time for the Cotswold Way (20:36) with an astonishing 19:31. Hall and Devine-Wright reached the Cotswold Way end marker together in joint 2nd place in 19:55. Hawker continued steadily through the morning, winning the women's race in 24:10, well ahead of Darby-Jones (25:14) and Emily Cook (26:11). In total, 55 of the 87 starters reached the finish within the 30-hour time limit.

 

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Nathan Montague at 27 miles - Cotswold Running
Nathan at the end - Cotswold Running
Damian Hall at the end marker - Cotswold Running
1st, 2nd and 3rd - Cotswold Running
Martin Walker - Cotswold Running
Nathan with Kurt Dusterhoff, race organiser - Cotswold Running