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Coastal Trail Series – Pembrokeshire Preview

From the Portland CTS Event

In 48 hours time I anticipate being so tired that my legs no longer feel like my own. I will be just starting to discover sore places on my body where my kit has been rubbing from the previous 5 hours spent running, jumping and clambering around the welsh countryside. There will be the occasional random stabbing pain in heretofore silent muscles that are now screaming, trying to be heard over the cacophony of other aches and pains….Welcome to the Coastal Trail Series. Read on for my preview of the second event in the series and the first of eight trail marathons that I will be running in the next eight months. You can see the course map here.

The Coastal Trail Series is organised by www.endurancelife.com and features 10k, half marathon, marathon and ultra marathon distance races on the same day. There are eleven different events in the series, spread throughout England and Wales, and you get a special t-shirt if you complete 7 or more within a season.

I completed two of their half marathons earlier in the year and decided to come back for a lot more. The event HQ is often in a field somewhere, and at some of them they also hold the Live-More Lectures which are usually interesting talks from various people that have taken part in some amazing challenges. The courses are nearly all offroad often utilising coastal paths and beaches, so don’t come along expecting to set a new distance PB. The courses are usually slightly long (better value for money according to Endurance Life) and often hilly, muddy and technical.

I hope I’m not putting you off? This all results in a rather amazing range of competitors, usually a lot more relaxed than your more conventional road runners, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them groan when told the course is a mile or two long. Most of them simply relish the challenge and the experience. This lends a generally nice atmosphere to the events and it makes those of us that enjoy this type of thing feel a little more normal, as we are surrounded by similar “nutters.”

Also from Portland

Personally I can’t wait for the start and look forward to some amazing coastal views as well as meeting some amazing people. My plan for the weekend starts off the same as normal with a good oat and fruit based breakfast three hours before the start. I’ll then drink a bottle of SiS electrolyte with two hours to go, hoping to get most of the excess fluid through my system before the race starts, so I don’t have to dive into the bushes during the race.

For the race itself I will be carrying the following:

  • 2 litres of energy drink within my Camalbak Octane XCT purchased from Wiggle Online Cycle Shop
  • A lightweight long sleeved windproof jacket
  • Small first aid kit
  • Foil Blanket
  • GoPro Hero HD2 camera
  • Mobile phone
  • Whistle
  • 8 x SiS Isotonic gels
  • Buff (head gear)
  • Ronhill Visor
  • Normally I would also be wearing my Garmin Forerunner 305, but I left it at Hever Castle last weekend and wont be getting it back until next week.

The preparation all feels wonderfully simple compared to the triathlons that I’ve been doing and I keep thinking that I’ve forgotten something. In reality I just need to make sure that I get the nutrition right and get my running shoes on. This is one of my charity events, so I am just wanting to complete the course. I’m not going to try and set a fast time and hope to have some fun while I’m out and about.

After the race I will drink a bottle of Rego mixed with a sachet of CherryActive. This will be followed by another bottle of energy drink and then hopefully a half decent meal somewhere on the way home.

If you fancy a slightly different style running race then why not come along and give one of the CTS events a try. You wont regret it, although do be prepared to be slightly more self sufficient than normal. If you are running anything more than the 10k events then you will be expected to carry a minimum amount of safety equipment.

The highlight of the season for me is the final event at Flete in May where you get to run across an estuary mouth at low tide. It leads to some great photos.

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