Ultrarunner Dan Williams runs the Dorset Coast in 24 Hours
An epic feat of endurance, Ultrarunner Dan Williams runs the Dorset Coast in less than 24 hours
Last weekend, ultrarunner Dan Williams ran and speed hiked the Dorset coastline in less than 24 hours, setting a benchmark Fastest Known Time. Starting at 10pm on Friday 12th April from Ware, Lyme Regis, Dan reached Chewton Bunny, Highcliffe on Sea 23 hours, 57 minutes and 30 seconds later. An epic feat of endurance, Dan covered 101 miles, including 13,000 ft of climb and a loop of the Isle of Portland, all in aid of the Jurassic Coast Trust.
The Dorset Coast Running Challenge was the idea of Andy Palmer, the boss of White Star Running. “As we are working with the Jurassic Coast Trust to create Run Jurassic we thought it would be jolly day out to set the record for the fastest border to border run along the Jurassic Coast,” said Andy.
Dan already holds the Fastest Known Time for around the Isle of Wight. With its rugged terrain and steep climbs, the Dorset coast presented extra challenges. “In the months prior I increased my training (with a few minor blips), ran lots of hills and steps, and learned most of the route on numerous trips and recces,” said Dan of his preparation.
Dan was supported by the team at White Star Running who crewed the event, staying up all night to follow Dan and organising support runners and food and drink along the way. Further support was provided by Freshwater Beach Holiday Park and the Jurassic Coast Trust.
Dan was joined on the first leg of the run by the Jurassic Coast Trust’s Chief Exec Dr Sam Rose and Bridport runner Adam Slater. Together they ran 12.5 miles from the Devon border to Freshwater Beach Holiday Park. The Jurassic Coast Trust’s Senior Programme Manager Lucy Culkin met Dan off the ferry at Sandbanks on Saturday evening and accompanying him at the start of his final stretch.
Whilst Dan was joined by support runners for certain sections of the run, he faced his greatest challenges alone and at night with cold wind, difficulty navigating in the dark and muddy fields that hampered movement. Physically he battled knee pain, hypoglycemia and recurring stomach issues. After a short rest just after Dancing Ledge, Dan made it on schedule to the Sandbanks ferry at Studland at 6.30pm. “I was determined I was not going to miss that ferry,” said Dan, exhausted as he was.
Buoyed by a team of support runners, Dan ran the 14-mile home stretch of flat terrain from Sandbanks to Chewton Bunny on the Dorset/Hampshire border to finish just ahead of his 24-hour goal. Not only, he managed to pull out all the stops with a final flourish: “With less than half a mile to go I let the others know that I’d be passing them, that I’ll leave them. It was only polite. I wasn’t going a different route. But I was about to drop the hammer, and I did! That was the biggest adrenaline moment I have ever had, to be running at 5km pace after 100 miles, I would never have believed it.”
All of us at JCT are so grateful that Dan chose to raise money for the Jurassic Coast Trust as part of this incredible challenge. Thank you also to White Star Running for organising the event. Please show your support by sponsoring Dan.
If you are feeling inspired by Dan’s epic achievement, join us on the weekend of 27th-29th September 2019 for Run Jurassic. The festival incorporates an ultra race (50km +), marathon, half marathon, 10km and children’s races over the weekend all along the Jurassic Coast. In partnership with White Star Running this is the official Jurassic Coast Running Festival that will showcase the amazing coastline Dorset has to offer – part of England’s only natural World Heritage Site.