ath­let­ics Hall sets out for new Cape Wrath record

Bath Chronicle - - SPORT - Kevin Fahey @Som­lives­port | 01225 322 322 [email protected]

Box ul­tra run­ning star Damian Hall is at­tempt­ing an au­da­cious record-break­ing at­tempt in Scot­land this week­end. Start­ing on Satur­day morn­ing the for­mer Run­ning Bath/chron­i­cle com­pe­ti­tion win­ner and run­ning part­ner Beth Pas­call, one of Bri­tain’s lead­ing fe­male long-dis­tance run­ners, will line up to run the Cape Wrath Trail from Fort William to the north western out­reaches of Scot­land. In a self-sus­tain­ing ef­fort the pair are aim­ing to com­plete the 230 miles and around 12,000 me­tres of climb­ing through one of the big­gest wilder­nesses in the UK in­side the cur­rent record time of seven days and nine hours. “The Cape Wrath trail goes through a very re­mote area of the coun­try with vir­tu­ally no mo­bile phone sig­nal and cross­ing just a hand­ful of roads,” said Hall, who works as a free­lance jour­nal­ist spe­cial­is­ing on the out­doors in Bath. “If we get into trou­ble with the weather, ill­ness or in­jury we would face a least half a day’s walk to get to a road and then we still might not see any­one for ages. “It is an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge but also a very daunt­ing one as we get closer to start­ing it. “At this time of year the weather is very un­pre­dictable and that far north we will only have six or seven hours of day­light. “Hope­fully it will stay cold and dry as that will be eas­ier for run­ning. If it gets very wet then it be­comes even more dif­fi­cult as run­ning in wet shoes is not good. “Also, we have sev­eral river cross­ings and af­ter heavy rain they can swell and be­come pretty dan­ger­ous, so we can­not af­ford to be too gung-ho or silly about it. It is go­ing to be a tough one that’s for sure.” Hall and Pas­cal won’t even carry tents, aim­ing to use the Scot­tish both­ies, which are ba­sic shel­ters left un­locked and avail­able for any­one to use free of charge, along the way. “We’ll carry our own bivvy bags as back-ups plus a stove to brew up tea plus pro­vi­sions, and hope­fully we can get things as well along the way,” added Hall. The record at­tempt is classed as an FKT Chal­lenge – a fastest known time chal­lenge - as against a Guin­ness world record bid due to the na­ture of the ter­rain and dif­fi­cul­ties in ac­cu­rately mon­i­tor­ing the at­tempt. “Ver­i­fi­ca­tion of an FKT at­tempt is ob­vi­ously less strin­gent that a Guin- ness record at­tempt as we are go­ing through such re­mote ar­eas, but we will be wear­ing GPS watches, from which the data will be in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied af­ter­wards and peo­ple can track our progress live as well,” ex­plained Hall. “The at­tempt is re­ally to show­case that you can still en­joy ad­ven­ture, whether in win­ter or sum­mer, in some re­ally re­mote ar­eas in Bri­tain. “I think peo­ple be­lieve we are a small, over-crowded is­land but hope­fully this will show oth­er­wise. It will be a great ad­ven­ture and hope­fully we can beat the record.” If so it will be Hall’s se­cond longdis­tance record as a few years ago he also broke the best time for com­plet­ing the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path. ■ The Bromham Christ­mas Pud 10k served up a fes­tive treat for James Don­ald as the Team Bath run­ner not only made the podium but also cel­e­brated a per­sonal best. Don­ald led home a trio of Team Bath run­ners as he crossed the line third in a time of 34mins 21secs, slic­ing 17 sec­onds off the time that he set over the same course last year with Thomas Davies clock­ing a sea­son’s best of 34:32 just be­hind him. “I was re­ally pleased with the PB as ear­lier in the week I had been ill and wasn’t sure whether I was go­ing to run or not,” said Don­ald. “I think the rest ac­tu­ally did me good as on the day I felt okay.” It proved a good day all round for the club as teenager Freya Spruit was run­ner-up in the women’s race with Laura Back­house third. In ad­di­tion, Jo Thomp­son claimed the over-60s prize. Like­wise David Vaudin was first male vet­eran over-60 and Si­mon Brace was se­cond in the M45 age cat­e­gory. ■ The in­door sea­son is al­ready un­der­way and Team Bath’s young sprint­ers Femi Ak­in­bobola and Dun­can Game headed to Lon­don for the Lea Val­ley De­cem­ber open meet­ing. Un­der-20 ath­lete Ak­in­bobola ran a per­sonal best time of 7.25secs in his semi-fi­nal of the 60m and Game, who is an un­der-17, clocked 7.38. Ak­in­bobola also recorded a PB of 37.24 to win his 300m and there were fur­ther PBS for Mc­don­agh (39.35) and Joel Mat­tacks (42.23). Michael Mc­don­agh also ran a PB of 7.69 and in the U15s 60m, Luke Game clocked a PB of 8.52, and then later added a PB of 4.30m in the long jump. Zoe Mat­tacks ran 8.59 in the se­nior women’s 60m. Else­where, for Team Bath at Cardiff, there was a win for Eleanor Web­ster in the 300m in 45.82 and bests for Gemma Baker in the U17 200m (30.75), Josie Rucker in the U15 200m (30.15), Alex Knight in the U15 300m (44.06), Nynka Rucker in the U15 300m (46.81), Caitlin Man­der in the U15 high jump with 1.36m, Alice Wil­son in the U15 long jump (4.70m) and Eleni Fran­cis in the U15 triple jump with 10.01m, which is a new club record. ■ The Uni­ver­sity of Bath hosts the Tri-coun­ties Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships – com­pris­ing Avon, Som­er­set and Wilt­shire - on Sun­day but the fix­tures clashes with the third Glouces­ter­shire League race which is a prime tar­get for Team Bath’s se­nior run­ners. A year ago, Alex Par­sons won the U15 boys’ race and Will Crudg­ing­ton was U20s cham­pion. Jade Lit­tlechild was third in the com­bined U20/17 women’s race so the club will be hope­ful of fea­tur­ing among the medals in the younger age groups. ■ Uni­ver­sity of Bath stu­dent John Mil­lar has been se­lected to rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain at the Euro­pean Cross­coun­try Cham­pi­onships in Til­burg, The Nether­lands, on Sun­day. It will be a first British vest for the math­e­mat­ics stu­dent, who will com­pete in the U23 cat­e­gory and has been in fan­tas­tic form this win­ter. Hav­ing se­cured top-five fin­ishes at British Ath­let­ics Cross Chal­lenge events in Cardiff and Mil­ton Keynes, Mil­lar booked his Euro­pean spot by plac­ing sixth in his age group and 15th over­all at the GB tri­als in Liver­pool. Mil­lar is part of the Uni­ver­sity’s stu­dent ath­let­ics squad coached by Colin Bovell at the Sports Train­ing Vil­lage.

Damian Hall will be seek­ing an­other ul­tra-dis­tance record on the Cape Wrath Trail

Team Bath AC run­ners at the Bromham Christ­mas Pud 10k

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