Chris Monteith, Bridport Runners/RIOT, has pulled one out of the bag this year and finished the Climb South West North Coast 110. Congratulations Chris, this feat defies belief, especially considering the race fell over the weekend of storm Alex!

Baggy Point in better weather

In Chris’ own words:

North Coast 110 miles. A case of careful what you wish for.

First a bit of a back story as to the why? I know I’ve already bored you all with it, but last summer I had the opportunity to run in the UTMB CCC. A 100km trail run through the mountains of France, Switzerland and Italy. Quite possibly the best running experience I’ve ever had, a once in a lifetime race perhaps. Except, there was one step further, the full 100 mile UTMB. But surely this was a race for someone else’s lifetime, not mine. We shall see. However, the seed was sown and now came the not insignificant hurdle of acquiring the points just to enter the UTMB. Basically, to qualify, I needed to run 100miles!

Having had 3 months with no running and been back training for only a couple of months, I was initially looking at the Climb South West North Coast 110 as support crew for a friend who was running it. However, a couple of long training runs later I convinced myself to give it a go. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, for a start, the weather. Starting at Hartland Quay on the North Devon coast, from the start, storm Alex was right in our face. In fact, as the race started my cap went the opposite direction, so 2 minutes in I was minus 200 metres! You know you are into something extreme when you realise the first checkpoint is at 35km. But, my tactic was pretty simple. Get to the next checkpoint, ideally with a 2 hour cushion before the cut-off, so essentially going as slow as possible. The only goal was to finish.

In hindsight, the weather may have been an advantage. The concentration required to stay upright meant there was no headspace available to consider quitting. It was just head down and getting it done. For the most part I enjoyed it, I think. There certainly were low points though. Putting on my waterproof trousers back to front and not being able to figure out how to tie them up was certainly one. Crawling along on all fours at 2am around an exposed headland called Baggy Point was also a challenge, the wind and rain were such that standing up was all but impossible.

I won’t bore you with the detail, its was the usual up, down, up again of the coast path although I did note that Devon mud seems much slippier than the Dorset variety. And, so it was, a mere 33 hours, 110 miles and 20,000 feet of climbing later, I arrived at the finish line in Minehead. My trainers were ripped, my running poles in pieces, and my body bruised and battered. But crucially I had done it. Of the 50 entrants and 36 starters there were only 19 finishers. This was one brutal race. So, the dream of returning to the Alps is still alive, but first I need to get back to walking without a limp!

Chris Monteith

We hope Chris’ story is inspirational and we wish him all the luck with a UTMB finish one day soon!