Weekend 14: 25th – 26th June 2016

Saturday 25th June 2016: Brynseincyn to Dinas Dinlle (25 miles!)

At start - Sat 25 June - Brynsciencyn
Start of Marathon 30 – Brynseincyn

The night before I (Jackie and I) stayed with a long standing friend’s family at Rhostryfan. It was a two night stay whilst I was undertaking “the weekend runs”. It is such acts of kindness to help us on our way that have been so gratifying on this #MoonShadowWales challenge “journey”. Thank you Elinor Gwynn.

Saturday morning was great. The weather was still and the sun was out as I ran from Brynsciencyn, initially inland, then along the Menai Strait shore. I enjoyed memorable views both ways along the Menai Straits, including wonderful views of the Britannia Bridge and the Menai Suspension Bridge.

Taking a quick coffee in a store just off the roundabout in Menai, an elderly couple made a donation to the cause. THANK YOU.

I was sad to cross the Menai Bridge because it signified the completion of my run around Anglesey: a wonderful experience and a big thank you to the many people who generously made donations. I (we) will be back.

From here access to, and visibility of, the coast was not easy but I ran on. Arriving in Y Felinheli, I called into the local pub Tafarn y Garddfon http://www.garddfon.co.uk to have a Coke for hydration purposes. There were several gentlemen in the bar who, along with the proprietor, kindly donated money to the cause …….and I was given an extra Coke drink for good luck!! THANK YOU.

End of Marathon 30 - Dinas Dinlle
End of Marathon 30 – Dinas Dinlle

The weather was changing and when I arrived in Caernarfon it was pouring with rain. I met Jackie in Y Galeri to grab some food (calories) and a drink (hydration). Leaving the marina, and running out of Caernarfon crossing the footbridge near the castle I bumped into Lynne who saw me coming with her long camera lens. It’s been tough for Lynne just lately, marking TJ’s birthday and the ongoing grieving process. I didn’t linger and ran on determinedly, skirting Foryd Bay on what was a lonely run. There was no one else stupid enough to be out in such weather!! Ha, that is part of the mental (resilience) challenge.

The weather was closing in but at this stage of the run there was something satisfying about reaching Caernarfon Airport. Why? Simply put because it meant that I was near the final stretch. Passing Morfa Dinlle to my left, I ran along the coastal path to Dinas Dinlle where I completed marathon 30 (actual distance 27.1 miles).

Sunday 26th June 2016: Dinas Dinlle to Tudweiliog (27 miles)

Stretches at start of Marathon 31 - Dinas Dinlle
Stretches at start of Marathon 31 – Dinas Dinlle

On Sunday morning, I had one of those moments again! Jackie had driven to the start at Dinas Dinlle (where I had finished marathon 30). The car stopped. For a moment, I didn’t want to get out of the car. I couldn’t get out of the car. Such moments have occurred before. In one sense, there are inexplicable. Yet, in another sense, the “moment” reflected my “being” for a number of seconds before the spell was broken as I “forced” the passenger door open.

For the first part of the day, and for the first time on this “challenge run”, I had decided to run without my “pack”. The run to Trefor was along / alongside roads. The straightness of the road (via the cycle way) to Clynnog Fawr seemed never ending. Nevertheless, it was good to arrive at the beach carpark in Trefor where I met Jackie and Lynne. I changed my “running shoes” for “trail shoes” to suit the forthcoming terrain. And “reunited” my “pack”.

Whilst more challenging, the run from here was more rewarding because of the variety of the changing landscaping. It was raining quite hard now as I quickly marched up Yr Eifl (rewarded by fantastic views) before running down into Nant Gwrtheyrn (the Welsh Language centre).

What a location for study, learning and events. I met Jackie and Lynne here for food and drink before running on to Nefyn. I enjoyed this stretch because of its variety and remoteness before arriving in the cosy village of Nefyn. From here, the path hugged the coast and I was even able to run along the beach to Morfa Nefyn. At this point, I was cold and decided to pop into the local pub for a mug of tea, whilst leaving behind a number of moo cards (which explain succinctly what I am doing). From here, I did in fact continue along the shore passed the RNLI boat station and rounded the slender, finger-like thread of land which formed part of the golf club. I pondered on what this spectacular location would be like on a fine day. However, the weather was inclement to say the least as I ran around the golf course and then followed the path as it hugged the coast. This was a fairly remote stretch but its beauty was still evident even in the rain.

There was a point on this part of the coastal run when looking inland I could see a settlement in the distance. I knew that it was Tudweiliog and therefore I was close to the point where I would head inland off the coastal footpath to the meeting point. This was the carpark forming part of Towyn farm. I was greeted by Jackie and an upbeat Lynne John as I ended marathon 31 (actual distance exactly 27 miles).

Bloody hell, 31 marathons done!! 8 to go.

Weekend 13: 18th & 19th June 2016

Saturday 18th June 2016: Holyhead to Rhosneigr (28 miles)

It was a beautiful day as I set off on marathon 28 from Marine Square, Holyhead heading out along the path adjoining the New Harbour. I ran passed the Country Park out on to Holyhead Mountain which provided fantastic and dramatic views of the coastline and the rest of the Holy Island! I did have a fall in this area – rocks and human beings don’t go together – but after “dusting myself down” moved on with nothing more than some brushing and a few cuts. The vagaries of trail running!! Leaving the mountain meant that I was running more on the level. It was delight to discover the lovely cove of Porth Dafarch where I bumped into the Beach Warden. In discovering what I was doing he kindly made a donation to the Moon Shadow Wales Challenge http://www.moonshadow.wales – THANK YOU. Onward I ran along this beautiful coastline to South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve, meandering along the coastline to Trearddur where I stopped to have a coffee and had my cuts treated with an antiseptic wipe. The stretch of coastline to the south of Holy Island felt more remote and lonelier somehow, notwithstanding the rugged beauty of the coastline. East of Rhoscolyn, on the coast, I came across a rocky outcrop and a coastguard viewing point well placed to scan the Bay. The lady volunteer very kindly made a donation to http://www.moonshadow.wales THANK YOU. I explained that today I was running to Rhosneigr. She pointed out that it was “3miles that way” just across the Bay. Ha! Of course, I would be running significantly more mileage following the Wales Coastal Footpath.

Arriving at the beautiful Silver Bay, the path then moved inland and across Start of marathon 28country to Four Mile Bridge. Having crossed it, the path meandered significantly along the “estuary” as I headed towards Cymyran Bay. I knew I was almost home when I ran alongside Valley Airfield. This was the point when my lower left calf muscle began to “tense-up”. Applying roll-on “deep-heat”, I managed to run along the long “Traeth Cymyran” beach, eventually arriving – with relief – in Rhosneigr: the completion of marathon 28.

PS: After gulping my protein drink, Jackie took me back to base where I had a hot bath, followed by improvised ice treatment. She expressed genuine concern that I would not be able to run marathon 29 on Sunday. I guess this point highlights the physical and emotional resilience that one has to have for such a unique endurance event. That night, I had a subliminal and real night-sweat worrying about whether I would be able to run or not. In my head, I knew that I was going to do marathon 29 but I did not let on to Jackie.

Sunday 19th June 2016: Rhosneigr to Brynseincyn (26 miles)

This was an altogether different day: weather wise and physical fitness wise. I was up at 6.00am. Having had my porridge and banana, I ice-packed my lower left calf and then followed my usual routine of preparation. I was also clear that this was a day for my “skins”.

Arriving with trepidation at the start of marathon 29, I hobbled off being very careful not to jolt my left calf muscle. As the minutes passed by, my hobble changed to a jog, then short runs, then fluent running. It was like as if my mind was adjusting to the physical readiness of my left leg to perform. Apart from concern for my injury, the weather was overcast and drizzling with rain. Several hours later, this drizzle changed to full on rain. It was a reflection perhaps of my mood early on in the day.

Start of marathon 29 from RhosneigerSo, the weather was dour, grey and raining, and I was apprehensive. There was no phone signal so I concentrated on running (carefully) without necessarily taking in what I was doing. I remember having to circumvent the Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit (I could hear the cars), rounding the coast to meet Jackie in Aberffraw. We had agreed to meet here to see how I was performing. Politely put, Jackie was offering me a “get-out” point if my leg was bad. It was OK, so after consuming a hydration drink, I was on my way again. After the dunes of Aberffraw, the coastal footpath moved inland and therefore across country. At this juncture, I’m prompted to say that marathon 29 required considered and careful navigation. In other words, it was important to have my wits about me because otherwise it would have been very easy to “go wrong”.

A signal did come through from Jackie that I should meet her in Maltraeth. Luckily, there was a delightful Gallery Studio near the bridge offering coffee and food. It was raining quite heavily at this stage so I joined Jackie for a hot drink and took on board calories in the form of a quiche salad, and piece of bara-brith. Yet again, we had inquisitive questions about what I was doing and this resulted in donations from the owners of the cafe and some parents who were “in awe” at what I was doing. THANK YOU.

A combination of food and caffeine spurred me on. I ran continuously across the bridge, through Newborough Forest until I arrived at Newborough Warren. There is where I took one of my GoPro clips. There were quite a number of people on the beach para-surfing.

From here, after the beach run, I followed the forest edge inland and acrossEnd of marathon 29 - absolutely soaked country. This is where my navigation skills were tested in terms of map reading, weather, lack of signage (or hidden signage) and (importantly) having a sense of where I was in relation to the coast. After several miles, I popped out onto the coastline (it was raining heavily at this point) opposite Caernarfon. It was kind of misty / murky but I could still make out the outline of the castle. From here, with a degree of excitement and relief (because I was almost at the end of marathon 29), I ran the final miles to end today’s run on the coast adjacent to Brynseincyn.

PS: On reflection, this was a BIG day. There was a moment over the weekend when I thought I would not be able to run. However, I had come through those dark thoughts to complete marathon 29……… leaving 10 more to do.

PPS: we stayed at an Airbnb in Gwalchmai who kindly gave a donation to http://www.moonshadow.wales THANK YOU.

Weekend 12: 11th & 12th June 2016

As a precursor to this blog, I recall being advised prior to the “run challenge” that I should “expect the unexpected”. This weekend certainly exemplified that statement, even though it is not always possible to expect the unexpected!! The weekend itself was also a paradox, which I explain later.

Saturday 11th June 2016: Pentraeth to Cemmaes (26 miles)

PAt start at Pentraethart of the wider challenge of the #MoonShadowWales challenge http://www.moonshadow.wales is the logistics of travel and accommodation. Certainly recent and forthcoming weekends will require us (Jackie {team Clio} and I {me the runner}) to travel several times from Cardiff to North Wales. Whilst we do pass through beautiful landscapes, it is nevertheless tiring (circa 5 – 6 hours depending on traffic). This combined with a “soft bed” on Friday night (I return to this latter point later) meant that on Saturday morning I was out of sorts.

My mood was not good, manifested by my intolerant and impatient remarks as Jackie was driving to the start point. Having spoken to Alex Jungmayr previously http://www.plasywern.co.uk/video/ , our mentor on this challenge, Jackie has come to understand that this is not my normal behaviour, it’s the nature of the challenge, the pressure, the foreboding……..because I know what’s coming!! I’m in my zone early mornings (I have to be) and only when I start running do I accept immediately that I’m beginning to eat away at the day’s marathon distance.

Pentraeth

Leaving Red Wharf Bay led to Benllech along Benlllech Sands. Prior to this point, I felt my left calve muscle go! It had been tweaked last weekend and gave way on Saturday morning. You can imagine what was going through my head. I paused for a moment, did some serious stretching and decided to “run through” the pain and the injury.

Arrival in CemmaesI texted Jackie who agreed to meet me at Moelfre with some “DeepHeat” spray and “roll-on”. Psychologically, this may have helped, as well as the fact that “DeepHeat” increases blood circulation to the damaged area. From here, I ran forward along the coastal path to Traeth Lligwy and Traeth Dulas. The latter inlet was impressive and because the sea was out (and I was in the mood), I traversed the Bay hugging the coast, passing Porth Bella, observing the silent outcrop of Ynys Dulas before re-joining the coastal footpath just beyond Trwyn Cwmrwg.

At end of marathon 26 - last run in red shoes
I cracked-on, heading workman-like towards Point Lynas, and then along the more rugged coastline towards Amlwch. From here the path edged Bull Bay before once again giving rise to more rugged coastline, especially onward from Porth Wen where the coastal footpath was certainly undulating. I arrived (with relief) in Cemmaes along Traeth Mawr beach.

 

Sunday 12th June 2016: Cemmaes to Holyhead (26 miles)

The alarm rang at 6.15am on Sunday morning (as per usual, 7 days per week since the Easter Bank Holiday weekend). The “soft-bed” I referred to at the very beginning of this weekend blog, maybe combined with the calve injury (affecting the disposition of my body), gave rise to my back being out of kilter on Sunday morning. As Jackie observed, I started running from Cemmaes with a very stiff gait. Some could say that I should not have started running, however, as was said by an ignominious sportsman “pain is temporary quitting is forever”.

Stretching calve muscles - day 2 of weekend 12

I ran out to Wylfa Head and then circumvented the Power Station before running on to Cemlyn Bay. I ran along the shale / pebbled beach that had been created, passing by the #Cemlyn Terns (@NTWelshCoast tweeted that 20% of Sandwich terns nest there). There was a cacophony of noise as I ran by. Running onwards, I knew that this would be relatively remote running today (compared with yesterday). And, before I forget, it was meant to rain yesterday (but was dry) but had been running non-stop today since I started (when it was meant to be dry). ‘‘Expect the unexpected’’!!!! For all that, I was enjoying the run, especially as I appeared to have overcome my “pulled calve muscle” problem and “stiff back”.

There is something about serendipity. I had run all morning and decided to call into the Wavecrest cafe at Church Bay https://www.facebook.com/Wavecrest-Cafe-319529728112875/?_fb_noscript=1 for a coffee (as is my wont). As I have explained in previous blogs, this gives me the chance to fuel-up, whilst mentioning the #MoonShadowWales challenge http://www.moonshadow.wales The cafe very kindly donated £10. My wife Jackie had arrived at the cafe by absolute pure chance and so we had a serendipitous meeting over coffee! Jackie was talking to a couple who expressed an interest in what I was doing. It transpired that they knew someone who had passed away as a result of MND http://www.mndassociation.org in his early 50s. They made a generous donation of £40. This was a “powerful stop” in many senses of the word because when I left I really motored on, uplifted by the support of the people in the cafe and their stories. The sea was out for this part of the run and so, yes, where I could I did full-on coastal trail running. It was fantastic and liberating. As I came round Cregiau Cliperau I was able to look across the water to Holyhead. In other words, I could see exactly where I was headed and that was a great spur. I enjoyed the sands at Traeth y Gribin and was able to cross the estuary prior to Y Fali. Running along the coast, the coastal path connected with the bridge (over the Stanley Embankment) leading me into Penrhos Nature Reserve, passing the “private beach” (as quoted by @AngleseyScMedia) before crossing playing fields leading me to Penrhos Beach, around Morawelon and into the town centre passed the station. Crossing the road bridge, and passing St Cybi’s Church, I ran to Marine Square where marathon 27 came to an end.

end of marathon 27 - joined Jackie in grounds of St Cybi s Church

This was an eventful weekend to say the least – but what of the paradox!! Well, despite the injury challenges, these two marathons were the most enjoyable so far!! Perhaps reflecting the intimacy, beauty, remoteness and friendliness of the place.

Also, for the athletic “geeks” amongst you, I ran my last marathon in my “red shoes” on Saturday – yes, my red Salomons – they’ve been on a journey from the start in Poppit Sands, Cardigan but it is now time to put them to one side because of wear-and-tear.

Weekend 11: 4th & 5th June 2016

Saturday 4th June 2016: Colwyn Bay to Abergwyngregyn (26 miles)

Robert ChapmanLeaving the Parc Eirias building in Colwyn Bay (or as we have come to know it – the Bryn Williams building!), it was a pleasant run along the sea front to Rhos on Sea. The early morning air was filled with sea-salt which was pleasant.

Proceeding across the Little Orme brought me out onto the road leading along the coast to Llandudno. I grabbed a quick coffee near the entrance to the pier before proceeding with the run around the Great Orme, the subject of recent debate because the National Trust is proposing to “let” the land (for conservation purposes) for £1 to a suitable candidate with farming experience. The road was closed to traffic. A brief conversation with a walker suggested that the circular route was 4.25 miles. I was wondering about this distance as a percentage of the whole #MoonShadowWales challenge distance (1,030 miles) http://www.moonshadow.wales

Rounding the Head, I was exposed to a wonderful view of Conwy Sands, yet another fantastic view on this challenge run. Today was hot so it was important that I should be drinking lots of fluid. I grabbed a quick drink in the cafe adjoining the carpark before “cracking-on” passed Deganwy to the bridge over the estuary at Llandudno Junction. Crossing the “tubular bridge” gave me an impressive view of Conwy castle, the focal point of this delightful town. Yet again, I acquired more fluid. In doing so at this stop and my various stops, it gave me the opportunity to leave a “moo card” which explains succinctly what I am doing: raising awareness of #MND and raising money for #MND #research https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Robert-Chapman12

r100

Running on from Conwy, I passed by the Marina and ran alongside the golf course heading towards Penmaen Bach point. I ran along the cycle path that provides an excellent conduit for cyclists connecting places along this part of the North Wales coast. The run along this next stretch of coast was more hum-drum. Putting my head down, I ran passed Penmaenmawr, through Llanfairfechan, and then on to the Nature Reserve carpark on the coast from Abergwyngregyn. It was good to achieve an early afternoon finish after running marathon 24 in hot weather.

Sunday 5th June 2016: Abergwyngregyn to Pentraeth (28 miles)

wra

Leaving Abergwyngregyn on Sunday, I have to admit to being tired. The challenge is relentless, in more ways than one. For example, it is neither a complaint nor a moan, but I mention it simply because sometimes people don’t quite understand what I am undertaking. Since the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, I have been running sequential marathons with the alarm going off at 6.15am every morning since then. This early morning start allows me to prepare mentally for each marathon.

Arriving at the first carpark on the Wales coastal footpath after the Pentraeth carpark, it then proceeded inland around the National Trust’s Penrhyn Estate. Mindful of the Trust’s raison d’etre, I was surprised that it could not facilitate an access across its land around the coast?? Leaving the small port at Penrhyn, I ran around the northerly coastal edge of Bangor, which took me through a nature reserve on route to the glorious Menai Bridge. What a wonderful structure. I stopped in Menai Bridge village for a coffee, again leaving a #MoonShadow card before pressing on to Beaumaris.

Yet another fine (hot) day meant that when I arrived in Beaumaris, I “fuelled-up”bulk1 before proceeding along the coastal footpath looking out over Menai Strait. Because of the height of the tide, and the poor path, there was an inland diversion for part of the way but I did return to the coast and enjoyed the view of Porth Penmon, before running on to Penmon Point enjoying the view out to Puffin Island. The well-placed cafe at this point was a good spot for an ice-cream to help me cool down.

I don’t know whether it was psychological, but there seemed to be a general incline from Menai Bridge to Beaumaris, and then from Beaumaris to Penmon Point. I was secretly hoping that the route would be level across country to Red Wharf Bay. Sadly, this was not the case!!! I was very workman like for this part of the inland path. However, I was glad when I rounded the Bwrdd Arthur fort which gave rise to wonderful (vantage point) views of Red Wharf Bay. Because of the heat of the day, I had already run out of water so at the next coastal car park I found a café. I had a soft drink on the go.

pentraeth

Circa 1 mile after this carpark, I was glad to be able to run along the low tide coast path (as opposed to the high tide path), which enabled me to run along the sea-wall……it reminded me slightly of the sea wall at Cwm Ivy, North Gower. Running on, I did eventually arrive at the next carpark on the beach (the bottom of Red Wharf Bay) where I was greeted by Jackie and Lynne. The coastal carpark at Pentraeth was a welcome sight as it meant the end of marathon 25.

PS: The unseen part of this challenge is the logistics. Having had a bite to eat in Caernarvon, we eventually arrived back at our home in Cardiff just after 11.00pm.

Weekend 10: 29 – 30 – 31st May 2016

Saturday 29th May 2016: Pool Quay to Trevor (27 miles…….actual 29 miles)

Start point Pool Quay

The dry, blue-sky weather on Saturday morning was to foretell the weather for the remainder of the bank holiday weekend: hooray! Leaving the canal at Pool Quay, I ran along Offa’s Dyke path following the river Severn taking me east of Ardleen to Four Crosses where it headed west onto the Montgomery canal towpath.

This was a pleasant level run into Llanymynech before ascending onto Llanymynech Hill. Circumventing the golf course, I headed across country to Trefonen calling into the local post office shop for a coke. Today was going to be hot so it was important to take on board fluid, even though I had my 1.5 litre water platypus. A gentleman asked me what I was doing and kindly donated, whilst a woman asked me for one of my #MoonShadow cards http://www.moonshadow.wales/

From here there was a gradual ascent up onto the Bwlch on the west side of Oswestry. The adjoining slender shaped woodland gave me shelter from the sun, as I continued to ascend to Selattyn Hill, then Craignant. From here, I ran towards Chirk Castle crossing the River Ceiriog valley before ascending the permissive path into one of the National Trust’s fine properties. Crossing parkland, I then ran along the road and fields to the canal (Pentre to Froncysyllte) before running across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to Trevor, marking the end of marathon 21. My Polar watch indicated 29.1 miles.

End point of Pool Quay to Trevor

Sunday 30th May 2016: Trevor to Bodfari (27 miles)

Setting off day 2 - marathon 2 - of weekend 10

Alex Jungmayr had pre-warned me that this would be a “long day”. Alex’s insightful comments and advice have been absolutely invaluable on this challenge. Even such a simple statement had me thinking (mentally prepared) that today was going to be a tough challenge. The path ascended out of Trevor. I have to admit to making an early off path error near to Trevor Hall but then sometimes either you can’t see the tell-tale signs of the path, or they have become camouflaged in vegetation, or (dare I say it) even removed! Anyway, my navigation skills always bring me “back on track”, and so I joined the road from Garth as it circumvented Creigiau Eglwyseg and moved around the base of Eglwyseg Mountain.

From here, it felt like the ascent was relentless, coming off the road and running along the base of the mountain to Craig Arthur and beyond. Running out of the woodland to the north of Eglwyseg Mountain (Craig-y-Adar etc) there is a stretch of road beyond the “parking” icon on the Harvey map. I had estimated circa 1 mile before (seeing a sign and) turning left. It wasn’t there and so, perhaps impatiently, I turned left too early and traversed what can only be described as very difficult terrain: uneven, tussocky, brambly and covered with the kind of vegetation typical of poor hill ground. On reflection, this was unnecessarily energy sapping because it was hard work crossing this terrain to get back on track. Having made the mistake, at least I should give myself some credit for once again getting back on track. I joined the path about 100 metres before traversing Llandegla Forest. It was pleasant running through this woodland because at last (at least for this part of today’s run) I was running downhill and to-boot I was in the shade for a while. This led to the village of Llandegla. I had already worked hard just to get to this point of the run so it was a delight to locate a recently opened community shop / cafe in the old Church School, operated by enthusiastic volunteers. It was lunchtime-ish so I had a cheese/onion pastry, chocolate caramel and cafetière of coffee. I explained to a number of local people, who asked, that I was running around the perimeter of Wales. One lady paid for my lunch (THANK YOU), another took my #MoonShadowWales card, whilst the gentleman operating the till took a photograph of me to put it on the community FaceBook page. Thank you to Llandegla community for your hospitality and interest in what I am doing.

The caffeine boast was welcome because if it had been hard so far, it was just about to get harder still!! Traversing fields to the east side of Moel-y-Waen, Offas Dyke path then gave a new meaning to the word undulating (ascending / descending): Moel-y-Plas; Moel Llanfair; Moel Gyw; passing by Gyrn & Moel Eithinen; Moel Fenlli Hillfort, Moel Famau (Jubilee Tower 558m); Moel Dywyll; Moel Arthur Hillfort and eventually Penycloddiau Hillfort before running around the base of Moel-y-Parc downwards to Bodfari.

The short description of my journey across the beautiful Clwydian range doesn’t do it justice but these were not normal circumstances. I was moving fairly swiftly and with purpose, acknowledged by Rob Dingle (@offasdykepath ). Also, Lynne John’s book on Offa’s Dyke path described this 17 mile section of the path “as extremely arduous walking requiring much balance”. I was RUNNING and was pleased to complete this 27 mile stretch when I arrived in Bodfari. This was undoubtedly the second toughest running day of the challenge so far, and didn’t I know it.

Trevor to Bodfari was a tough day

Monday 31st May 2016: Bodfari to Colwyn Bay (26 miles)

Psychologically, albeit tired from the previous two days, I knew that today I was going to reach the coast so this was a ‘spur’. The start was a rude awakening ascending from circa 54m to circa 290m as I marched / ran towards Rhuallt. I remember thinking as I ascended (yet again) the path to the south of Mynydd-y-Cwm that it must be the final steep incline of this 3-marathon bank holiday weekend! Ha!! As I meandered along the path towards Prestatyn I was to discover another ascent through woodland to a vantage point looking down over the town. It was great to see the sea and to know that it was downhill from here to the sea-front where (near the information centre) I found the sign pointing to Chepstow (182 miles). I had achieved another milestone.

@offasdykepath , who had been a constant Twitter companion on the Offa’s Dyke section of the perimeter run of Wales, stated that it was traditional to dip one’s feet in the sea water at the end of the path. I did this with glee and was accompanied by my wife Jackie to celebrate this moment because her support to this challenge has been IMMENSE. Post sea-moment, I was ready for some calories and hydration, so I fuelled-up to run the next 15 miles “on the level” to Colwyn Bay.

It was good to be on the Wales coastal path again, and there was something soothing about being able to glance to my right from time to time to see the sea. The path is absolutely on the front so I ran from Prestatyn to Rhyl, through Kinmel Bay to Abergele, Llanddulas and then on to the modern Parc Eirias (Bryn Williams) building in Colwyn Bay where marathon 23 came to an end………….marking the end of 3 back to back marathons (circa 80+ miles) over arduous terrain.

End of marathon 3 - weekend 10 - in Colwyn Bay