On Saturday and Sunday I took part in the Round the Island Ultra in the Isle of Wight. Not having been there for many years I thought the best way to see the whole island was to run round it! So here is my story of this two-day Coastal Path trail event. Sorry it's a bit lengthy.
I arrived on Friday evening in West Cowes where we stayed overnight in a school hall. The following morning at 8.30 after the race briefing we ran about a mile to where we boarded a very small riverboat to take us across to East Cowes to the start. From the start we had our first of very many hills to climb. We had a brief Route Card to follow plus a map, the main navigation being to follow the Coastal Path signs and some blue and white arrows put up by the organisers. So navigation was fairly easy, but there were several places that you could go wrong and some places where you just had to make the best guestimate. You just had to keep the sea on your left!
From East Cowes we followed the path to Ryde. From Ryde we headed down to the beach and ran along the pebbled beach to Bembridge. We then climbed up to the Target Point to the large monument to be greeted by the most amazing all-round coastal views. The Coastal Path continued down to Sandown where we ran along the seafront and then up along the cliffs to Shanklin Chine. From here you could see the erosion of the cliffs and where the Island is gradually shrinking. We then went downhill along the seafront before climbing a total of 156 steps to Ventnor, Steephill Cove, Niton, following the Coastal Path to the top of the cliffs to Blackgang and finishing day one at Brightstone. 39.23 miles.
It is incredible what a night's stay in a very small tent with the wind hailing around you all night can do to brighten you up for the next day!
Day two started at the top of the cliff edge – near to where spent the night in our tents – towards Freshwater. We followed the Coastal Path on to Tennyson's monument, Battery, Headon Warren where you could look back at the Needles at the very top. On then to Widdich Chine and Colwell Bay. From there on to Yarmouth going through the high street which was a little tricky finding the right way and then joining the path near the sea. From Yarmouth we headed towards Newton Bay, along the beach and up more steps, boardwalks, over bridges, until reaching Shalfeet. From there on to Newtown, Porchfield, along the beach again, up along the cliff edge and downhill to Gurnard along the seafront. Just over half a mile away from the finish we had to climb up some very steep winding steps and then head uphill for a bit before we had a gentle slope back down to the school to the finish. Just over 32 miles.
This was a very tough challenge. I didn't realise how hilly the IOW is. We climbed up to the highest point in the IOW. We crossed narrow wooden bridges, ran along the pebbled beaches, ran through forests, climbed over endless stiles, run along the cliff tops. Day one I took one wrong turning down a grassy track where I ended up in someone's back garden! Day two I took the wrong turning and found myself in the high street and had to ask some of the locals to put me back on the right path.
A fantastic experience. I met some lovely people. The weather was a bit too hot on Sunday and windy on Saturday. If you want a challenge that has more or less everything then this is it! Day one I finished in 9.23 (39.23 miles) and day two 8.20 (32 miles). I was first lady in my age category.
I like the write up, you deserve a SORE league point for that alone.
I heard you were doing a very long one at the weekend, well done on this challenge. IOW is hilly but a lovely place.
That sounds fab. Congratulations!
Great write up. I ran a little bit of the coastal path last summer and can confirm just how hilly it is. I also remember fearing for my life a points because of the erosion! Well done :)
Sue, you continue to amaze. Well done!
Wow! What an achievement, it must have been an amazing experience.
Fantastic Sue - well done - looks like you found your form again just in time! Sounds a great event!
Wow amazing sue. I love the Isle of Wight and if I ever start running again and get to do ultras this would be on my list. Fantastic achievement I am so pleased it worked out for you 😁
wow Sue......you must be mad
Seriously though well done.
Congratulations Sue, Saturday was also the Round the Island sailing race, so you'd see lots of yachts as well? A tremendous accomplishment, well done, Robert
Sounds amazing - congratulations
What a fantastic achievement Sue! Beautiful if somewhat hilly island to run around! Congratulations. Imagine not many people can say they have accomplished this!
I was only starting to think of running a Trail Run for 10k and taking my friend along for the 2k course in Japanese Alps. But this scale of you have done is Shockingly Big!!! My legs are too far gone now, should have done it 10 years ago........
Thank you for telling us such a lovely story, Sue.
Well done Sue. You are amazing x