I have been asked about the equipment I was carrying on my coast to coast run. Not exactly coast to coast if I only got as far as Grasmere, though I like the idea of continuing it sometime. Next time I want to get the pack smaller and lighter but it would not be easy if I still want to carry camping gear.
First day was good going, the second day I could feel it in my legs from the previous day and the third day I felt I had got into my stride, the pack was sitting right and my legs were not feeling tired. I was getting used to it. This is me on arrival in Grasmere.
So here are some details of what I carried:
Packs: Vaude Rock Ultralight Comfort 25. Weight 475g without back stiffener, 625g with. Verdict, good. In the picture it is covered with a waterproof cover from a different bag.
Lifeventure Base Runner waist pack.
Tent: Coleman Rigel X2 Ultra Lightweight 2. supposed to be a 2 person tent but that would not be the case if you want kit stored inside with you in the rain, as I had to. Small pack size. Weight 960g. Bamboo chopsticks for tent pegs.
Sleeping bag: Snugpak Softie Chrysalis Micro 2 season. Pack size 16cm x 16cm. Weight 1kg. I also carried a silk liner as it would have been a way of keeping the bag fresh for the whole journey.
Cooking: Titanium mug with a spirit stove inside it.
Clothing: Just running gear, a change of gear and plenty good running socks. Pertex (Ron Hill) over-trousers that performed very well in the rain over tights. The Aldi lightweight windproof running jacket was excellent, and so cheap too at less than £10. Highly recommended. I took no other waterproof. I highly recommend Aldi running socks too, excellent price and I get no blisters with them.
Trekking Poles: I took lightweight poles. Not sure if they are designed for running or trekking. I had tried them out during a previous week of running in the Lake district and had found they speeded up the ascents and enabled me to be quicker on the descents giving me more stability, acting like a handrail. Mine are Black Diamond Distance, though the Fizan Super Compact gets good reviews. I think I must look like a running pretending to be a skier.
Shoes: This is what might have let me down. I wore my old Gore-Tex Asics Trail Lahar. the advantage of Gore-Tex is that once your feet are drenched (and I went through some heavy downpours) they seem to stay warm. The disadvantage is that they are hard to dry out so I was running in wet shoes for the three days. I had recently bought some New Balance 110 Trail Running shoes at on offer at SportsDirect.com (475g for the pair).
I had thought my old Asics would get me over the boulder-strewn paths of the Lake District when I could then ditch them and switch to the NB pair – that I had in my pack. I should have done it the other way around and used the NB for the trails and switched to the Asics for flat or road sections.
I wish I had been wearing the NBs and here’s why: the sole of the Asics is very grippy and sticks out at the sides. It was this that caught on rocks and boulders as I was running. A narrower profile sole would have been safer and, in my opinion, would have spared me turning my ankle which ended my journey.
Will I do it again or continue from where I got to? Probably, but there are things I have learned.
The choice of footwear will be better next time and I would like a lighter pack.
Instead of taking camping gear just for the option of using it, I could get rid of all that and use accommodation on the route. The problem with that is that most of it is full having been booked in advance for this popular long distance walk. I met two couples that had come from the USA simply to do the Coast to Coast. If booking accommodation in advance there is no flexibility, the distance planned has to be done.
Distance: How far should a runner plan to do per day? Crossing the Lake District is hard going because of steep climbs and the rocky paths (some badly eroded) A walker may do 12 – 20 miles a day. If that distance is done at a run that is a half marathon every day. It seems to me that I did not have more miles in me than the walkers did, I could just do it quicker (St Bees to Ennerdale in 2 hours).
Luggage transport: There are companies that will carry all personal luggage delivering it to the next stop. Costs a lot of money. And then we are back to the problem of distances to be covered again. If distances are planned beforehand and accommodation is fixed, the full distance would have to be done. Fall behind one day and all subsequent accommodation bookings would be forfeit. Mm a puzzle.