British ultrarunning sensation Damian Hall added another FKT (fastest known time) to his resume on Wednesday after a 39-hour run across England on the Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route. Hall’s exact time was 39 hours, 18 minutes, which beat British fell running legend Mike Hartley‘s route record by 18 minutes. The previous FKT had been in place since 1991, but Hall managed to better it (although it was tight) 30 years after Hartley originally set it.
HE’S DONE IT… JUST! @Ultra_Damo has broken the record for the 185-mile Wainwright’s Coast to Coast.
He clocked 39 hrs & 18 mins (TBC), beating the time of Mike Hartley, which had stood since 1991, by 18 mins.
Full story 👉 https://t.co/5iDrqO6efz
— inov-8 (@inov_8) May 26, 2021
The Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route starts on one edge of England and takes runners right across the country to the other side. The route was established by Alfred Wainwright, a guidebook author who founded several other routes in the U.K. that are now well known and extremely popular among fell runners.
Like Hartley, Hall ran the roughly 300K route from west to east, starting in the small village of St. Bees and crossing the finish line on the other coast in another small town named Robin Hood’s Bay. The route took Hall through England’s Lake District National Park (where many fell running records have been set), which he hit soon after setting off from St. Bees.
Along the way, Hall picked up litter he found on the route, which he has done before in other FKT attempts. Hall is a big supporter of climate initiatives, and he endeavours to be a “carbon-negative” athlete (which he notes in his Instagram bio). This means he not only offsets his environmental footprint enough to become carbon neutral, but that he takes it a step further and continues his efforts to push past that point of neutrality and venture into the realm of being carbon negative.
As inov-8, one of Hall’s main sponsors, noted after his run, his efforts to pick up litter along the Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route and plans to work with the nonprofit Trees Not Tees will make the FKT attempt a carbon-negative outing.
After the run, which featured more than 8,500m of elevation gain, Hall told the team at inov-8 about his history on the route and how the record attempt went. “I hiked the Coast to Coast in 2007, but I don’t remember it being as tough as it was this time around,” he said. “Of all my record attempts, this one proved to be the most difficult and the one which forced me to dig the deepest.”
Hall continued, noting that Hartley’s record was “so brilliantly fast” that he had to give the run every bit of energy he had in him. “That meant me running faster than I would normally do for such a long distance.” Hall battled through tough conditions along the brutal route to finish just ahead of Hartley’s decades-old record, and the effort has now joined his other FKTs.
Hall’s run came a little over a week after American ultrarunner John Kelly set a new FKT on the Pennine Way in the U.K. Kelly beat Hall’s record (which he set last July) by more than three hours. As Kelly noted on Twitter after Hall completed his run on Wednesday, Hall is “like the hydra of FKTs — lose one, grow two or three new ones back.”