Damian Hall will this week attempt to break the record for the South Wales Traverse, a 72-mile trek across the Brecon Beacons.
Three months after setting a fastest-known time for the 268-mile Pennine Way, the Inov-8 sponsored runner will return to one of his favourite areas for training to make an attack on what he calls “the southern Britain equivalent of the Bob Graham Round”.
The 31-summit challenge includes the ascent of Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in southern Britain, and runners aim to complete it within 24 hours.
In 2015, he himself traversed it within that timeframe - albeit inadvertently missing out two peaks. Although he is much fitter now, Hall admits the time of 14 hours 18 minutes 39 seconds set by Dan Doherty in 2017 will be tough to beat.
However, he knows the area well and has been training there recently with Doherty. The Wiltshire-based runner used the Beacons to train for the UTMB, in which he placed fifth in 2018.
Hall said: “Challenges tend to suit me better when they’re 100 miles and upwards so, though 72 miles may sound like long to some people, to me it’s short and uncomfortably fast. It’s a very different type of challenge to the Pennine Way and one I’m not so obviously suited to. But really, it’s just a big day out in the hills. Or a bimble in the Beacons.”
As with the Pennine Way, he is planning to do the South Wales Traverse without animal products for fuel, without creating any plastic waste and picking up litter as he goes.
He wrote in his Inov-8 blog: “It seems unlikely I could better Dan’s time on the SWT, so I’m just concentrating on giving my best possible performance and if that happens I’ll be happy.”