Paul Giblin and Graham Connolly on their Cape Wrath record

The Compressport-sponsored duo covered the tough 240-mile route in less than four days

Paul Giblin and David Connolly

by Paul Halford |

Paul Giblin has spoken about some of the harsh conditions he and fellow soldier Graham Connolly faced when they broke the fastest known time for the Cape Wrath Trail last week.

They covered the brutal 240-mile trek along barely marked trails from Cape Wrath, the northwesternmost point of mainland Britain, to Fort William in three days, 23 hours and 50 minutes. This unofficially broke the mark held by Damian Hall and Beth Pascall by nearly 10 hours.

They had just a few short sleep breaks as they took on one of the most-challenging long-distance trails in the UK, involving a terrain that included river crossings and extreme mountainous cliffs.

Giblin, who has three times placed top 10 in the Western States 100, explained "trail" is not accurate description for much of the famous route. He said: "There are no route markings and for most of it - there is no trail. So it’s not at all like taking on a well-established and serviced roads. There are even a couple of route options, but we took the one as close to the guidebook as we could.

"If you followed the tracker you would have been forgiven for thinking we were incredibly slow. I’ve run 100 miles on trail in around 14 hours in the past - but the conditions underfoot are so tough. There are huge areas of bog, long rocky sections, grassy tussocks, miles and miles of thick heather, river crossings, ticks. The weather is hugely changeable too: at points being roasted by the sun, to freezing snow, hail and strong winds."

The scale of the challenge hit them from early on, he explained. "After day one, it was tough," he said. "I think we both realised the enormity of the challenge then. When you have to work hard right from the start and then realise, you’re not even a quarter of the way through the route, that for me is the toughest time.

"We generally ran for 20 - 28 hours before taking a sleep. We started with 25 minutes on day two and then continued that for the most-part. I think after a really tough night section where we’d spent the night contouring a mountain in the snow, we slept for maybe 90 minutes. On the last day the tiredness is real, and not something food and caffeine can fend off any longer. Oh...and we twice slept on the trail for 10 minutes – once at the edge of a cliff, too tired to care."

The duo were sponsored by Compressport and Paul said of their gear: "I think we both wore the genius micro thin 3D Thermo Ultralight tops throughout. They were great. Also the 3D Thermo Racing Hoodie were used more than we ever thought. The conditions changed regularly, so being able to ventilate when needed but be confident enough that you’d be warm enough in sub-zero temperatures was really important. So, having lightweight but waterproof gear really helped."

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