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Coastal Trail Ultra - South Devon (22 Aug 2009)

Ultra trail race in South Devon from Plymouth to Salcombe following the SW Coastal path. Includes 3 estuary crossings by swimming or wading (depending on state of the tide at 2nd crossing), after 6.7 miles (11 kms), 16.4 miles (26 kms) and 22 miles (35 kms) respectively. The route is hilly with approximately 5,000 feet (1,600 m) of overall height +/-, starting and finishing at sea level.

Route can be run solo or in teams of 2 or 4.

Race started at 7am and the organisers provided the option of a bus at 5am from the finish to the start. Camping is available within 2 kms of the finish at Higher Rew Caravan and Camp site which has hot showers (20p coin) and a shop with basic supplies. Free all day car parking is available on the roads close to beach.

The winning time of 6 hours is a reflection of the route which is hilly. Scenery is excellent passing many deserted sandy coves and high headlands. Mostly grass underfoot but some muddy and rocky sections - trail shoes were ideal. The river crossings were a particular feature. Two involved swimming (c 200 m and 50 m respectively) and one wading (c 300 m). The organisers provided excellent instruction at each crossing and safety kayaks were in the water. Kit went into a 35 ltr dry bag which I hooked over my shoulder (attached with a tri race belt). It bobbed along behind offering the potential of a flotation device! Google Earth offers ideal pre race reconnaissance.

Race comes thoroughly recommended. Well organised and outstandingly refreshing with the river swims.

Report Simon Coles