2021 Sabbatical Challenge - Running The Cotswold Way
Tackling the iconic Cotswold Way over a series of long runs
In 2020 I set myself the challenge of running from Bristol to Stroud and back over a series of long runs, doing it in sections every weekend until the loop was complete.
I absolutely LOVED IT. It gave me something to focus on when planning long runs (rather than the decision paralysis of choosing a route on Friday nights) and I got to see a wide variety of landscape from the Severn Way right over to the Cotswolds.
I'm currently on sabbatical until the start of June and have set myself my next challenge: running the entire Cotswold Way in sections by the end of my time off.
I've been using Komoot a lot lately for planning more adventurous weekend runs, mainly as their route builder puts a good deal of focus on footpaths, and their social features make finding interesting places to visit easier.
Handily they have the Cotswold Way broken down into 14 segments ranging from 9 to 17km a piece.
I'll be using these routes as a guide, toying with them to match the distance I can cover that week.
As this will be a solo endeavour most of the runs will be either out and backs or, where possible, loops to discover more of the local scenery.
My long runs tend to be 20-30k and, as I'll need to be getting back to the car each time, that means covering 10-15k of the trail each run.
Twice a week, over a total distance of 164, means we're looking at roughly 6 weeks and change to complete the whole thing. Hoping to get a bit of overtime in there too and maybe even convince my partner to do a drop off / pick up so I can cover more ground in a day.
First Run - Cold Ashton to Bath
Starting as I mean to go on, I completed the first section on Monday, starting in Cold Ashton and running down to Bath, before looping back round up the Limestone Link trail to the village for a 27k total distance.
Descending into Bath was a joy, the sun was out, the weather dry, and the trails held views of the valleys all the way up until coming into Bath proper.
What I didn't count on was the difficult ascent back to Cold Ashton on the Limestone Link. The route I'd chosen back undulated across valleys with steep climbs and sharp drops, meaning by the time I was back at the car I was exhausted!
Next Run - Tormarton to Cold Ashton
For the next segment I'll be starting in Tormarton and running down to Cold Ashton, linking up to where I started last time and drawing that all important continuous heatmap line. This ones an out and back unfortunately, but it's all new ground so looking forward to seeing the sights