60 miles per day, 4 hours sleep a night and a total of 10 days, 12 hours and 6 minutes.
That’s how long it took British Ultra Runner and Purition ambassador Kristian Morgan to complete the epic South West Coast Path. It’s the UK’s longest and most challenging National Trail and covers a whopping 630 miles of southern and western coast.
On the 23rd September 2020, after battling through 115,000ft of ascents and descent, rugged terrain and an unexpected September heatwave, Kristian smashed a new FKT (Fastest Known Time); finishing 3 hours ahead of the previous fastest known time held by fellow British ultra runner Damian Hall.
Kristian has long used Purition to fuel his ultra running lifestyle, so we’re thrilled that he’s managed to take some time out of his recovery time (in his own words, he’s feeling both ‘both excellent and totally wrecked‘) to chat with us about the ups and downs of his South West Coast Path challenge and how he feels about being the all-new FKT record holder…
A dream come true
To have broken the FKT on the South West Coast Path is a dream come true. Not only that, but the previous record holder, Damian Hall, is one of Britain’s best ultra runners, so that makes my success even sweeter!
I chose to go after this particular FKT on the South West Coast Path because I wanted to go for the biggest and toughest record. I’m also a big fan of the ocean and having it on my left for 10 days was very soothing. Sometimes, when I had to run inland, I would cherish returning to the ocean and I’d really miss it whilst inland.
I have run about 1000 miles of the Appalachian trail (AT) in the USA and the SWCP could not be more different. For one, the AT is also known as the green tunnel, as you’re surrounded by trees. But the South West Coast Path is wide open.
Highs and lows
There were so many highlights.
Once I saw a meteoroid that had entered the earth’s atmosphere and it was burning up. It’s similar to a shooting star but much slower. I was able to count to 5 seconds, which was astounding.
I’m a big nature lover and saw seals in the ocean. They are so cute and look like labradors without ears! I also saw wild goats in an area called the valley of rocks. One night, I was running and heard the hissing of what I believe was an Adder snake to my right as I passed some rocks.
The lows came and went. It was a roller coaster of emotions. One day, I found myself burst into tears because a group of 12 men were practising singing old fisherman songs in a front garden that I passed.
One time, two girls joked with me that they wished they had muscles in their legs like mine to get them up the hills… so I started crying tears of happiness.
The first four days, the sun was out, without the shade of clouds. I heard someone say that it was one of the hottest days ever recorded in September. From 11am till 4 pm each day, I just had to survive the heat, as there was no cover.
During my lows, I picked myself back up by keeping focused on my goal and just being patient. If I felt bad, I just said to myself…
“This time shall pass and I will not feel bad for the remainder of the journey”.
I focused on finishing and breaking the record. I would daydream about what I would treat myself with after the run and joked with people that I would wear a robe and slippers for 10 days after and just watch Netflix.
Fuelling the challenge
I knew how important it was to stay hydrated and on top of my calories. After about 3 days, I had burned all my glycogen reserves and had to rely on the food I ate, plus my fat reserves (which is now 6%).
I ate a combination of sweet and salty to keep my blood sugars up and my electrolytes in balance. One day I got it wrong by not eating enough salty foods and I paid by becoming freezing cold and shivering in the baking sun. Thankfully, an ice cream and bag of crisps brought me back around.
Each morning I would have porridge with an added banana and some Purition. Then, in the evening, to recover I took a big serving of Purition added to a camping meal. An odd combination, but it worked!
The food I ate included McDonald’s, Coke, ginger beer, v8 drink, crisps, energy bars, fish and chips, mushy peas, ice cream, chocolate bars, oranges, canned peaches, mangos, nuts, m+m’s, lemon cake, beef jerky, salami, cheese, fudge, sandwiches including chicken, fish and avocado, lots of pork scratchings, flapjacks and probably loads more stuff I forgot about!
I averaged about 4 hours 30 mins sleep each night, I ran an average of 60 miles per day. I ran through 11 sunrises and 10 sunsets. And on the last day, I ran over 100 miles with only a 30-minute power nap.
At the finish, I felt relieved. This is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done! I was hurting and my body had had enough by the finish. I think it was the fact that I ran over 100 miles in one push to get there.
If I would have had my 4 hours 30 mins sleep, I would probably have felt less tired. Now that it’s all over, I feel ecstatic… like a child with a new toy.
My record was worth every last piece of effort I put in and I’m proud!
South West Coast Fastest Known Time
|Kristian Morgan||10d 12h 6m||2020-09-23|
|Damian Hall||10d 15h 18m||2016-05-24|
|Mark Berry||11d 8h 15m||2015-05-28|
|Patrick Devine-Wright||14d 8h 2m||2015-04-23|
|Malcolm Law||16d 9h 57m||2012-07-03|
But there’s no slowing down for Kristian. Soon, he’ll be back training for his next adventure — the Appalachian Trail in the USA, in 2021.
This next ultra challenge will see Kristian attempt 2,189 miles, covering 14 American States, in less than the current FKT of 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. That’s the equivalent of running 2 marathons per day for 41 days straight!
You can follow Kristian’s progress and support his funding over on his GoFundMe page. And if you fancy giving ultra running a go for yourself, Kristian offers online run coaching, where he’ll help to coach you towards your first 50k, 100 miler and beyond.
All of the Team at Purition would like to say a huge congratulations to Kristian. We wish him the very best of luck in his challenge!
Purition: Nutrition for Ultra Runners
When it comes to ultramarathon running, nutrition is paramount. Getting it right, especially when you’re on the road, can be challenging. That’s where Purition comes in.
“As an ultra-endurance athlete, I need to consume about the same amount of protein as a bodybuilder. That’s about twice the amount as a sedentary person. I use Purition in addition to my meals, to give me a nice combination of healthy fats and a big bang of protein. With the help of Purition, I reach my protein goal for the day.
The fact that Purition is low carb makes it easy to allow my body to use fat as fuel. When running for such long distances, it’s impossible to consume as many calories as I burn. At some point, the energy I use during running will come from my body fat storage. By using Purition regularly, I’m training my body to use my fat stores as fuel, whilst repairing muscle from the protein and supporting cell growth with the natural fats in Purition.“Kristian Ultra
While there’s no one-size-fits-all nutrition plan for ultra runners, we’re certain that Purition can help you to achieve your race day goals. Purition is real food in the convenience of a powder which can be made into a protein shake, added to porridge and yoghurt or, during ultra runs, quickly mashed into a banana or mixed into meals for added nutritional density — a la Kristian!
Made with natural whole foods, each serving offers a good dose of protein, natural fats for energy and a shedload of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Purition will keep your body fuelled and nourished, help to rebuild tissues and aid your recovery after endurance activities.
We have a limited number of free Purition Discovery Boxes to send out to ultra runners. Try it out for 6 days, see how great Purition makes you feel… and maybe we can fuel your next challenge! To get yours, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which flavours you’d like to try.