Following on from Carla Molinaro’s recent women’s record, GB 24hr runner Lawson will take to Britain’s A-roads this week.
The roughly 820 mile from Land’s End at the southern most tip of England, to John O’Groats, at the top of Scotland, is one of the UK’s toughest records.
The women’s record has been hotly contested in recent years. In 2019 Sharon Gayter retained the record from Mimi Anderson when she ran 12 days, 11 hours and 6 minutes. This July GB 100k international Molinaro set off from the famous Land’s End signpost and arrived at the finish in 12 days and 30 minutes.
Keeping a strong and steady pace from the start, Molinaro showed real grit and determination when the weather turned up north. For those “dot-watching” or following on Instagram there were plenty of highs and lows, but the weather was a real test in Scotland.
When Lawson starts it might be a different meteorological challenge, a heat wave. The often topless ultra runner, who has been known to skirt up sand dunes like a lizard, might imagine it is a blessing. But all effort will have to be tempered in the heat, but more night running could be the answer.
The last attempt
Back in 2018 Lawson made a significant effort towards Andi Rivett’s nine day record, but ultimately came unstuck in the south west when the mega mileage caught up with him. This time round the focus won’t be on the questionable mark from Rivett, but the previous 10 day record of Richard Brown.
Last year Will Cockerell investigated the contentious record set back in 2002 by Andi Rivett, who performed well below this standard before and after. It is, alone, his only world class performance in a career of pretty average ultra running. The proof made possible by GPS units and trackers was simply not around in 2002.
So Lawson is targeting Brown’s record of 10 days and 2 hours, although he has suggested that if Rivett’s mark is at all achievable when in Scotland then he would be tempted to go through some sleepless nights. We’ll see how the crew feel about that.
It was targeting this seemingly impossible mark from the start last time that potentially caused Lawson’s implosion. 9-10 extra miles per day might not seem much, but it’s 80-90 minutes eating into sleep, recovery and eating time. There isn’t enough time in the day when you start slowing down too much.
Starting at 5:00am on Thursday 6th August from Land’s End, the team will work their way up the country and Fast Running will be on hand to keep you updated. Well, I’ll be there helping Dan to perform to his best and can hopefully get the odd tweet and update out, but the previous sounded like we’d be in a helicopter following along.
For anyone wishing to dot-watch this fantastic record attempt then check out the tracking on the link here: We might even be able to do some British Ultra Running Podcasts on the road, as long as you’re willing to be lenient with sound quality.
The first night should finish around Okehampton, then up towards Bristol, Ludlow, Warrington, the Lake District and beyond. If you would like to come support then please be wary of local guidelines, appreciate that the whole crew if focused on Dan’s run and organise your own transport back to the start of your run.
Dave Macfarlane, who filmed Dan and I running across Jordan last year, will be on hand to try and catch the highs, but mainly the lows of such an epic journey. Fingers crossed Dan’s face doesn’t swell up just as much as last time.
Whereas many might try raise money for charity during such an incredible run, Lawson has never been a normal person. With his wife Charlotte Jalley, he runs ReRun Clothing, who try and make runners think about their consumerism in sport.
So for the 10 days of LeJOG Dan isn’t asking people to donate money, but to stop spending. Constantly we are told we need to spend to boost the economy, buy new trainers when our old ones are fine and just keep purchasing shit we don’t need. We all do it, I’m guilty too.
The challenge for this next 10 days is to stop shopping. Don’t buy new trainers online, think about what you already have and if you really do need that new purchase. Dan will be running the LeJOG entirely in second hand kit from ReRun and he’s asking you to just take a similar consideration.
It’s important to remember we don’t need to change the world with our actions, just change our world a little bit. You might think that it’s just a drop in the ocean if you change your own habits a little bit, but we can influence others and each small difference adds up.
Litter picking record breakers
Take Damo Hall’s focus on litter picking within his recent Pennine Way Record Attempt. Hall doesn’t think he’s cleared the whole path, but he’s making an effort, setting a good example and if we can all make a small difference in our own environment, then it can make a difference.
As we travel up the country we’ll be following Hall’s lead and trying to collect some litter from lay-bys, road sides and trails too.
It’s likely the record attempt might have a bigger carbon footprint than just staying at home, but being environmentally minded doesn’t mean you have to step out of society and live on a carbon-neutral collective in the woods.
Here’s to giving it your best
It wouldn’t be melodramatic to say that the 2018 JOGLE attempt nearly broke Dan. Many have said it’s just not possible to get back out there and really do it justice on the route, but the character of the man is that he couldn’t forget the record.
Dan Lawson has won epic adventures such as the Gobi Desert 400k and been European 24hr Champion, but this might still be his biggest task yet.
Yet if you don’t attempt those challenges that scare you then are you really ever going to discover your best. I’ll be cheering Dan on from the side of the road and if you can support, online, on the road side or by sharing some miles (or just by stopping shopping) then every little helps.
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