Wow, the Shropshire Way 80k (SW80k) this year was challenging! A 50 mile run/walk through the beautiful Shropshire countryside was taken to a whole new level of toughness by the conditions we encountered.

Watch my film of SW80k on our YouTube channel.

Let’s start with the MUD, we had:

  • Sticky Mud – which glued our feet to the path
  • Slippy Mud – where we had to use all our strength and balance to just stay upright, moving forward was a bonus
  • Sloppy Mud – wading shin-deep in muddy puddles
  • Slurry Mud – when the smells emanating from the mud made me certain there were added “ingredients”
  • Streams of Mud – where a river of mud flowed down the path as I tried to climb up

The mud sapped my energy and strained my muscles, I felt like I’d done fifty miles after I’d completed the first ten!

Then there was the wind . . .

Climbing out of the valleys to the tops the wind whipped my breath and ability to speak away, knocking me sideways or causing me to bend at the waist to reduce my frontal area as I battled into it!

Finally the rain . . .

I spent most of the day celebrating that, while it might be muddy and windy, at least the sun was shining and the views were fabulous. But as I approached Clun, the storm clouds gathered, the heavens opened and the rain felt like needles straffing my face.


Other than the last ten miles (more of that in a moment) I had a fabulous day. As ever we were well looked after with great local food at the check points. The scenery was stunning and the wild weather actually added to the fun. It was lovely to see the wild ponies again on the Long Mynd and some lovely chats with fellow participants as I fell into step with them.

I was slower but enjoying myself and up till the rain started was confident about finishing. But then as the rain started the light also disappeared as the sun dropped behind the hills. Suddenly, I was forced to realise just how much slower I was than last year when I only had a couple of miles to complete in the dark. This year it was going to be over ten miles with a couple of challenging hills and what I knew was going to be some seriously challenging mud, a couple of fields had been bad last year this year my imagination started going into overdrive on just how bad it might be!

Could I finish?

Total honesty? At this point I was unsure of whether I had it in me to get to the end or whether I would have my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish)

As I supped my soup in the community hall at Clun, listening to the rain and seeing other participants arriving with slight “zombie like” appearance, I tried to lift my spirits and persuade myself to get back out and on it. The warm soup, supportive volunteers and the hot sweet cup of tea certainly helped but it was a group of participants who allowed me to join them for the journey to the finish that made the difference. Their companionship, support and encouragement as we battled the elements tramping up steep hills and through muddy fields kept me going and it was great to celebrate together as we headed into Craven Arms.

What a relief then the lights and town signs of Craven Arms appeared like a mirage in front of us, hugs and happiness as we cantered our way through the quiet streets and back to the welcome, warm embrace of the Discovery Centre. I had taken over 18hrs, almost 4hrs more than the previous year, the conditions had certainly taken their toll. But I’d finished, I had a certificate and a medal to prove it and new friends to celebrate with.

Buffet Breakfast enjoyed (yes breakfast at 2am in the morning!) with a few sweet cups of tea to wash it down, before I dragged my weary frame back outside to my tent pitched in the grounds of the Discovery Centre. I crawled into my sleeping back and was quickly sound asleep.

I’ll be back!

Then there’s the morning after, you would think after that experience, I would be saying “never again” but . . .  you know what, I’m already certain that I will be back on the start line in 2025, I’m just hoping that it will be third time lucky and that it will be a bit drier underfoot! Who’s joining me?

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