Offas dyke

has anyone done this national trail. just wondering as it s something i`d love to do at some point in the not to distant future.


  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    I know someone who attempted it but didn't make it (due to shit weather and injury I think) - forumite called Daz - he posts on RW forums occasionally (check out the Beacons Ultra thread as he came 2nd last year in that). you'll also find him on Tritalk forums under the same name - he posts there a lot more.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Hi FB, you down South Cerney tomorrow?

    Hi Andy, I had a crazy go at running the whole length non-stop at end of 09 season I think.  No spec ultra-running experience over 30miles, but had built up some good muscular endurance for ironman and double ironman racing and love the outdoors (running).  It was an amazing experience and I'd love to go back and do it again, perhaps over 2-3 days with a bivvy.

    Are you running, breaking it up?

    This was a little webpage I knocked up.  I ran alone (with options of crew to meet or join me the following day - partic when it got dark on day 2 and I was worried about navigation and health) with a small backpack of just nutrition and warmer clothing.  Pace was ok during the day - 8:00/M on the move with occasional walks to eat and drink.  The navigation (a few errors at night) and lunch breaks slowed the pace right down (a bit more than I'd planned) so was on catch-up.

    I did it in inov8 roclites.  A good choice as had plenty of grip but also a little cushioning for a few road sections.  If I did it again and it was completely dry then I'd use trainers with good stability and cushioning because there were a few road sections that took it out of my legs.  In fact this was partly the reason my right knee popped going downhill around midnight.  Had to hike through the night and then wait it out in back of a baptist church/toilet til it was light enough to get a lift to my folks.

    Great experience.  Oh there are a couple of churches open 24/7 with food and tea/coffee making facilities.  I stopped at the one in Newtown (I think) and had a nice break while chatting to a local (11pm!).  Apparently other hikers had kipped in the church at night before - all welcome.  Some history there - I think the King visited at night once and its stayed open ever since.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Thank i was actually doing t as an Experiment/challenge jus to see f it can be done that is to run the whole 182miles in one go. i`m currently in training for it. although i havent got a specified attempt date yet. i did a 30mile training run 2 weeks ago @ 8:34 mile pace -4hrs 17mins. an felt good at the end. my first ultra is in september which is the highpeak 40 then i`ll be looking for a 100k run then a 100miler. with the idea being if the 100miler is succesfully done sub24hours then i`ll attempt the OD path then. but yes i plan on run walking with a 5-1 ratio as this has worked a treat in the past on long runs.

    if i can get some support that would be great because i dont fancy carrying 182 miles of food an drink. although i would carry a survival bag incase a sleep was reqiured at some stage. also a compaion would be pretty awesome.

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Would be handy to recce the sections you anticipate doing at night.  I made a few errors which didnt help....although made it a lot more exciting.  Also do on a full moon for one of the nights will help. 

    It's not an easy route and the hills can be sharp in places.  Also of course the pace will take a dive with all the stiles, gates etc so 12:00/m would be very good up to Hay as a benchmark.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  •  i have read that the clywds are the toughest part of the whole route, i did run them at night a couple of times in the past, so not to bad there. in light i`ve run Moel fammau an surrounding hills hundreds of times, so to be honest even a map would be useless on that 8mile section image

    although to be fair i do need to get a good map bcause i have only reccyed about 40mle of the path. Bodari - llangolen. i`m looking at getting one of those harvey maps because they do an Offas dyke north and an Offas Dyke South which surely would be better than carrying about 7or 8 different OSmaps.12:00 min mile pace would very good to be fair.

    when i did my 30miler @8.34mile pace it was hillier than the offas dyke path but it was only for 30miles an not 176miles ha ha. so after the hundred miler assuming thats succesfull i`ll probably base my pace of that.

    i think the next obstacle actually is going to finding out what other foods can be eaten on the move aswell.

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭


    I used the Harvey Xt map for my stint.  Very durable and managed to get through some serious rain on the Black mountains as well as sweaty hands through the day and plenty of folding.  Quality maps!

    For nutrition - think about cal:weight ratio. Have a look through the supermarket shelves for food that carries lots of cals for its weight and grab a few pkts of those.  You'll probably find high butter chocolate biscuits packs a punch, but some flapjacks are big hitters too.  You can occasionally sncak on these as you go to get some decent cals on board.  Also take some gels (pref put in a gel bottle topped up with a little water) that will provide quick release energy without any fat opr protein sitting in the stomach.  Great for the hills when you don't want the body stressing over the contents of the stomach when blood needs to go to the large leg muscles.

    A slab of marzepan contains 2000cals.  If you like the stuff then chop into into 6 pieces and each piece will keep you topped up every hr.  Kendal mintcake can be good in the early hrs or later in the race as it has a nice sharp minty taste.

    Apart from that just buy as you go from the shops around the times you'd normally have main meals.  And always have a load of electrolyte tablets to pop into bottles of water. 

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • cheers  Daz for that ican apply that advce to pretty much all my long runs image

    i`ll let you know how i get on after the 100mile thames path race. image

  • Hi Guys,

    I did the southern half of Offa's (Chepstow to Knighton) three weeks ago. Totally loved it! The different errain you see from hour to hour is just amazing.

    I ran with my mother and we booked through a company that specialises in walking holidays so we had luggage transfers etc. It took us five days and mileage ranging from 20-14 miles a day, including scaling a mountain on day three!

    We took it easy and walked most of the steep hills - it wasn't a race for us just about the enjoyment of a bit of off road running.

    The maps and guide book can b e hard to read and we got lost several times (nothing major only 1 mile or so out of the way) and you do feel totally isolated from all humanity at times! There are some lovely villages and even random chruches open for OD walker/runners with refreshments in!

     Hope you enjoy it! We are thinking of plodding around the northern section next year!

  • Hi hollie. Sounds like a good adventure you had there. I'd be doing it for a different set of reasons, (not competitive) but would try to do it a one run if I did do it but I guess we'll see I'm still coming back from from injury at the moment (longest run being 12.17 mile in 75 mins. So theres a long way to go yet but I'm doing the TP100 in march so all being well next year it should be on. I'd so love to be the first man to run it all in one hit.
  • Hi Andy

    You will love the run. I salute you for doing it in one go! Ive just been brave and entered my first proper Ultra (the Woldsman) but i am still in awe of other ultra runners!

  • The wolds man, where is that then an what distance is it, am sure it'll be be awesome though.
  • Hi Andy

    The Woldman is in Yorkshire and is a 50 miler. Its run by the Long Distance Walkers Association and you get 24 hours to complete it. Very nervous about such a huge mileage but i am looking forward to the challenge!

  • Hi Hollie
    That'll be good that ultra fair play. An in yorkshire as well, so you got really nice scenery while your at it image
    Whens that happening then? When I started training for my ultra I never went over 50 km in training or in english 31 miles, although I got an injury after about the fifth long run I actually found that once I got passed about 25 miles I really felt like I was just getting into it, 31 miles generally took me about 4 hrs 15 ish. You don't ready need to go an do race distance in training. My ultra is in march though so I got ages yet to get "fit enough". image to be honest I found in training that if you want to go further thats 90% of the battle out the way straight off. You'll be fine as long a you eat and drink enough. image
  • Hi Andy

    Think the Woldsman is next April, so i have given myself plenty of time to train.

    To be honest i am not really planning on training runs over 30 miles, i figure if i can get a comfy with 30 miles then the rest is just mind over matter on the day (correct me if im wrong!, im no expert!)

    I am nervous about it but in my head i have broken it down into manageable sections so i just have something small to conventrate on, if i countdown from 50 to 1 i think i would go mad!

    Any tips or tricks you can let me in on? 

  • To be honest I was taking the same approach really on that I just got myself comfy with 50k which is 31 miles, at the end of the day though running 30 miles rather than 31 miles makes no you say if you get to 30 its just mind over matter.if your fit enough to do 30 mile without running your self into the ground then its just whether you want it or not.
    I found when I was doing my 30 mile runs when I was finishing them I was feeling tired after the first then okay after the second an by the last one I felt like i'd just had a normal training run of 8 mile out something.
    Tips & tricks.
    Er thinking.......thinking..........thinking.....oh yeah some food you actually like after 5 hours is very important so you don't hit the great wall of china.
    some hydration tablets are a must as well I use "nuun"or "hammer"although it makes no difference really as long a you are able to keep sipping away at it throughout,
    When your training though you will need to practice eating/drinking on the move running or not.
    Another thing as well is since pretty much no body runs the whole way of an ultra you will need some sort of plan maybe walk uphill-run downhill or a more common one its to use the 5:1 method where you run 5 mins: walk 1 min this strategy I used an it really does keep you in a good state.
    hope this its a bit of use.
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