Sidmouth Running Club’s Mark Andow has completed the The Arc of Attrition 50, a point-to-point extreme coastal race taking in the stunning and dramatic Cornish coast path.

Mark was on the cancellation list for this popular event organised by The Mud Crew and sponsored by Sportivia, so when the call came offering him a place, he only had a few days to decide whether to accept. Luckily, he was prepared having completed the Dartmoor 100 in November and running the longer Sunday club runs.

The amazing start involved running up from the stage of the Minack Theatre out on to the South West Coast Path to then follow the hardest first 25 miles he’s ever had to run, walk, climb and scramble over.

The race had strict cut-offs, which meant 25 % of the field of runners did not finish and there was only one official checkpoint 25 miles in at St Ives. The Mighty Green found the second 25 miles misleading, as after long stretches of relative flatness, there would be huge descents and ascents up steep steps, very taxing on the legs.

Although a way-marked route, there were parts that were challenging to navigate, particularly through the ‘Dunes of Doom, at night. Competitors needed the ability to be self-sufficient for long periods of time and Mark was really blessed by having the ‘crew support’ from his friend Richard. who drove down the night before in his camper van.

Richard met Mark repeatedly for food, fluids and encouragement. The MG said Richard being there made a real difference and was glad he was able to fit in a sea swim and get joined by a seal who swam with him. Without people like Richard and the scores of volunteers called the ‘Flying Angels’. this kind of extreme ultras could not be safely attempted, so our gratitude goes out them.

There were potentially challenging winter conditions, but luck held and the daytime was ideal for January, with it being not too cold, blue skies with some sunshine, although there were occasional light drizzles after the sun set. This helped Mark maintain a constant effort, if not speed, as the terrain was so varied. The MG was able to stay ahead of the cut-offs and eventually finished in 13.5hours!