Image by Mark Boyd
A few years ago I was invited by the Isle of Man tourist board to run around their entire island via the beautiful coastal trail called the Raad ny Foillan – ‘the Way of the Gull’.
They gave me three days to run the 100-mile path. This seemed a little unfair – and terrifying. I was fit at the time, but any running I did was always aimless. I never measured my distances or timed myself, I simply just ran, and this meant I didn’t really know where my limit was. It could for all I knew be at 15 miles.
So when I set out early in the morning from the fishing village of Laxey, I had no idea what lay ahead of me.
As you might be able to tell in the video below, the Isle of Man has some spectacular scenery. The place is like a microcosm of the UK, with Victorian seaside towns, areas of high moorland that reminded me of parts of Scotland or Northern Ireland, a coastline similar to Pembrokeshire’s and a number of Cornwall-esque fishing villages.
The path itself is a stunner, taking you for miles and miles along narrow clifftops and on relatively little concrete. There are some steep climbs but the hardest bit is actually the flat section – you basically have to run a marathon on a long, long beach.
What really impressed me about the Raad by Foillan was how well it had been signposted and maintained. I barely needed to check my map at all, so my mind was free to concentrate on blocking out the pain in my knee.
Watch the video below to find out if I could actually complete this ridiculous task I had agreed to.