Will Renwick of Llancarfan, Wales, may be a writer by trade, but he’s a compassionate and driven ultrarunner to the core. On September 10, Renwick began a grueling and expansive journey. His goal? To run 500 miles and top 189 peaks — without any additional support — in just 3.5 weeks.
On October 4, Renwick arrived at his final post in northern Wales within just a few hours of his projected target. To meet his goal, he averaged 25 miles per day and traversed every mountain in his path that stood at 2,000 feet or taller. He camped primitively, endured temperatures below freezing, kept going through dreary and slick conditions, and completed his journey with nothing more than the supplies on his back and a pint or two of lager.
In an interview with iRunFar, Renwick described the journey, “I was running from sunrise to beyond sunset, as far as the landscape and weather would allow me. Some days when it was easier, I’d do 30-plus [miles]. Some days, in higher density mountains, I’d only cover about 20 to 21 but it felt like 30 because of the terrain…. By the end, I really wanted to make up the mileage. I think you’d call it finish line fever? So I was putting in big days. That meant running way beyond sunset, which could be really atrocious because of the weather,” said Renwick.
Renwick further described his adventure, saying, “Running in the dark high up on craggy mountains, in blowing [sleet]. My head torch wouldn’t light the way — just illuminate the mist. My feet were slipping all over the place on rocks. On the last night, I climbed into my tent soaking wet after hours of that kind of running. The wind was battering the tent, and I just kinda’ sat there in all my damp stuff. I didn’t even get into my sleeping bag. I thought, I can’t do another night of this.”
But his commitment to raise funds for a mental health charity, Mind Over Mountains, buoyed the Welsh runner through the final miles of his journey. “They’re [a] small [organization] and very young, but they do incredible things,” Renwick remarked. “I know from past experience, and observing what they do, that they’re not just changing lives, they’re saving lives.”