Vegan runner Mike Coppock has smashed a record after an unbelievable run in the Pyrenees.
The self supported run saw him cover 750 km with 40,000 metres of height gain. Completing it in 12 days 4hours and 41 minutes he took 42 hours off the previous Fastest Known Time (FKT). That’s 39 miles and 3000 metres ascent every day.
He faced glacial cirques, boulder fields and scree slopes with large parts of the route unpathed. Very little is marked in any way and good navigation skills become essential in bad weather. Mike took food for up to four days, restocking at villages.
The weather was unusually hostile for September, and he faced thunderstorms, rain, snow, and ice.
“Because I was travelling so light, with a bag base weight of around 4kg, my equipment was on the limit of its functionality” Mike says. “Freezing temperatures and wind usually woke me up around 3am so sleep was difficult from day one.”
The final push to finish culminated in a 135km non-stop effort over Canigó (2784m). Then on to the coast with around 4000m of total ascent.
“It was an amazing feeling to reach the beach with nothing left and know that I had given everything to the trail. Especially after the last few hours getting lost in the mist and being buffeted by strong winds.”
Mike turned vegan in March 2020.
“I’d been vegetarian for about a year and a half before that, primarily to see if there was a difference in sporting performance with my running” Mike told Great Vegan Athletes. “However, I started to question vegetarianism and how ethical it really was when I realised that so many products have milk or eggs in them, something I was trying to give up at the time. From there I researched the meat, milk and egg industry and went vegan pretty much overnight because I didn’t want to fund any more animal cruelty and suffering.”
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made and I really feel like I see the world differently now! It also has the added benefit of being pretty much the best thing I can do for the environment. Being someone who spends all their time in the outdoors, I feel strongly about doing what I can to reduce the impact of climate change.”
Mike did find some difficulties in getting enough calories from limited options in small villages.
“But I would attribute my day to day recovery to veganism, which is such an important factor when running for 12/15 hours a day for multiple days.”