First person to run up and down all of Wales' 189 mountains says it's 'time for a rest'

Credit: @WillWalksWales/Twitter

A man from the Vale of Glamorgan has become the first person to run up and down all of Wales' 189 mountains.

Will Renwick from Llancarfan completed the 500 mile challenge in three weeks, whilst carrying all his camping equipment and supplies on his back.

The 31-year-old took on the mammoth task to raise money for the mental health charity Mind Over Mountains and has raised £12,000 for them so far.

Beginning the run in Swansea on September 10, Will ran around 24 miles a day and battled against harsh weather conditions and eventually finished in Conwy on October 4.

He says it was gruelling and pushed his body to the limit.

"The whole challenge took its toll on me right up until the bitter end. Even on the second day, I was thinking about giving up, my ankle was bust I had blisters all over my feet.

"Then to the very last day as well where I was racing to the finish, all my injuries flared up again, so I'm recovering and I think it's going to take a while."

Surprisingly, despite the level of endurance needed to do the run, Will does not consider himself to be a runner and says he took each day as it came.

"Let's just say I learnt on the job.

"I did a bit of training beforehand but I'm not a serious runner. I think that really showed when I first started out, the fact that I picked up all those problems on the second day."

Taking on mountain peaks of over 2,000 ft was not only tough on Will's body, but also put a strain on him mentally. He says it was the kindness of strangers that got him through.

"There was one incident where I was at a serious low and I was running out of supplies and it was in a very wild part of Wales.

"I'd run out of food, all my battery packs had run out and I was in a bit of a tricky situation and someone reached out on Instagram and said: 'It looks like you're coming past our farm. Knock on our door, there's a cup of coffee or tea if you need it'."

Will says he decided to take the farmer up on their offer of a caravan stay on their farmyard. He says they also gave him some soup and sent him off with a packed lunch for the next day.

"That moment really turned things around for me. You can't underestimate the power of things like that."

Will came up against all kinds of weather whilst undertaking the challenge. Credit: @WillWalksWales

And that kindness provided him with the mental strength to carry on and is just why Will was raising money from the challenge.

He had hoped to raise £2,000 for Mind Over Mountains on his JustGiving page but has smashed that target so far. The charity provides outdoor experiences for those with low self esteem and those going through difficult periods with their mental health.

On top of that Will says he shocked himself with how far he could push himself on the run.

"I was really surprised about my body and its ability to cope with such a demanding situation, especially its ability to heal itself on the go because I picked up that ankle injury right at the start and then a few days later I was running as if the injury had never happened."

He says for anyone now thinking of following in his footsteps, they should prepare with good training and consider doing the challenge in the warmer months unlike in autumn or winter.

For now though Will says he plans on having a good rest and taking the much needed time to recover.

Will shares his top mountain sights to see in Wales 1.  Y Garn, Rhinogydd

This was a tricky mountain to reach, with the route to the top meandering through ancient woodland, crossing over streams and traversing boulders. There's also Craig y Cae to negotiate, a rocky outcrop that, for want of a better word, wears the scars of the gold mining that once went on here. A fascinating place that I'd not heard of before.2. Moel Llyfnant

I've spent some time hiking in the Dolomites and this 751-metre mountain tucked behind the bulking mass of Arenig Fawr really reminded me of the mountains there due to the steep scree slope on its southern side. It was totally different to any other mountain I encountered throughout Snowdonia.

3. Drygarn Fawr

This mountain in Mid Wales took a lot of effort to reach as it's pretty much slap bang in the middle of the Elenydd, an area of moorland sometimes referred to as the 'Green Desert of Wales'. Mostly pathless, bog-coated and with a generally mystical or perhaps medieval atmosphere, a day here will wear out even the fittest of walkers or runners. 4. Radnor Forest

I hadn't climbed to the three summits here before so it was fun to explore new terrain. It's a beautiful area with whaleback hills and valleys filled with patchwork fields. From the highest point you can see right over Herefordshire and to the Malvern and Cotswold Hills and Pen y Fan and the Black Mountains loom on the horizon. 

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