From Land’s Endto John O’Groats

Carla Molinaro’s world record in her own words

On 28 July 2020, UK ultra-runner Carla Molinaro successfully completed the final leg of her epic world record attempt running the length of Great Britain. In a monumental feat of human endurance, Carla took a huge 10 hours off the previous record. She ran the 874-mile distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 12 days, 30 minutes and 14 seconds.

Here is Carla’s story in her own words.

“During the whole run it felt like I was constantly fighting fires with my body in order to keep moving forward. The first few days my quads were smashed up from the hills in Devon and Cornwall, then my calves decided to turn to rocks. Then my left leg went into a world of pain! The pain started in my ankle, then went to my hamstring and then to my quads. Luckily, I only had to battle with my quad for a day as I then reach the finish line in John O’Groats. I still find it fascinating that we put our bodies through this torture for “fun” and just as fast as the pain arrives it disappears to a distant memory! I’ve had a lot of questions about my feet and how they dealt with running so far! Bar the blisters that I got under my toenails, which was from my feet swelling (more on that later), I didn’t get any other blisters or rubbing. I think this is pretty incredible because I’m normally a blister Queen!”

“Here’s what I did! I used HOKA Clifton 7 (normal fit) for the first two days and then when my feet swelled, I moved to the wide fit of the Clifton 7 and didn’t have a single issue! These shoes are bloody awesome and super comfy! I also lubed up my feet with Squirrels Nut Butter Happie Toes which stopped any rubbing between my toes! It’s seriously magic! After the first couple of days my feet started to swell. We knew this would happen and we had extra wide Clifton 7 to swap to thanks to HOKA! The swelling happened quite quickly and although I didn’t get any blisters on my feet (I still find this amazing!), I did get them under three toenails! Andy, our doctor, recommended that I use a needle/drill to get through the nail and burst the blister underneath. At first, I thought he was mental, but the pressure was getting too much so eventually thought I would give it a bash. As soon as I got through the nail and burst the blister it felt amazing! The joys of ultra-running!”

“My favourite part of the route has to be running up and over The Pentlands! There were no cars, we were on the trails and it was the first time since day one that I felt like a runner again! The ground was soft and squishy which made me realise how hard the roads were and I felt like I was bouncing along on marshmallows! Oh, and the views were incredible, from the highest point I could see Arthur’s Seat and the three bridges and at last it felt like I was finally in Scotland and a little bit closer to John O’Groats! Thank you to everyone that came and ran with me, shook their tambourines at the sides of the road, jumped out of bushes to say hi, let the awesome team go into their houses to do washing and refill water and everyone that filled out our Guinness witness book and that sent pics in! You are all amazing and showed me just how nice people are! Every single one of you brightened up my day and filled me with joy!”