Five days in – I think I’m approaching the point when my legs are not feeling any worse today than they were yesterday so…getting quite stable.
To me, a multi-day running is the simplest form of living. There’s actually very little thinking involved. Wake up – eat – run through the day – eat – sleep – repeat. Simple. The longer it you keep doing it, the less energy you have for thinking anyway. It all comes down to very primitive basics. I find it quite meditative.
It had been a good while since my last proper multi-day run, and I was in no way in proper long-distance running form in the middle of winter. Long distance running is about training your mind, they say so I placed my bets on mind side of things, as physically, this sounded like a rally bad plan.
Rota Vicentina (Fishermen’s Trail) is a 226km hiking trail following Portugal’s western coast. It’s split to 13 stages between the coastal villages. I only had 7 days to spare so I needed to both rush a bit (hence the running) and cut it a tiny bit short by starting from Porto Covo and finishing in Sagres after visiting the southwestern tip of continental Europe, Capo de San Vicente.
Logistics-wise, I wanted to keep it simple by running with a backpack loaded with everything I might need over the seven days of running. To keep my setup light enough, I planned to sleep in villages along the way and load myself with huge breakfasts before heading out to the trail.
Planning and arranging such a run can be a pain in itself. Logistics of getting to – and from the trail, sorting out accommodation, navigating on the trail, and the overall judgement of what is and isn’t possible. Just sorting out reasonable daily mileage for a multi-day run going up and down coastal cliffs and crossing sandy beaches is a headache I wanted to avoid. That’s where my old contact in Portugal stepped in.
I got to know Antonio from Portugal Nature Trails years ago when visiting Sintra National Park next to Lisbon for a weekend of mountain biking. I ended up really liking the area and came back with my family shortly after. Antonio helped me organise both trips, equipping me with a formidable mountain bike and more gpx files for trails to ride than I could manage over my stays around Sintra.
As soon as I reached out to Antonio, he and his team quickly stepped in and took over the logistics. Before I knew it, I had a clear plan on the overall run laid out in front of me, including daily trail descriptions, places to stay, recommended restaurants in each village, and gpx files to follow. I downloaded the trails to my watch and was all set!
Through the run, I enjoyed constant sunshine, quiet beaches, picturesque coastal cliffs, a lot of solitude, and a bit of chafing.
But I guess the video linked above describes it all better – so…enjoy!