Chef Karl sizzles round the Orme to set new Welsh solo record

Karl Morris – King of the Mountain. All photos by Steve Bozier

Ultra-marathon athlete Karl Morris set an incredible new Welsh solo running record last Sunday after completing ten gruelling laps of Marine Drive, and around the Great Orme.

Karl, who is normally the head chef at Llandudno’s Cottage Loaf pub, set a sizzling pace throughout his remarkable endurance challenge, and ran the 50-mile plus undulating course in just 10 hrs 12 mins and 20 secs.

Temporarily furloughed from his job due to the coronavirus lockdown, he has utilised his unexpected free time to train for the Snowdon 100-miler, which is still scheduled for later this year.

On the downward leg

Karl however, wanted to add some spice to his latest training menu, and was seeking a new course that could test both his mental and physical skills to the limit.

After checking important local sporting records, he discovered that a previous athlete had once run four consecutive laps of the Orme, and to his knowledge, this effort had never been beaten.

This was a course he already knew very well, so he quickly set about planning an attack to make his own mark in history.

He explained: “I couldn’t find anyone who had run more than four laps of the Orme, so I set myself a target of ten laps. Thanks to the furlough, I have had plenty of time to train, and with this week’s good weather decided to have a go.

Karl originally planned to run on the D-Day commemoration date of June 6th but as he commented, the weather was “garbage,” but on Sunday, and with the road around the Orme closed, he gave himself a green light to try his luck again.

Cheers – a well deserved drink after the finish

He confirmed: ‘The longest race I had ever previously done was the Eryri-50 Ultra-marathon in 2016, but sadly that race no longer exists.

“I have used a lot of my recent spare time to train hard, and with no one being quite sure whether anyone else had ever run more than four laps, I decided to set a marker for ten.

“Weather-wise the conditions were near perfect. It was dull in the morning but it cleared up in the afternoon and was quite warm. I set up my car up as a check-point close to St David’s Hospice, so that I could fuel-up every few laps, and have a breather.

“I have also followed a strict vegan diet since Christmas, so all my top-ups were vegan.

“I did the challenge on my own and with no support until the last lap when my friend and club colleague Steven Bozier, and my twin brother Luke tagged along with me.”

Karl, 39, began his quest at 5.52am, and eventually finished some 12 hours later, establishing a tremendous running time of 10-12-20, completing ten continuous laps and recording a total of 53.73 miles, at an average pace of 11.24 min miles, and with an elevation of 6,414 ft.

Asked how he felt immediately after the event, Karl said: “I’m feeling well but a little bashed up, but I’ll be fine by the end of the week. I would like to thank everyone I have seen offering support, and for my friends tagging along on the last lap.

He then added with a smile: “Please don’t anyone go and better it just yet. I don’t fancy doing it again anytime soon.

His wife and fellow club runner Rachel, was understandably proud of his achievement, and added: “He is very tired now, but he parked up on Abbey Road, so each time he ran around he ate, had gels, and he drank too. No one has ever done what he did. It’s a record for the most times run in one go.”

His performance was also captured for all to witness on the sporting app Strava, and confirmed his solo effort to be a prestigious new Welsh solo record, that hopefully will survive for many years, and is unlikely ever to be beaten.

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