Bedford student completes new ‘coasteering’ challenge in just over 8 hours

Nina Clifton
Nina Clifton

A student from Renhold completed a gruelling new coastal swimming, running and cliff jumping race to raise funds for charity.

Nina Clifton, 26, completed the first ‘Man v Coast’ event in Cornwall after more than 8 hours of running.

Organised by UK firm Rat Race Adventure Sports, it saw hundreds of competitors making their way from St Michael’s Mount to Land’s End.

The distance of almost 25 miles - and 4,590ft of ascent - was covered by a mix of running on rocky trails, sea swimming and the sport of ‘coasteering’, which sees participants traversing the coastline through a mix of scrambling and jumping.

Full-time masters student Nina, who is studying in London, says she’s thrilled to have crossed the finish line in a time of 8 hours and 4 minutes, as it’s the furthest she’s ever run in her life.

She said: “When I first signed up for Man v Coast, my friends thought I’d gone mad. I didn’t really know what coasteering even was.

“The most I’d ever run before Man v Coast was 18 miles during a training run. So to cover almost 25 miles, while also completing all the swimming and coasteering challenges, pushed me to the absolute limit. It was very tough, but what stunning countryside to hold such a challenging event in.”

Nina trained for the event by taking long hikes in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales between her studies, and is now hoping to sign up for Rat Race’s Man v Mountain event, which takes place in Snowdonia in September. Nina was placed 378th out of 639 competitors.

By braving the pain barrier, Nina hoped to raise money and awareness for the charity Help Refugees.

Nina, whose masters thesis is about the plight of child refugees, said: “Many millions of people have been forcibly displaced due to conflict, violence, human rights violations, and fear of persecution.

“Unfortunately, the journey to safety is often dangerous and unforgiving. Many people are forced to live in overflowing camps, struggling with little or no personal possessions, less than adequate quantities of food, and risks of ill-health. This is where Help Refugees steps into the picture.

“Working to fill a huge gap in support, Help Refugees collaborate with effective local and grassroots groups across Europe and the Middle East to help those most in need. This may mean providing food, clothing, shelter, funding, and much more.

“Help Refugee’s iconic motto is ‘Choose Love’, and it’s imperative we come together and do just that.”

She added: “My grandpa is Polish, and had to flee Poland with his family in the Second World War.

“The world is so connected, through families, through friends, through trade. We’re all just like each other, and it’s so important to remember that.

“We all deserve dignity and hope, and to be treated with humanity and respect.”

Jim Mee, founder of Rat Race, congratulated Nina on finishing, adding: “We’re absolutely delighted that the inaugural Man v Coast event proved such a success.

“We were blessed with incredible, sunny weather.

“But it was the camaraderie of the competitors that really shone through on a day where everyone helped each other, particularly when it came to overcoming fears on some of the big cliff jumps.

“Everyone at Rat Race looks forward to returning to Lands’ End once more next year. “

Proceeds from all Rat Race events also go to Children With Cancer UK, and Rat Race has helped the charity raise more than £1m since 2015.

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