At 6.52am this morning, ultra-athlete Sabrina Verjee arrived back in Great Langdale having completed a continuous round of the Wainwrights in record-breaking time.
She finished this infamous Lake District challenge in just 5 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes, surpassing the previous record of 6 days, 6 hours and 5 mins held by Paul Tierney. That’s a whopping 6 hours cut off from the previous record.
This was her third go at the Wainwrights round, having first completed it last summer in 6 days, 17 hours and 51 minutes (the first ever woman to finish it). In May of this year, however, Sabrina returned once more but had to stop due to unfortunate weather conditions and problems with asthma.
After some well-deserved rest and recuperation, Sabrina set off once again last Friday morning. Traversing the 214 Wainwrights, 318 miles and a 36,000m ascent.
The first recorded continuous round of the Wainwrights, a list of fells chosen by Lake District writer Alfred Wainwright for his famous series of guidebooks, was completed by Alan Heaton in 1985, in 9 days and 16 hours. Two years later, fell running legend Joss Naylor set a new record of 7 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes. That stood for 27 years, until Steve Birkinshaw knocked almost 12 hours off the time in 2014, when he completed his run in 6 days and 13 hours. In the summer of 2019, Paul Tierney, from Windermere, lowered the record 6 days and 6 hours.
Speaking after her round, Sabrina said: “I am very tired and very happy. This time, my body held out better than I expected and I was able to maintain a good pace throughout. The Wainwrights have become an obsession and I felt that I could and should complete a round in under six days, so I am over the moon to have proved myself right.
“Once again, I had a big support group and they have all been absolutely amazing. I could not have done this without them – it was a fantastic team effort. More than anything, it has been brilliant to spend even more time out on the glorious Lakeland fells in the company of good friends. And if what I have done inspires more people – especially girls and women – to get out there and challenge themselves, then that’s an added bonus.”