Paul Tierney has set an incredible new record time for summiting all 214 of Alfred Wainwright’s Lake District peaks in one go.
It took him 6 days and 5 hours and 5 minutes to complete the 318-mile challenge, which involves a mammoth 36,000m of elevation gain (the equivalent of four times up and down Mount Everest).
He beat the previous record, set by Steve Birkinshaw in 2014, by almost 7 hours. Paul, an athlete with fell running brand inov-8, battled sleep deprivation and all manner of weather conditions, before arriving to a hero’s welcome from a crowd of hundreds at the finish in Keswick.
“The hardest bit was definitely the lack of sleep,” said Paul.”I think I averaged just two hours of sleep in every 24 hours.
“The best bit was finishing. I was relieved to get to the end and that everything had worked out, because beforehand I was really stressed thinking about the things that could potentially go wrong.
“Seeing so many people in the street in Keswick cheering me on, then being up on the finish steps with my family and friends, having beaten the record, that was more than I could have hoped for.
“There were lows and times I thought I’m not sure if I can do this anymore, but I just kept pushing on. The awful Sunday night in the storm up on the fells around Fairfield, that is something I won’t forget.
“There were also lots of highs, like the Friday night over the Buttermere fells in great conditions and that last section from Newlands back to Keswick.
“Achieving the record wouldn’t have been possible without the brilliant support team I had. They literally did everything for me, so all I had to do was keep going!”
Paul followed a similar route to Steve, who spent months mapping out what he believed to be the quickest, continuous on-foot route over the 214 peaks that featured in Alfred Wainwright’s iconic seven-volume pictorial guide to the Lakeland fells.
The Irish-born running coach and ex-policeman slept, albeit briefly, in a van at road crossings, with groups of runners taking it in turns to pace and navigate him over different sections of the route.
The Windermere-based 36-year-old finished the challenge wearing the Ambleside Athletics Club vest of his friend and team-mate Chris Stirling, who passed away recently. Paul ran in memory of Chris and has so far raised £25,000 for the charity MIND, UK. Donations can be made via Paul’s Justgiving page.
Main image by Pete Aylward/inov-8.com