By Dan Stinton
If you ever needed to put graphene through its paces, then bagging a few Wainwrights wearing inov-8 Terraultra G 260’s may be the ideal test. By “a few” Wainwrights, I mean all 214 of them.
That’s what Paul Tierney, ultra runner and inov-8 ambassador will be doing this summer in a record-breaking attempt to summit all of the peaks featured in Alfred Wainwright’s seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells (1955-66).
The current record stands at 6 days 13 hours and 1 minute set by Steve Birkinshaw in 2014. He took the record from legendary fell runner Joss Naylor who completed the round in 1987 in a time of 7 days 1 hour and 25 minutes.
The 318-mile route (512km) starts and finishes in Keswick and includes 36,000m of ascent taking in the highest Wainwright (Scafell Pike 978m) and the lowest (Castle Crag 290m).
Showing the great spirit in the fell and ultra running community, Steve Birkinshaw has been helping Paul prepare for his attempt and may also run some sections with him. Steve said: “It’s nice to see someone giving it a go again. The nature of the fell running community means I have offered Paul any help I can with this attempt and will be out supporting him on his run to break my record”.
Photo credit: inov-8
Family and friends will be assisting him along the route with some navigational and pacing support over various sections of the challenge and he’ll be sleeping in a van at suitable points. Paul will also be following a similar route to Steve as clearly the quickest, most-efficient route will play a part in the record-attempt.
Paul has some serious ultra running credentials, winning the Lakeland 100 in 2015 and twice completing the Tor des Geants, a non-stop 205 mile/330km ultra-trail race covering an entire region, from the 4,000m Alp range through to the Gran Paradiso Natural Park and the Aosta Valley.
How does Paul feel about the challenge? He said “This will definitely be the hardest thing I’ve attempted given the increased distance (compared to Tor des Geants) and rougher underfoot conditions. The climbs – although not at altitude and not as long – are steeper in many places and the descents tend to take the quickest line, rather than switch-backing on a path. I am attracted to a challenge that might well be beyond me, but I really do like running in the hills… and this will definitely be an opportunity to overdose on that!”.
The run is currently planned to start on June 14th so training is including lots of hiking and long days running in the fells and identifying the best lines.
We’re all looking forward to seeing how this one pans out. Good luck Paul!
Paul will use inov-8 footwear, clothing and equipment throughout his challenge.