Over the weekend, I reported that Paul Tierney was well over half way through his attempt to break Steve Birkinshaw’s 214-Peak Wainwright Record. Well, I am extremely happy to say that Paul has indeed broken the record by almost 7 hours. If anyone has seen Steve’s film which followed his then record setting run in 2014, you’ll be aware of physical and mental toll it took on him, and more over, the will power it took to fight an ever rising level of fatigue.
We have yet to see some of the many images and short videos that will surface from the fells, which will link together to form a story that at this very moment I doubt Paul’s mind is capable of recalling. Such is the magnitude of the physical and mental endeavour he has undertaken, there are only a select few individuals capable of completing such tasks in such rapid times.
One person who has already shared his respect and admiration is Kilian Jornet.
To put Paul’s achievement into persecutive, here are some of the statistics that made up 6 days and 6 hours of movement in the Lakeland fells.
- 318 miles
- 36,000 meters of elevation gain – the equivalent of 4 times up & down Everest
- 214 peaks
- Total Time – 6 Days 6 Hours 5 Minutes
How close was he to making a finishing time, that would represent the thoughts of the average person in the street, if they were to be asked who they thought up the challenge – the Devil / 666.
Paul beat the previous record, set by Steve Birkinshaw in 2014, by almost 7 hours. Steve has already composed a blog of his thoughts and experiences of Paul’s achievement HERE, it should be noted, Steve was present at multiple times throughout Paul’s attempt.
Paul 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.
Paul said: “The hardest bit was definitely the lack of sleep. 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, who used inov-8 kit – including new graphene-grip shoes – during the attempt, 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 just under £28,000 for the charity MIND, UK. Donations can be made via Paul’s Justgiving page.
Lee Procter, inov-8 Global Communications & Ambassadors Manager, added: “What Paul achieved is truly staggering. He got to grips with one of the toughest ultra-running challenges imaginable and absolutely crushed it. To put it into perspective, he ran 12 back-to-back marathons over the England’s most gnarly mountain terrain in less than a week.”
I want to extend my own personal congratulations to Paul for what he has achieved and in doing so, raising awareness and funds for mental health.