LAST June, Paul Tierney broke the record for running the Wainwrights, writes Kirsty Reade, editor of Run247.com.
It involved reaching 214 summits, with 318 miles of running and 36,000m of ascent, in 6 days and 6 hours. For most people a feat of this magnitude is quite hard to get your head around, but fortunately they made a film about it so that we can really appreciate what went into this challenge.
The first thing to appreciate is the scale of the planning operation. Mapping the most efficient route between 214 summits is an epic challenge in itself (though they had the blueprint of Steve Birkinshaw, the current record holder at the time, to work from). Add to that the logistical challenges of where and when Paul could rest and refuel when road crossings were few and far between and just planning the attempt took many months.
Paul was no stranger to extremely long endurance races involving minimal sleep, having completed Tor des Geants twice, so he felt confident that he could give the record a good go. The film follows him as sets off from the Moot Hall in Keswick and heads out on his six-day adventure, through good weather and bad (imagine being on Fairfield in the middle of the night in howling wind and rain). We meet a lot of his support crew and the runners who come to join him – the record attempt saw hundreds of members of the running community get behind it - and we get an insight into the pain and the mental toughness you need to complete a challenge of this magnitude.
A few weeks before Paul started his challenge his good friend and CurraNZ ambassador, Chris Stirling, sadly passed away. Chris, a legend in the world of triathlon and running, was a big inspiration to Paul and he decided to raise money for a charity in memory of his friend. There is a very moving section where Paul talks about his friend and the film is also dedicated to him. Paul raised over £36,000 for MIND and it’s clear in the film that this opportunity to do something to help others in Chris’s name is something that really kept Paul going through the tough times.
The film captures some stunning scenes of the Lake District and it’s a hugely inspirational watch. Paul is an exceptionally modest runner but moments in the film such as seeing him taking a five-minute nap on a summit due to sheer exhaustion and some of the times when he was clearly in terrible pain and then kept going, speak volumes. It will definitely give you food for thought next time you feel like quitting on a run.
The film was shown at Kendal Mountain Festival and has had some screenings at Zefferelli’s cinema in Ambleside.
The film was made by Dave MacFarlane and supported by inov-8, for whom Paul is an ambassador.
Watch the film here https://youtu.be/laMBEjxlst8
Picture courtesy of inov-8/Pete Aylward