Paddy Buckley Round - New Winter Record

UKC user Tom Phillips has completed the Paddy Buckley Round fell-running challenge in Snowdonia - a route taking in 47 summits and exceeding 100km in distance - in a winter record of 22 hours and 49 minutes.  The Round passes over the ranges of Snowdon, the Glyderau and the Carneddau as well as Moel Siabod, the Moelwynion, Moel Hebog and the Nantlle Ridge.

Benign weather on the Hebog/Nantle section...full-on winter conditions to come!

Tom contacted us with the following message describing his record:

"Happy to report I completed the Paddy Buckley Round in 22.49 starting Saturday 14th February at 9.10 am from Capel Curig. A new record for a winter round. A reasonable weather forecast spurred me to a decision a few days earlier to have a go at this. I had a few support runners who came along, although two sections I did solo."

Tom has now completed The Bob Graham, Ramsay and the Paddy Buckley rounds each in winter and summer and is the first person to complete all three in both seasons.

View back across to Cnicht and the Moelwyns, 157 kb
View back across to Cnicht and the Moelwyns
© Tom Phillips

Support van driver Leo Fallon had the following to say regarding Tom's challenge:

"I've walked the hills of Snowdonia for 40+ years. I was a bad lad at school and used to hitch out to Wales when I should have been in school studying O and A levels. I know the popular days out: Snowdon, the Glydders and Y Garn + Tryfan from the Devil's Kitchen, Moel Siabod & Moel Hebog, Pen Y Rolywen & The Carneddau. Each of them make for an interesting [and usually challenging] walk. Imagine stringing ALL of them together. And then attempting to complete it within 24 hrs. . in winter! 
This is exactly what Tom Phillips has just done.

Why is it that some sports pay people £300k per week, others are watched with every bit as much interest and passion by billions, and yet others finish with Tom knocking on the door of his van, waking me up as he finished, so that I could make him a celebratory cup of tea ["with lots of sugar, please"]!

It was my privilege to spend the weekend as driving support for Tom and his fell running compadres from around the country, as each of them supported him, and tried to pace him on the various sections of the route in his quest to complete the "Paddy Buckley Round". It involved me driving to Wales, navigating from one rest point to another, and providing warm food and drink en route. He, in the meantime, set off at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, and ran for the next 22 hours and 49 minutes. At one point he was a staggering 2 hours ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, the dark of night, horrendously slippery rocks, big, dangerous drops and a failing head torch threatened to rob him of the chance to complete. What kind of psychology will propel someone to continue under these conditions?

View of Snowdon from Moel Eilio, 153 kb
View of Snowdon from Moel Eilio
© John Whittle

Finish he did, though, and in record time. This now completes the Paddy Buckley [Snowdonia], the Bob Graham [Lakes] and Ramsey rounds for Tom, each one run in both summer and winter conditions.

Fell running is not a "sexy" sport. It doesn't make for good TV. It certainly doesn't attract big viewing or sponsorship. But this is an epic achievement by a tremendous athlete. Hard work, dedication to training, a peculiar physiology, a superb psychology and the desire to push human limitations and expectations have set a standard most mere mortals [definitely including me!] could never hope to equal.

Well done Tom. Those who know what this means can only have huge respect. Those who don't can only guess.

I'll just have to settle for rock-climbing with him, where at least I can compete on an equal footing - even showing him how a fat boy can still do it better than him every now and then."

Well done Tom indeed!

Tom also organises running trips to Spain each year. More information here.




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