Sabrina Verjee is currently attempting the infamous Wainwright Record, a 525km non-stop route, with 36,000m of ascent, which covers all 214 Wainwright summits. She set off at 3am on Monday 6th with a schedule to try and beat Paul Tierney's 2019 record. Due to current social distancing guidelines, Sabrina is running the round with minimal support and has asked supporters not to join her on the fells, at road crossings, or at the finish in Keswick.
The 39-year-old veterinary surgeon, based in Ambleside, is no stranger to multi-day rounds and races and in 2019 won the women's category of the Montane Spine Race, finishing 4th overall.
History of the Wainwrights list and records
Back in the 1950s and 60s, Alfred Wainwright spent more than a decade crafting his famous series of Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. The seven volumes include all the well-known big Lake District fells such as Blencathra, Bowfell and Scafell Pike, along with a host of lesser summits from Lingmoor Fell to Latrigg.
Clustered across every corner of the Lake District, the 214 'Wainwrights' have become a popular tick list for keen walkers. Most walkers will spend years ticking them off in ones and twos, but when runners got interested the idea of climbing them all in a single journey took hold.
Alan Heaton was the first to run the Wainwrights in 1985 in one continuous circuit, taking 9 days, 16 hours. Two years later, Joss Naylor ran the round and despite a heatwave causing him to suffer from swollen feet, hands and mouth, he completed it in 7 days and 1 hour. The record stood until 2014, when Steve Birkinshaw completed the round in 6 days, 12 hours and 58 minutes, as shown in Alastair Lee's subsequent documentary.
In 2019, Paul Tierney took the record with a time of 6 days, 6 hours and 5 minutes. Commenting afterwards, Paul described how the mental battle was as hard as the physical one: 'The hardest part by far then was getting up and out of the van again. Walking down the steps of the van made me feel like I was an 85-years-old with two bad knees. Everything hurt and mentally I wanted to stop. After about 10 minutes these negative thoughts left me and I could focus on keeping going to the next summit.'
Watch the film of Paul Tierney's 2019 record: