Donnie Campbell has completed a full Munro round in a record time of 31 days, 23 hours and 2 minutes, knocking about one week from Stephen Pyke's 2010 record of 39 days, 9 hours and 6 minutes. Donnie ran the 282 hills, and cycled and kayaked between them, beginning his journey on the Isle of Mull and finishing on Ben Hope in the early hours of this morning.
— Donnie Campbell (@GetActiveRunnin) September 2, 2020
In an extraordinary feat of endurance, Donnie largely kept to his punishing schedule of 33 days. Stephen Pyke's Munro round comprised roughly 1400km in the saddle and the same on foot, with an estimated 120,000m of ascent; we will ask Donnie for his figures when he's had a chance to rest.
In our interview with Donnie before he set off, he explained that to complete the round in this time then he would need everything to go his way and for the weather not to be 'too Scottish.' A round of this magnitude always comes with the risk of picking up an injury (or several), however, Donnie's plan to 'be patient' and 'go easy' in order to avoid muscle damage seems to have worked.
Donnie's phenomenal time has thrown down the gauntlet, and a one-month round is now likely to prove a tempting target for future runners. But it would clearly take an extraordinary effort.
"There must surely be some nutcase out there brave enough to be thinking of the magical Munros in a Month" said one-time record holder Charlie Campbell, in an interview on UKH in 2011.
You can read about Donnie's pre-trip preparations here:
On day 29, he was joined by previous record holder Stephen Pyke. Whilst ticking off Moruisg in the cloud, he mistook a big cairn for the summit and ended up having to head back up, effectively climbing the mountain twice. Stephen stuck with him for both reps.
By Sunday 30th August, he was only a day behind his ambitious schedule, but with the end in sight, he decided to try and make up for lost time the following day. Slioch, Fisherfield and An Teallach would be considered a huge day out in anyone's books, but not content with this haul, Donnie started up the Fannaichs and pulled an all-nighter! He finished on Ben Wyvis at 4am on Tuesday morning before being up promptly to continue onto Am Faochagach. On this day alone, he ticked off 18 Munros, describing it simply as 'a big day!'
#MunroRound Day 31. 18 Munros; Slioch, Sgurr Ban, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Beinn Tarsuinn, A' Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mor, Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill, Sgurr Fiona Munros; A'Chailleach, Sgurr Breac, Sgurr nan Each, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Meall a'Chrasgaidh, Sgurr Mor, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Meall Gorm, An Coileachan, Ben Wyvis Total 272 Well that was a big day! #GoBigOrGoHome #RunOnEmotion #TimeToPlay #SalomonRunning #SuuntoRun #Run4It #ActiveRoot #DiscoverGinger #RedBull #GivesYouWings #TekoSocks #BritishRedCross
From this point, he had little sleep and ticked off the penultimate Munro (Ben Klibreck) at 12:45 am and before long he was cycling to the final summit of Ben Hope at roughly 2 am. He completed his Munro Round on the last peak at 05:02 am after his truly inspiring 'sprint' to the finish.
Supported throughout by a crew travelling in his motorhome, Donnie refuelled and slept in the van each night. The team also shuttled his bike to logical points so he could follow a more linear route.
He was also raising money for the Red Cross. You can donate here.