Brian Stallwood, who is running to the summit of Pen-y-ghent on 60 successive days

Brian Stallwood, who is running to the summit of Pen-y-ghent on 60 successive days

A fellrunner has set himelf a gruelling challenge as he approaches a milestone in his life.

Brian Stallwood is tackling 60 consecutive daily asecnts of one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks to mark his upcoming 60th birthday.

The Horton in Ribblesdale resident dreamt up the task of running up Pen-y-ghent every day for two months while sunning himself on a Corsican beach in the summer. He said it seemed an excellent idea at the time.

Mr Stallwood is using the challenge to raise funds for the Cave Rescue Organisation, the voluntary Clapham-based team that carries out regular fell rescues on and around the Three Peaks.

The runner began his 60-day effort on 30 October and plans to complete his final climb of the 694m (2,277ft) fell on his birthday on 28 December.

He said: “I am doing this partly as a ‘not giving in gracefully to age’ thing, partly because I’m fairly addicted to running in the hills anyway and partly because I love the hills and mountains of the Yorkshire Dales, Pen-y-ghent especially.

“November has been a humdinger for weather thus far with two big dumps of snow to contend with. The weather for sure is my biggest challenge in this and I’m sure there’s plenty more weather to come.”

He said he is more than half way through his challenge and has so far run 220 miles (354km) and bagged 61,000ft (18,590m) of ascent – more than twice the height of Everest.

Brian Stallwood on the summit of a wintry Pen-y-ghent with his two dogs

Brian Stallwood on the summit of a wintry Pen-y-ghent with his two dogs

His home is just 2½ miles from the summit of the hill, and he is using various ascent routes during his 60 runs. “Some days I’ll probably run longer routes – some days much longer – and others shorter.

“My shortest possible route option is probably 4½ miles long but, given that that involves a supremely steep ascent and descent of the west face of Pen-y-ghent, its shortness doesn’t make it the quickest.

“I’m sure that the aggregate ascent, day in day out, will start to make itself felt in my stubbly little legs, especially my quads.”

Mr Stallwood said the weather on the fell is one of his biggest problems. “From personal experience a slight breeze in the valley transforms into a howling hurricane hoolie on the top and a gentle shower of rain down below is a monsoon-like deluge at 2,300 feet, which will come at me horizontally when it’s windy.

“Oh and the porridge-thick hill fog will be great fun too, especially when I’m headtorch-running in the dark after work, which will be the case for at least 35 of the 60 runs.”

He is being accompanied on some of his runs by his wife, fellow fellrunner Hester Cox, and by his two dogs Harry and Teasel.

Mr Stallwood said: “The main reason for having a crack at this is because it seems like a grand, fun, handily local and unique challenge to undertake. Certainly no-one else has done it, or even wanted to do it, as far as I can tell, and one, assuming I can actually ‘nail the bastard’, suitably worthy and apt for celebrating my 60 adventurous years on earth.

“At the same time it’s also a great opportunity to raise funds for our local mountain and cave rescue, who voluntarily and magnificently save lives above and below ground here in the Yorkshire Dales.”

The runner has previously taken on the London Marathon to raise funds for Mountain Rescue England and Wales. He has also completed a Bob Graham Round in the Lake District, tackled the Lakeland 100 and other long-distance challenges including the Three Peaks Race High Peak Marathon and Fellsman.

Mr Stallwood has set up a justgiving page for his fundraising, which at the time of writing had raised almost £1,000 for the CRO.

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