Adam Perry came tantalisingly close to beating the record. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Adam Perry came tantalisingly close to beating the record. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Ultrarunner Adam Perry has narrowly failed to beat a 20-year-old record for summiting Lake District peaks.

The 29-year-old finished his attempt at running 78 summits just 15 minutes outside the 24-hour limit at the weekend.

It was the Helm Hill Runners member’s fourth attempt at the record, which is held by Mark Hartell, who successfully visited 77 Lakeland peaks in 1997.

Perry, who works as a senior planning officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, began his quest at 4am on Saturday. He arrived back at the village of Braithwaite at 4.15am on Sunday, having summited the 78 mountain tops.

He was back at work first thing on Monday, nursing a sore foot, as well as bumps and bruises, but his spirits were high.

Mark Hartell retains the record. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mark Hartell retains the record. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

He said: “It was only the difficult conditions in the latter stages which derailed what felt like the record. It just highlights my massive respect for Mark Hartell.”

Surprisingly, he said it’s a pleasure to be out on the fells on such a gruelling outing. “I like the challenge of trying to do something that on paper doesn’t seem realistic. But ultimately, I do it because it is a lot of fun and a pleasure to be out in the mountains with good friends and family.”

Since Christmas, Perry has been running every day, clocking up an average of 70 miles a week. He was keen to thank his supporters, not least his partner, Janet Bainbridge, also a YDNPA officer, and his sponsor Mount Cook, an adventure centre in Derbyshire.

A team of about 30-40 people fed him while he was on the move; managed the logistics; helped with navigation; and offered moral support.

Dozens more supporters helped by running alongside him. The 78 peaks were divided into seven legs; on each leg, three to five people ran with him.

`Adam Perry and a support runner during the weekend record attempt

Adam Perry and a support runner during the weekend record attempt. Photo: Mount Cook

The runner, an ambassador for outdoor brand inov-8, said: “Thank you to the many people who gave their time and energy. It is impossible to properly thank everyone. I have made some great memories with a wonderful group of people.”

The Sedbergh-based runner had scaled his first peak, Lonscale, within 54 minutes of starting, and had been up and down Skiddaw and Blencathra before most people had breakfast.

He ran throughout the day and night, in high winds, rain and poor visibility, to reach the top of his 78th peak, Grisedale Pike, at 3.47am on Sunday. He hit the 24-hour limit when he was just one mile from the finish line in Braithwaite.

His father Kev, also an ultrunner, told Adam: “The weather is the only reason you do not hold the record, your strength in those winds was unbelievable.”

The family has running in its blood. Adam’s brother Chris won the 60-mile Fellsman last month, a race his younger sibling has won three times.

The 24-hour Lake District record is an extension of the original Bob Graham Round, in which runners have to summit 42 peaks in 24 hours.

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