Paul Tierney tackles the eastern fells and battles the weather during the early part of his challenge. Photo: Andy Jackson

Paul Tierney tackles the eastern fells and battles the weather during the early part of his challenge. Photo: Andy Jackson

Ultrarunner Paul Tierney has broken the record for the fastest time taken to summit all the Lake District’s Wainwright peaks.

The Windermere-based athlete finished the challenge in a unnofficial time of 6 days, 6hrs 5mins, beating the time set by Steve Birkinshaw five years ago.

The Cork-born runner summited all 214 fells detailed in Alfred Wainwright’s series of Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. He began his record attempt at 8am on Friday.

Birkinshaw’s 2014 effort smashed the previous record set by Lakeland fellrunning legend Joss Naylor 28 years earlier.

Tierney began and ended his round of the Wainwrights at the Moot Hall in Keswick, and ascended 36,000m during his 318-mile (512km) challenge, running and fast walking the course, eating on the hoof and taking brief sleeps at road crossings.

He was supported on his challenge by his partner and fellow runner Sarah McCormack, colleagues from Ambleside Athletics Club and members of the wider running community, who helped with pacing and navigation.

Steve Birkinshaw, left, with Paul Tierney. Photo: Steve Birkinshaw

Steve Birkinshaw, left, with Paul Tierney. Photo: Steve Birkinshaw

Birkinshaw also helped with Tierney’s preparation and was in Keswick to help him run the first leg. He also met the Windermere runner during his round. His record of 6 days 13 hours looked in jeopardy right from the early stages.

The challenge began in reasonable conditions but the weather soon deteriorated, with rain and low visibility. The run ended in improved weather as he tackled the far northern fells before heading to the Coledale hills, the north-western fells and the final peak, Cat Bells.

The inov-8 ambassador was supplied with gear by the brand, including shoes with its graphene-containing soles. He is also raising money for the charity Mind in memory of Chris Stirling, whom Tierney cites as an inspiration for his ultrarunning.

The 36-year-old running coach and ex-policeman is one of the UK’s best ultra-distance runners, particularly over long races in the fells and mountains. He has twice completed the tough Tor des Géants, a 205-mile race through the Italian Alps that includes 24,000m of ascent – and is a former winner of the Lakeland 100 event.

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