Sabrina Verjee summits her final fell, Cat Bells. Photo: Chris Lines

Sabrina Verjee summits her final fell, Cat Bells. Photo: Chris Lines

Record-breaking ultrarunner Sabrina Verjee said she is happy and relieved to have completed her continuous round of the Wainwrights.

She entered the record books on Sunday evening as the first known woman to have run all 214 fells in one round.

The 39-year-old said she will be taking a rest but then looks forward to helping other athletes tackle the challenge.

Verjee arrived back at the Moot Hall in Keswick on Sunday evening, six days, 17 hours and 51 minutes after she began her 525km (326 miles) run from the same spot. The challenge, which takes in the summits of all the fells described in Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, involves 36,000m (118,110ft) of ascent.

Because of the coronavirus lockdown, she had to complete the round with minimal support. Current record holder Paul Tierney and previous fastest runner Steve Birkinshaw ran with her at various points on the route, and she was met by Birkinshaw and fellrunning luminary Joss Naylor, who has also completed the Wainwrights round, at the finish.

Verjee’s time is the third-fastest overall for a completion of the Wainwrights.

Sabrina Verjee is joined at the Moot Hall finish by Steve Birkinshaw, left, and Joss Naylor. Photo: Chris Lines

Sabrina Verjee is joined at the Moot Hall finish by Steve Birkinshaw, left, and Joss Naylor. Photo: Chris Lines

Naylor said: “This was brilliant. Sabrina has done something very special, and set a tough target for other ladies to aim for. What she’s achieved will inspire others to have a go, but it’s a mark that could stand for many years.”

Speaking after her round, Sabrina Verjee said: “I’m so happy to have completed my round and more than a little relieved.

“My right knee hasn’t been happy for a couple of days, so the final sections were very tough, especially as the fatigue really started to kick in.

“I’d have loved to have invited more people to be part of the adventure, but in the current climate that wouldn’t have been responsible. However, my small team shared loads of messages of encouragement with me, which were a big boost.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who supported me during the round and it was very special to be joined by Steve and Paul, and then to see Joss at the finish. That says everything you need to know about the incredible camaraderie that there is in the endurance running community.

“I look forward to repaying that support during future attempts on the Wainwrights, but for now, I think that I’ll rest up for a while!”

The first recorded continuous round of the 214 peaks was completed by Alan Heaton in 1985, in nine days and 16 hours. Two years later, Joss Naylor set a new record of seven days, one hour and 25 minutes. That stood for 27 years, until Berghaus athlete Steve Birkinshaw knocked almost 12 hours off the time in 2014, when he completed his run in six days and 13 hours. Last summer, Paul Tierney, from Windermere, lowered the record by another seven hours.

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