Alex Staniforth at the end of his challenge. Photo: Jonathan Davies Photographic

Alex Staniforth at the end of his challenge. Photo: Jonathan Davies Photographic

An adventurer and campaigner is recovering after narrowly missing breaking the record for ascents of the National Three Peaks, running between the mountains.

Alex Staniforth completed his challenge in 9 days 12hrs 51mins, an hour outside the existing fastest known time.

The 25-year-old Kendal-based athlete undertook the challenge to raise awareness of mental health and support his chosen charity Mind Over Mountains.

The adventurer, originally from Cheshire, completed his round of the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales on Sunday, after running 450 miles, tackling the equivalent of two marathons a day.

Staniforth had to delay his initial climb of Ben Nevis after injuring himself while training.

He said: “Even getting to the start line was a challenge with a sprained ankle three weeks beforehand.

“I never realised I would have so much more to contend with, in the weather, more injuries and sleep deprivation. At times I couldn’t run more than 10m due to the pain.

“Like anything in life, the most important thing is to keep moving forwards and we can get there in the end, even if slowly.”

Alex Staniforth on Snowdon. Photo: Jonathan Davies Photographic

Alex Staniforth on Snowdon. Photo: Jonathan Davies Photographic

He missed by a whisker beating the time of 9 days 11hrs 39mins set last year by Tom Mountney for running up and down Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon and the distance between them.

But his efforts have seen him breaking his £10,000 target for the Mind Over Mountains charity, which helps people with mental health problems by engaging them in outdoor activities.

Staniforth said: “The support and generosity along the way was truly humbling and it was great to bring people back together after the recent months of lockdown.

“My physical battle may be over now but for many with mental health issues the battle is only just beginning and I really hope this run will inspire and encourage people to seek help.”

After childhood health problems and being persistently bullied at school, Staniforth experienced panic attacks and anxiety and later depression and bulimia. As a young teenager he discovered a love of the outdoors and climbed Mont Blanc in 2012, aged 17, before heading to the Himalaya for the first time in 2013 to attempt Mera Peak and Baruntse.

An attempt the following year on Everest ended in a disaster in which the expedition was abandoned after an avalanche killed 16 people, and in 2015 he was in Nepal when the major earthquake struck, leading to his team being trapped on the mountain and three members dying at Everest basecamp.

Donations to Mind Over Mountains, which he co-founded, can be make via the Givey website.

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