Sabrena Verjee on the hoof on the Pennine Way over the West Yorkshire moors. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Sabrina Verjee on the hoof on the Pennine Way over the West Yorkshire moors. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Athlete Sabrina Verjee has completed her run of the full length of the Pennine Way, comfortably beating her previous best time.

The Ambleside-based endurance runner reached Edale in the early hours of Tuesday, posting what is believed to be the fastest known time for a female runner to complete the 268-mile route.

She left Kirk Yetholm at dawn on Saturday with the aim of completing the national trail in about three days.

For the first 24 hours she kept ahead of her schedule, but day-long strong winds on Sunday put a strain on her pace and by the early hours of Monday she was about 1½ hours behind her target.

But improving weather enabled her to increase her speed and by the time she left the Yorkshire Dales she had regained lost time, staying ahead of her target splits as night fell. Her time slipped again crossing Kinder Scout as muscular pains slowed her down, and she arrived at the finish at the Nag’s Head in Edale at 8.28am on Tuesday.

Verjee’s provisional time of 3 days 2hrs 28mins was easily ahead of her previous best effort of 3 days 10hrs 19mins.

In January 2019, Jasmin Paris set a new course record for the Montane Spine Race, which entails running the full length of the Pennine Way, from south to north. She was the first woman to win the gruelling event, which she accomplished while still the nursing mother of her daughter Rowan. Paris completed the race in 3 days 11hrs 12mins 23secs, smashing the course record, though the time is not directly comparable with the accepted Pennine Way records because of slight route variations.

Verjee was the fastest UK competitor in this year’s Spine Race, taking the women’s trophy, finishing in fifth place overall.

Verjee completed her Pennine Way run just two months after a successful continuous round of all 214 Wainwright fells in the Lake District, posting the third-fastest known time for the feat, and the only known one by a woman. She suffered serious knee problems during the 525km (326-mile) challenge.

In a year of record-breaking endurance running successes, Verjee’s Pennine Way run represents the third in 2020, during which time many races were cancelled due to coronavirus lockdown. In July Damian Hall posted a new fastest time for running the Pennine Way, arriving at Edale in Derbyshire 2 days 13hrs 34mins after starting from Kirk Yetholm. He beat a record set eight days earlier by his friend John Kelly, who bettered Mike Hartley’s time by 34 minutes, 31 years after it had been recorded.

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