Sabrina Verjee also holds the women's record for running the Pennine Way. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Sabrina Verjee also holds the women's record for running the Pennine Way. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Runner Sabrina Verjee continues to make progress in her latest bid to set a record time for summiting the Lake District’s Wainwright fells.

Four-and-a-half days into her challenge, she had bagged 177 of the 214 peaks in the round.

With more benign weather than she encountered during her aborted May attempt, when exceptionally cold and wet weather forced the athlete to abandon her run, she has kept up a good pace.

The Cumbrian veterinary surgeon began her round shortly after 7am on Friday. Her plan is to complete the 318 miles (512km) run by noon on Thursday. The challenge involves 36,000m (118,110ft) of ascent.

By the middle of Monday Verjee was almost 14 hours ahead of schedule, but she rested for a few hours in Borrowdale in the early hours of Tuesday before hitting the fells again. By Tuesday morning she was about eight hours ahead of her planned timings, a pace she has maintained into the evening.

The weather for the remaining days of her round is forecast to be mild to warm, with strengthening winds and possible heavy rain towards the end of the schedule, but no repeat of the sub-zero conditions and blizzards that prompted an exacerbation of her asthma last month, leading to breathing problems.

Verjee has completed the round previously in 2020, in the third-fastest time, but publicly stated she did not want her 6 days 17hrs 51mins to be considered for the records as she had needed substantial support from fellow runners after suffering a knee injury. The challenge involves completing all the peaks described by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

In May this year, runner Tom Hollins set a time of 6 days 21hrs 33mins 8secs to complete the Wainwrights round in brutal weather conditions, fourth-fastest overall, but considered by many to be the third-fastest because of Verjee’s statement following her 2020 challenge.

Paul Tierney set the fastest time for running the round in 2019, completing the route in 6 days 6hrs 5mins, beating Steve Birkinshaw’s previous record of 6 days 12hrs 58mins.

Before that, Joss Naylor held the fastest time, 7 days 1hr 25mins, beating Alan Heaton’s time of 9 days 16hrs 42mins. Mel Steventon completed a round of the Wainwrights in September last year in a time of 13 days 12hrs 16mins 21secs, while raising money for Women’s Aid and Community Action Nepal. If Verjee’s time is discounted, this is the fastest known woman’s time.

If she succeeds in completing the round, she will finish the challenge in Great Langdale. Her progress can be followed on the Live Tracking website.

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