Sabrina Verjee on her final Wainwright, Lingmoor. Photot: Steve Ashworth

Sabrina Verjee on her final Wainwright, Lingmoor. Photo: Steve Ashworth

Endurance athlete Sabrina Verjee has set a new record for completing all 214 Wainwright fells.

She arrived back at her starting point in Great Langdale on Thursday morning, 5 days 23hrs 49mins 12secs after beginning her challenge.

Her time beat the record set by Paul Tierney in 2019 by more than six hours and is the first to be achieved in less than six days.

It was third time lucky for Verjee, 40, who had to abort a similar attempt in May when sub-zero temperatures and blizzards exacerbated her asthma, putting an end to her run. She had completed the Wainwrights once previously in 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.

Speaking after her round, she said: “I am very tired and very happy. This time, my body held out better than I expected and I was able to maintain a good pace throughout.

“The Wainwrights have become an obsession and I felt that I could and should complete a round in under six days, so I am over the moon to have proved myself right.

“Once again, I had a big support group and they have all been absolutely amazing. I could not have done this without them – it was a fantastic team effort. More than anything, it has been brilliant to spend even more time out on the glorious Lakeland fells in the company of good friends.

“And if what I have done inspires more people, especially girls and women, to get out there and challenge themselves, then that’s an added bonus.”

Sabrina Verjee arrives at the finish in Great Langdale. Photo: Steve Ashworth

Sabrina Verjee arrives at the finish in Great Langdale. Photo: Steve Ashworth

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 a new 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 2020 time is discounted, this was the fastest known woman’s time until today.

Along with her husband Ben and a large group of willing friends and fellow runners, Verjee was supported by sponsors Berghaus, La Sportiva, Petzl, Dexshell, Supernatural Fuel, Gingerbakers and Mountain Fuel. Her 2021 rounds have been filmed and photographed by Steve Ashworth and Summit Fever Media, supported by La Sportiva, Berghaus and Right Lines Communications.

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