John Kelly is making a second attempt on the Wainwrights record. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

John Kelly is making a second attempt on the Wainwrights record. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Endurance runner John Kelly is attempting a record-breaking round of the Wainwrights before he heads back to his home in the USA.

The 37-year-old had to pull out of a similar attempt in July last year after encountering foot problems in hot conditions.

He set off from the Moot Hall in Keswick at 10am on Monday, with a target of bettering Sabrina Verjee’s time of 5 days 23hrs 49mins 12secs for summiting all 214 peaks detailed in Alfred Wainwright’s series of Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

Kelly, who has lived in the UK since 2019, is using his latest challenge to raise funds for Action Medical Research.

He said: “My time as a UK resident is coming to an end this summer, and I wanted to tie my remaining challenges here to a great cause supporting something I’m passionate about.

“Action Medical Research are the leading UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research. For 65 years they’ve helped pioneer ways to prevent disease and develop treatments benefiting millions of people.

“Their research has helped to beat polio in the UK, develop ultrasound, fight meningitis, and prevent stillbirths. But they urgently need to develop more new treatments and cures for sick babies and children and they can’t do it without you.”

Kelly reclaimed the record for completing the full distance of the Pennine Way in May last year, clipping 3½ hours off the time set by Damian Hall in 2020, just eight days after Kelly has himself set a fastest known time.

He attempted what he called the full English, completing two challenges in the same year.

“Originally this fundraiser was set up for breaking the records for both the Pennine Way and the Wainwrights in 2021. In May 2021, I completed the 260-mile Pennine Way and reclaimed the record. Unfortunately my Wainwrights attempt – 214 peaks in the Lake District taking in over 320 miles and 110k feet of ascent – was stopped short due to foot problems.”

The runner plans to return with his family to the USA at the end of the month.

At the time of writing he was more than 10 hours into his attempt and had summited 27 Wainwrights. He was ahead of the schedule needed to break Verjee’s current record.

Weather forecasts for the week are for a showery few days with relatively light winds, with high pressure bringing drier weather towards the weekend.

John Kelly’s progress can be followed on the Open Tracking website.

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