ONE of the UK’s most successful ever adventure racers is currently trying to break a 27-year-old Cumbrian running record.
Steve Birkinshaw is looking to set a new record for running a circuit that includes the summit of each of the 214 hills or mountains that feature in Alfred Wainwright’s seven volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.
If he achieves his objective, Birkinshaw will succeed fell running legend Joss Naylor MBE in holding the record.
Steve Birkinshaw, 45, of Threlkeld, is an accomplished adventure racer and fell runner.
He is a multiple winner of the Original Mountain Marathon - formerly the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon) and in 2012 won the Dragon’s Back Race, believed by many to be the toughest adventure race on the planet.
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Starting from Keswick last Saturday, Birkinshaw aims to beat the current Wainwrights record of seven days, one hour and 25 minutes, set by Joss Naylor in 1987.
He has planned his own route to complete the 214 tops, with 512km of distance, including 36,000m of ascent, and hopes to take 11 hours off the current record.
Like Naylor, Birkinshaw will also finish his run in Keswick. Birkinshaw plans to rest less than Joss Naylor and eat while on the move.
He is being fuelled during the attempt by nutrition brand TORQ, which has provided him with its range of performance energy products for the duration of the run.
Before setting off Steve said: “I seriously started to think about running the Wainwrights about a year ago, since when I have been regularly asking myself whether it is possible to beat Joss Naylor’s time.
“Joss is an amazing athlete and as tough as they come. In 1987, he was able to run through pain over long periods of time, so to even contemplate breaking his Wainwrights record is very daunting.
“However, I have spent a lot of time preparing a route that I think I can complete in a faster time. Like Joss, I won’t run the tops book by book, but I will stick with tradition by starting and finishing in Keswick.
“Obviously, there is nothing I can do about the weather, but I will be well equipped and I hope that I will be joined on sections of the run by friends, as well as several members of staff from Berghaus who have promised to run with me at times. I’m a little nervous, but am really looking forward to getting started.”
Steve will be raising money for two multiple sclerosis (MS) charities during his run.
His sister has MS and he has created donation pages for both the national MS Society and a local charity, the Samson Centre.
During his run, Steve will carry a live tracker and people will be able to follow his progress or work out where they can join him along the way.
Regular updates will be posted on the Berghaus website, by @TheRealBerghaus on Twitter and more information about Birkinshaw and his attempt on the Wainwrights can be found at his blog.