A CUMBRIAN man has run up an astonishing 78 Lake District peaks in 24 hours, but fell agonisingly short of breaking one of the longest-standing ‘ultra-running’ records in England.
Adam Perry, who is 29 and lives in Sedbergh, began running at 04:00 on Saturday. He had scaled his first peak, Lonscale, within 54 minutes, and had been up and down the likes of Skiddaw and Blencathra before most people would have had breakfast.
He ran throughout the day and night, in high winds, rain and poor visibility, to reach the top of his 78th peak, Grisedale Pike, at 3:47am on Sunday morning. He hit the 24-hour limit when he was just one mile from the finish line in Braithwaite.
It means that Mark Hartell’s 1997 ‘Lake District 24-Hour Record’ remains unbroken.
Tributes to Adam’s monumental effort, his fourth attempt at breaking the record, were posted on Facebook. His dad, Kev, wrote: “The weather is the only reason you do not hold the record, your strength in those winds was unbelievable.”
Another fan, Sally Ozanne, said: “You are a legend, an inspiration for others.”
Perry, a senior planning officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, was back at work first thing on Monday. He was nursing a sore foot, as well as bumps and bruises, but his spirits were high.
He said: “It was only the difficult conditions in the latter stages which derailed what felt like the record. It just highlights my massive respect for Mark Hartell.”
He said his motivation was to push boundaries: “I like the challenge of trying to do something that on paper doesn't seem realistic. But ultimately, I do it because it is a lot of fun and a pleasure to be out in the mountains with good friends and family.”
Since Christmas, Adam has been running every day, clocking up an average of 70 miles a week. He was keen to thank his supporters, not least his partner, Janet Bainbridge, also a YDNPA officer, and his sponsor, Mount Cook, an adventure centre in Derbyshire. A team of around 30-40 people fed him while he was on the move; managed the logistics; helped with navigation; and offered moral support.
Dozens more supporters helped by running alongside him. The 78 peaks were divided into seven legs; on each leg, 3-5 people ran with him.
Adam said: “Thank you to the many people who gave their time and energy. It is impossible to properly thank everyone. I have made some great memories with a wonderful group of people.”
Adam Perry is an ambassador for the outdoor equipment retailer, INOV-8.