A SOUTH Lakes athlete will attempt to run all of Alfred Wainwright’s 214 peaks as quickly as possible.

Paul Tierney, 36, who runs for Ambleside AC, is hoping to beat the record time set in 2014 by Steve Birkinshaw, who completed the challenge in six days and 13 hours.

Mr Birkinshaw had beaten Joss Naylor’s 28-year-old record in the process who ran it in seven days, one hour and 25 minutes.

Originally from Cork, Irish international trail runner Mr Tierney said he was doing the gruelling challenge to raise money for the mental health charity MIND, in memory of his close friend and fellow athlete Chris Stirling, who died suddenly last month.

The course, which starts in Keswick, covers 320 miles with 118,000ft of climbing.

“I have thought about doing it ever since I followed Steve’s progress on his attempt,” said Mr Tierney.

“It wasn’t something I thought I’d be capable of at the time but I’ve gained some more experience in the meantime and would just like to give it my best shot and see what happens.

“I want to honour the memory of Chris, who overcame so much in his short life and epitomised all that is great about endurance sport. He was an inspiration to me, in how he went from knowing nothing about triathlon to winning the world’s toughest, the Celtman, in just a few years.

The Westmorland Gazette: Paul Tierney Pic: Steve AshworthPaul Tierney Pic: Steve Ashworth

“I know it will be the most difficult challenge I’ve ever attempted so I’m not going in to it thinking it’s going to all go to plan.

“There’ll be plenty of hurdles to get over along the way and I’ll need a little luck too.

“But that’s part of the attraction, along with getting to spend a week in the fells with like-minded people.

An endurance expert, Mr Tierney is a former winner of the Lakeland 100 mile race and has twice competed in the four-day 330k continuous race in the Italian Alps, the Tor des Geants.

He and partner George Foster also recently won the 37-mile Old Counties Tops fell race. 

Mr Tierney will set off on June 14.

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  • Meanwhile, Laurie Crayston, 28, will also be attempting the mighty challenge as he sets off today, but unsupported.

Living in Kendal, Mr Crayston has been training for the run since February having first floated the idea in a conversation with friends.

“I’ll be delighted if I make it round in one piece and unsupported - that would be a record in itself,” he said.

“Most people think it’s ridiculously unachievable for me given the short amount of time I’ve had to train and my lack of experience.

“They might be right, but it’s the process that’s more important to me than the outcome.”

Laurie will be raising money for Cancer Research UK and throughout the challenge will be wearing a GPS tracker that people can follow online. You can also follow Laurie’s progress in the lead up to the challenge on Instagram, @lauriecrayston