Adam Perry, a Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority officer, has run up an astonishing 78 Lake District peaks in 24 hours, but has fallen agonisingly short of breaking one of the longest-standing ‘ultra-running’ records in England.
Adam, 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 03:47 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.”
Adam 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 describes 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 December, Adam has been running every day, clocking up an average of 70 miles a week. He was keen to thank his supporters, including his sponsor - Mount Cook Adventure Centre, a new not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to providing access to outdoor activities for all. Mount Cook supported Adam in organising the logisitics of the event, the purchasing of kit and equipment, and by covering the event through social media.
Adam said: "I am completely on board with the ethos of what Mount Cook are doing. I myself have an awful lot to be grateful for in terms of the opportunities I have had as a result of getting ‘outdoors’. In terms of meeting people, seeing the world and being a more confident person because of it. It is there for everyone, and whilst it won’t be the answer for everyone, it opens doors and helps people in all sorts of ways in lots of aspects of life."
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 has expressed his appreciation: "Thank you to the many people who gave their time and energy. It isn't impossible to properly thank everyone. I have made some great memories with a wonderful group of people.”
Here's to next year Adam!