This man just ran 12 marathons, 214 mountains and four times the height of Everest. In under a week.

Posted by Carey Davies on 23/06/2014
Steve (centre) surrounded by runners as he heads for the finish line in Keswick

Fell runner Steve Birkinshaw has just completed an incredible test of endurance in the English Lake District - and smashed a 27 year old record.

Just reading about this makes us tired.

English long-distance runner Steve Birkinshaw has just run 320 miles (515km), ascended 36,000m (118,000ft) and touched the summits of 214 mountains in an inhuman-sounding time of six days and 13 hours.

To put it another way, that's the equivalent of 12 marathons with an ascent and descent equal to climbing Everest around four times, all done over rocky and difficult terrain.

Record-beating

What's more, Steve's time - six days and 13 hours - beats the previous record for the same achievement by a full 12 and a half hours.

Back in in 1987, similarly superhuman fell runner Joss Naylor completed the challenge in seven days, one hour and 25 minutes.

Steve undertook the challenge to raise money for two multiple sclerosis charities. His sister has the disease.

He managed to raise £12,000 and will be be donating the money to both the national MS Society and a local charity, the Samson Centre.

Overwhelming

A modest Steve said: "It's all a bit overwhelming to be honest. Joss Naylor is an incredible athlete, so to have beaten his record is an amazing feeling.

"There were some really tough times out there, but I was spurred on every time I reached a Wainwright top and met someone else who had made the effort to come out and support me."

Steve left Keswick on Saturday 14 June at 9am and finished back in the town on Friday at 10pm.

When not performing insane feats of endurance Steve works as a research associate at Newcastle University.

The 214 fells (hills and mountains) he ran over were described in Wainwright's seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells (1955-66). Hill walkers often set themselves the challenge of walking all the 'Wainwrights' - but usually over the course of several years.

Recognition

An incredible effort from Steve, whose achievement like those of so many fell-runners will likely largely go unnoticed by wider society.

Despite the phenomenal athletic effort involved, the sport remains a niche interest and its highlights rarely make it into the mainstream media. Many fell runners are happy for it to remain this way - its participants are usually driven by quiet passion and determination rather than a thirst for plaudits and recognition.

But contrast Steve's effort with the perennially underperforming English football team and consider the media attention given to both. Is something amiss?

You can, however, still recognise Steve's effort on his JustGiving pages here (Samson Centre) and here (MS Society).

Here are some exhausting stats about Steve's run courtesy of Berghaus:


READ MORE: Want to tackle the Lake District and the Wainwrights but at a slightly slower pace than Steve? Get into hill walking with these BMC resources:

  • Hill Walking Essentials DVD: Follow Fredelina and Ben as they learn essential skills and techniques for the British mountains. Buy it now in the BMC shop.
  • Safety on Mountains: Your essential guide to safe hill walking. Available to buy in the BMC shop.

GO ON A COURSE: Learn from professionals

  • BMC Active Outdoors: Want to learn all the skills you need to be a confident hill walker at a bargain price? The BMC's Active Outdoor courses include 'Head for the Hills' courses, affordable hill walking weekends for beginners at the famous Plas y Brenin mountain centre in Snowdonia.
  • Hill and Mountain Skills: The BMC's partner organisation Mountain Training has just launched its new Hill and Mountain Skills Courses. They aim to equip you with the basic knowledge and safety skills required to participate in hill and mountain walking in your own time and are run by providers all over the UK.

WATCH: Life of a Mountain: extended teaser

 Hill Walking Essentials DVD trailer:

Watch more inspirational and skills videos on BMC TV

TWITTER: Follow the BMC's hill walking Twitter feed:@BMC_Walk

 


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