Ultrarunner Jasmin Paris is reported to have smashed the women's record for running the grueling Bob Graham Round circuit of 42 Lake District fells. If confirmed, her time will be more than two-and-a-half hours faster than the former record set by Nicky Spinks in 2015.
The Bob Graham Round is a 66 mile, 27,000ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake District, all which have to be completed within 24 hours. The circuit was first run by Bob Graham back in 1932 and has since become the holy grail of trail running and a testing ground for the supremely fit.
Only one in three that start the race end up crossing the finish line within the alloted time and, for most, it's often all they can do to complete the race in 24 hours. However, for Jasmin Paris, that's not enough.
Jasmin's final time of 15 hours and 24 minutes is thought to be one of the fastest five times ever recorded, around two hours and 42 minutes faster than Nicky Spinks's 2015 record of 18 hours and six minutes, and only around one hour and 31 minutes off the fastest ever Bob Graham round set by Billy Bland in 1982.
Breaking records is becoming a trend for Jasmin, despite being a relative newcomer to the world of long-distance challenges, as she set a new record in last year's Fellsman (which was also previously held by Spinks) and came second overall in the 2015 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race – a five-day event that sees athletes run more than 180 miles and climb nearly twice the height of Everest.
Jasmin on her way to 2nd place at the Dragon's Back Race. Photo: Ian Corless / www.iancorless.com
Indeed, the 32-year-old member of Edinburgh's Carnethy Hill Running Club is the new low-key weekend warrior who will likely be trailblazing her way to set the new standard for women's trail running.
In fact, Jasmin has now set her sights on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race and is expected to be going all out to take home the women's title. However, she will have to overcome competition from Nepalese runner Mira Rai, 27.
Mira Rai: child soldier to international athlete
Mira is another budding outdoor athlete whose tale of transformation is absolutely extraordinary. As recently as just two years ago, Mira didn't even know that trail running existed.
In an interview in the BMC's Summit magazine
, Mira said: "My parents were farmers, working in the fields. We lived in a small group of just three families just on the edge of the jungle."
Searching for a life outside of her remote village, she opted to join a group of Maoists on the hunt for recruits in 2003. Fortunately, she didn't have to fight and spent most of her child soldier life in cantonments waiting for a peace deal to be concluded.
During her time as a soldier, she did learn to clean a rifle and was encouraged to keep fit – which she did by practising karate and running, which became her passion. Circumstances denied her the chance to join an amalgamated Nepalese army and so she moved to Kathmandu to pursue a dream of becoming an athlete.
Running out of money and hope, Mira was on the verge of giving up and returning to her village and family when she happened upon an advertisement for the Himalayan Outdoor Festival 50km ultra-marathon in early 2014. Before she knew it, she'd signed up and was at the starting line clad in a cheap pair of trainers, cotton t-shirt and track suit bottoms. But by the end of the day, a day packed full of torrential rain and hail, she'd won her first race.
After winning ten races in just her first year of running competitively, Mira's 2016 season suffered a setback from a serious knee injury, which she claims is only a "little bit bad". Despite this, she plans to continue competing for a few more years before becoming a mentor to other women runners.
Jasmin vs Mira
It remains to be seen whether one week is enough for Jasmin to recover from her record Bob Graham Round, but in her favour is the fact that it will be Mira's first time running the Three Peaks Race – a course where local knowledge is famously the secret to success. Whatever the outcome, it's sure to be an exhilarating watch and will only help to further promote the success of female athletes.
Find out more about the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race here.
WATCH: Nicky Spinks set out to beat her Bob Graham Round record on BMC TV
WATCH: Find your trail on BMC TV
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