Ultra runner sets new record for 268-mile Pennine Way

Top ultramarathon runner Damian Hall has set a new record time for the 268-mile Pennine Way – while also cleaning the trail of litter at the same time.

ultra runner breaks pennine way record

The 44-year-old completed the iconic route from Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders to Edale, Derbyshire, which includes a section along Hadrian’s Wall, in an incredible time of 61 hours 34 minutes. This beat the previous record by more than three hours.

Advertisement

The Pennine Way is Great Britain’s oldest National Trail, and much of it is over remote, boggy hills, with a total ascent that exceeds the height of Mount Everest.

Popular with hikers, who usually complete it in 16-19 days, Hall did it in just two-and-a-half, battling sleep exhaustion and all manner of tough weather conditions along the way.

Not only that, the dad-of-two from Wiltshire, England, and his team of pacers also helped clean the famous trail of litter as they ran, stuffing it in their packs before handing it to support team members at road crossing meet-up points.

Hall said: “I feel overwhelmed, really. I remember writing about Mike Hartley’s 1989 record in the Pennine Way guidebook before I got into running and thinking ‘That’s insane, I could never do that!’

“It was a huge team effort and I couldn’t have made it happen without the support of my road crew, pacers and the people we met along the way. I had the inevitable low spells, but the incredible team got me through them.

“I felt hugely motivated by three things and had FFF written on my arm in permanent marker as a reminder. They stood for Family, Friends, Future – the latter relating to our need to protect the planet.

“There wasn’t lots of litter on the trails, but we picked up anything we saw. The road support crew did likewise from the places they met me at along the way.

“Also, the whole attempt has been certified as ‘carbon negative’ by Our Carbon, as has all my running and my family’s lifestyle for 2020.”

The record Hall beat had previously been set just a week earlier by his friend John Kelly (64 hours 46 minutes); an American ultramarathon runner now based in England. Before that it had stood unbeaten for 31 years, belonging to legend of the long-distance running sport, Mike Hartley, who ran 65 hours 20 minutes in 1989.

Advertisement

Damian Hall was supported by Lake District-based running brand Inov-8