Just under three weeks after Tom Randall set a new Lakes Classic Rock Round record, local lad Will Birkett has bettered it by 12.5 minutes, setting a new unsupported record of 11 hours 50 minutes. The round combines 34 miles of running between 15 multipitch Classic Rock routes, involving 70 pitches up to VS and 4300m of ascent. Will beat Tom's recent record of 12 hours 2 minutes 36 seconds.
Writing on Facebook, Will commented:
'Firstly, awesome effort by Tom Randall for his breakthrough time recently, great that the standards are getting pushed. Secondly, shame Callum Coldwell-Storry couldn't join me for this one as he's on an important business meeting in the Dolomites.' Callum had previously set a record of 12 hours 54 minutes alongside Will.
Will started the round at Walna Scar car park and finished up the Shepherd's Crag classic Little Chamonix, where his dad and friends were waiting to meet him at the top.
During a recce on the day prior to his attempt, Will had bumped into Tom Randall at Gimmer Crag. He explained:
'As fate would have it, while practising the down climbs, I came across a man lounging in the sun, it quickly became apparent it was Tom Randall. Searching the surrounding rock for holds, he says "I normally just stick a hand jam in there". I acknowledge the green slimy flared offwidth-sized crack, rapidly concluding I value life too much for this beta. After cracking on for a good while I apprehensively admit I'm going for the record tomorrow. He wished me good luck and warned of seepage on Scafell.'
Since April 2019, over three and a half hours have been shaved off Chris Fisher's previous record time of 15 hours 25 minutes due to Will, Calum and Tom's various attempts. In setting this latest record, Will felt considerably more fatigued. He wrote:
'The round almost broke me this time, stomach in tatters growling unsympathetically, stubborn kilometre after stubborn kilometre, murmuring out loud quotes most likely found in a self help book, "you can do this, just keep going."'
As is commonplace on endurance challenges, he struggled with stomach issues and fueling. He explained:
'The low points of the day consisted of becoming dehydrated, running out of food for the last two hours, and stopping for emergency relief of the bowels, only to use some dried up plant matter as a cleaning agent. Unfortunately it consisted of stinging nettles. None of these things topped the list.'
Tom Randall alerted UKC of the news and commented: 'Really impressive considering the wetness up there and cool that this record is so competitive.'
Will he back to try and beat Will's time? Watch this space...