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Lakes Classic Rock Record set (again) by Tom Randall, smashed by Will Birkett

© Will Birkett

In a whirlwind weekend, Tom Randall and Will Birkett were rushing around the Lakes attempting to beat each other's records for the Classic Rock Round. Not content with his previous time due to wet conditions slowing him down, Tom returned on Friday and beat Will's recent record (11 hours 50 minutes) with a time of 11 hours 10 minutes. The following day, Will set out to beat Tom's time and clocked a staggering 10 hours 41 minutes.

The round combines 34 miles of running between 15 multipitch Classic Rock routes, involving 70 pitches up to VS and 4,300m of ascent.

CLASSIC ROCK ROUND TAKE II: 11hrs 10mins 🥵🥵 Finally dried up this week so I could have another go at the classic rock record that Will Birkett established in his own Take II effort recently. This time things (kind of) went smoother and I got a time that I felt was more reflective of my fitness levels.... still a bit of a slog though!! Also I noticed that my GPS marked this down at 39miles and not 35, which I thought it was supposed to be. Someone please tell me I didn't go the wrong way?!? Much that it's cool to have had a big day out, I'm WAY more psyched to have got a message from Will at 4.30am this morning saying he's going to try and break my record again today!! Haha, no rest for the wicked 😅. It's been an absolute pleasure having such a great fellsman to complete and motivate with on this. I'm pretty sure things would still be at the 13hr mark if we'd not got a good rivalry going! Massive good luck today @willbirkett_lakes 💪💪 A few photos from the last 2 days to give an idea of the routes and challenge... Photo 1: Jones's Route, Scafell Photo 2: Apparently a Morning Run. Not! Photo 3: Bowfell Buttress Photo 4: Scafell Moss Ghyll Grooves (had a bit of a shocker on this one) Photo 5: Jones's Route from the side Photo 6: Tophet wall (best route in the round??) Photo 7: The last fell run for these beauties. They've done me good! Photo 8: What I'll be eating a lot of next week Photo 9: Amazing dawn views after Dow Crag. Both times I've done this, I've had to stop and take pics as it's just stunning! Thanks to @coldhousemedia & Dan Howard for capturing a few suffer moments and for a lift back from Keswick. Wasn't so keen to walking! #tradclimbing #sportclimbing #bouldering #gritstone #ukclimbing #indoorclimbing #climbing_lovers #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #klettern #escalade #klatre #lakedistrict #lakedistrictnationalpark #fellrunning #trailrunning #ultrarunning

A post shared by Tom Randall (@tompaulrandall) on

On Saturday morning, Tom wrote on Instagram:

'This time things (kind of) went smoother and I got a time that I felt was more reflective of my fitness levels.... still a bit of a slog though!!' He added:

'Much that it's cool to have had a big day out, I'm WAY more psyched to have got a message from Will at 4.30am this morning saying he's going to try and break my record again today!! Haha, no rest for the wicked.'

Describing his 'Take 3' on the challenge, Will wrote on Facebook:

'Tom made one hell of move last Friday, shattering my previous time by a good 40 minutes. They say the best defence is a good offence, or that's certainly what I'm thinking, as Dow appears into view, dusk jealously loosening its grip, light scratching at Lakeland pinnacles on the cool Saturday morning.'

Reflecting on his previous record attempt, Will realised that he required more sustenance and better hydration. he was also aware that cooler, dryer conditions would be easier and safer. He wrote on Facebook:

'The last attempt was nothing short of a shit show, no water, little food, basically crawled my way along on stubborn ideals alone, this time I'd come prepared laden with flapjack and Belvita bars. Purposely setting off without a schedule was part of the gambit. Building walls for a living rarely leaves you feeling rested at the weekends, the plan was go balls to the wall until walking ceases to be a viable option or I reach the end, no distractions.

'Running past Randall at Wrynose pass who eagerly shouts encouragement, it was appreciated, but he also stokes the fire simmering in my stomach, blowing down to Langdale then Gimmer like a Hebridean gale, call me the breeze. Climbing Bowfell Buttress brings a pleasant surprise, Al Jones and partner planted upon the halfway ledge, there's little time for actual communication, whooping and high-fiving says far more in these circumstances.'

Classic rock take 3 😅 10:41 hours unsupported and all the rest off it . @tompaulrandall set a one hell of a time on Friday of 11:10 Hours, I was well psyched for him to say the least. So found myself walking up to dow on a windy Saterday morning, pretty tired from building walls all week. Didn't expect to come close to Tom's time actually, it took all the pressure off. So was surprising finally checking the clock in borrowdale, finding I was basically crushing and way ahead of schedule. Massive thanks to @tompaulrandall been loveing this whole back and forth. not only was he cheering me on at wrynos pass, he went to find me at gilocombe incase I was bonking in need of a lift down borrowdale. also managed to bag a lift back to my van with him , a true gentleman ! Iv actually got no got hold of any photos from the day yet. So hear are a bunch of oldies. First by @matt_powerr Second @richard_pow99 The video is off me and @c.coldwellstorry on our first round approaching Piller Last pic , sunset looking over to great gable.

A post shared by Will Birkett (@willbirkett_lakes) on

Will saved around 15 minutes on Scafell, which was in perfect, dry condition. Feeling more spritely than on the previous attempt, he sailed through the remaining routes in high spirits. Will explained:

'Surprisingly, my legs - far from packing in - seem to be getting springy. Merrily skipping over to Gillercombe after completing the Pillar routes was magic, just to be out on such an awesome day was a blast. Black Crag packed with climbers took some negotiating then onto Shepherd's where my father was already waiting, clocked it, 10:4.'

Victory was bittersweet, however. Despite their rivalry, it seems that Will felt a little guilty for making Tom's record so short-lived. He wrote:

'5 minutes later Tom Randall popped over, he was psyched, but at the same time looked like he wanted to hit me. Because he probably only had the record for about 24 hours this time, also gave me a lift back to my van, thanks again!'

The pair have now set five records between them this year:

Will Birkett & Callum Coldwell-Storry (May 2020) 12 hours 54 mins
Tom Randall (Aug 2020) 12 hours 2 mins
Will Birkett (Aug 2020) 11 hours 50 mins
Tom Randall (Sept 2020) 11 hours 10 mins
Will Birkett (Sept 2020) 10 hours 41 mins

Tom wrote on Instagram: 'It's been an absolute pleasure having such a great fellsman to compete and motivate with on this. I'm pretty sure things would still be at the 13hr mark if we'd not got a good rivalry going!'

When asked whether he would attempt to take back the record, Tom told UKC:

'Ha, no! I had already put something on my Insta which said if my 11 hour 10 time got beaten then I didn't think I could beat that. His time is WAY out there. It's very hard to explain how good this is!'

Will was equally psyched to have squeezed in a record between his very physical work as a drystone waller. He told UKC:

'I was also pretty psyched that I managed to fit it in between work and only take half a day off that Friday.'


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Tom is a trad climber at heart, whose passion for the unknown in climbing has lead to numerous new routes both in the UK and overseas.

FA's of multiple 5.14 trad routes, repeats of many of the world's...

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