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Sabrina Verjee smashes Wainwright Peaks FKT, beats men’s record by 6 hours

Verjee finished the roughly 525K challenge faster than any other runner, male or female, completing it in five days, 23 hours, 49 minutes

Photo by: Harshan Gill

British fell runner Sabrina Verjee has shattered the 214 Wainwright Peaks record in Britain’s Lake District, running the 525K route in five days, 23 hours, 49 minutes. Verjee averaged about 87K a day to become the first runner, male or female, to complete the challenge in less than six days. Her result betters Paul Tierney‘s 2019 record by six hours, and it lowers her own women’s record (which she set in 2020) by 18 hours. 

The Wainwrights 

The Wainwright Peaks became an obsession for many runners in Britain thanks to fell-walker and author Alfred Wainwright, whose seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells lists the now-famous 214 peaks in Britain’s Lake District National Park. These peaks are all taller than 1,000 feet (304 metres), and runners have turned Wainwright’s guide into an arduous challenge: run all 214 peaks as quickly as possible. 

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Runners must start and finish in the town of Keswick, which is located in Lake District National Park, but they can follow any route they like. This means there’s a certain level of strategy and planning to the challenge, as one route could be faster than others. If a runner summits all 214 peaks and makes it back to Keswick, their result will count as an official Wainwrights run. 

Verjee’s record 

In 2020, Verjee became the first woman to complete the Wainwrights challenge, and her result was the third-fastest in history. She covered the route, which features a whopping 36,000m of elevation gain (the equivalent of four Mount Everests), in six days, 17 hours, 51 minutes. A knee injury slowed Verjee considerably in her Wainwrights attempt last year, but instead of citing that as an excuse for not coming closer to Tierney’s FKT (which stood at six days, six hours, five minutes), she said she didn’t want her time counted as an official women’s record because she felt she had received too much help from her crew. 

Verjee took another stab at the Wainwrights in May of this year, but freezing temperatures and terrible weather, along with difficulty breathing caused by asthma, forced her to call off the attempt mid-run. This time around, Verjee was healthy, and her result reflected that, as she crushed the overall route record. 

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“My body held out better than I expected and I was able to maintain a good pace throughout,” she told the BBC. “The Wainwrights have become an obsession and I felt that I could and should complete a round in under six days, so I am over the moon to have proved myself right.”