*Update – Sadly Pavel ended his attempt at around the halfway mark. He said: “I called it a day just after Tan Hill, around halfway, when it was clear that I would not make it this time. What went wrong? Not sure now, need a proper analysis. Thanks everyone for the support – it was amazing to see so many people to turn up and help. I am slowly accepting that what looked as a one-time affair may turn into life-long project.”
Ultra-distance runner Pavel Paloncy will attempt to break the record for the fastest completion of the 268-mile Pennine Way this weekend.
The Pennine Way is Great Britain’s oldest national trail. It follows a central upland spine, wriggling its way from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders and incorporating around 37,000ft of ascent.
The fastest time for a completion is 2 days 17 hours and 20 minutes, set by Mike Hartley, who ran it without sleeping in July 1989.
This will be a second crack at the long-standing record for Pavel, who last year aborted an attempt 60 miles short of the finish when he knew Mike’s time was out of reach.
The Czech Republic endurance athlete is certainly no stranger to the Pennine Way. He’s won the Spine Race – a brutal event which sees ultra-distance runners tackle the 268-mile trail in the middle of winter – a record three times.
His most recent Spine Race win (see post-race photo at top of blog post) came in January this year when he battled through deep snow to reach the finish in 4 days, 13 hours and 50 minutes. Pavel has also twice finished runner-up, including two years ago when Eoin Keith set the Spine Race record of 3 days, 23 hours and 17 minutes.
And while the Pennine Way trail remains remote and challenging, the summer conditions Pavel will face this weekend will of course be better than those encountered in January. A hot summer in England has left the ground hard, although some much-needed rainfall this past week has helped soften it.
Opened in 1965, the Pennine Way is hugely popular with hikers, many of whom take between 16 and 19 days to complete it. One of the highlights en route is Cross Fell, which at 2,929ft is the highest point in England outside of the Lake District.
Friends to set the pace
Like on last year’s record attempt, Pavel will again have the support of friends within the UK fell running and ultra running communities who will pace him along the route.
He is due to start from Edale at 5am UK time tomorrow morning (Friday, August 3rd). To break the record he needs to reach Kirk Yetholm by 10:19pm on Sunday (August 5th).
Pavel, nicknamed the Czech Machine, said this week: “Now there is not much training, much more resting and trying to organise all the pacers, source support cars, drivers, finalise the schedule and basically stay on top of it. I prefer smaller events but if this is to be smooth and I can show my best, I need the help of quite a lot of friends.
“The conditions look good (hopefully the bogs will be dry) and I have a great team of pacers. I’m looking forward to it.”
* Pavel, who is supported by inov-8 Czech Republic, plans to run in the new TERRAULTRA G 260 shoes with graphene-grip. He said: “I got them some weeks ago. I did my last training block in them and plan to run in them the whole way.”
Všichni to známe – vrátíte se z hor, uděláte si kafe a sednete k práci. Konečně chvíle klidu, kdy něco uděláte. Ale ouha, někdo zazvoní. Zase nějakej pošťáckej otrapa nese psaní z úřadu! Dnes ale nedonesl psaní, ale balíček a v něm tohle. Nedá se nic dělat, zas nic neudělám, musím zas do hor. Díky @inov8_czech_slovakia A taky zdravim @trailrun.cz #makamvolejakbarevnej @edgar.powerdrink | @ferrino_czsk | @andrlesport #mountain #mountains #jeseniky #trainingday #workout #motivation #day #perfect #czechmachine #instarunner #trail #workout #motivation #day #perfect #getagrip #terraultra #graphenegrip #inov8 #edgar #longday