Ultra distance runner Kim Collison pushed himself to the very limit of human endurance to break a long-standing Lake District peak bagging record at the weekend.
The 40-year-old athlete summited 78 Lake District fells in 24 hours to extend by one the number achieved by Mark Hartell in 1997.
Part of the stipulations of breaking the 24-hour Lakeland record is that the athlete attempting it has to complete all the peaks attained by the previous holder and add one or go quicker.
Kim — a member of Borrowdale Fell Runners — was originally going to add Haycock to his tally of fell tops, but changed his mind after going through a bad patch on Yewbarrow, and instead decided to take in Fleetwith Pike after coming off Grey Knotts.
He started his record attempt at 3am on Saturday from the village of Braithwaite, near Keswick, and finished with a descent of Grisedale Pike in 23hr, 45min.
His round involved running 145km with more than 11,750m of ascent.
Cool weather, good underfoot conditions and a never-say-die mindset helped bring Kim home inside the time cut-off and set a record that is going to be extremely difficult to better.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to have set the record. It has certainly brought a smile to my face,” said Kim, who lives at Mungrisdale and runs his own guided running and coaching business.
“It’s one of those things that you don’t believe. It’s a great feeling coming off the rough on the final peak knowing that you have got time.
“The clock is always against you as you try to tick off peaks. It is always at the back of your mind.”
Kim’s toughest patch came 14 hours into the record attempt on Yewbarrow which he said was “a culmination of pushing the effort levels” and his stomach making it challenging to keep food down.
“Yewbarrow was my hideous low,” he said. “It is a lot of people’s downfall when they are doing the Bob Graham Round and I knew it was going to be difficult.”
He also found navigation difficult from Newlands Hause to Braithwaite as the mist came in on Crag Hill and visibility was cut to one metre.
The 24-hour record began as an extension to the Bob Graham Round, the route over 42 peaks that has to be completed within a day. All the fells in the Bob Graham Round have to be completed.
Kim holds the record for the fastest winter Bob Graham Round which he achieved in December last year with a time of 15hr 47min. “It was the next logical thing to have a go at after my winter Bob Graham,” said Kim, a Team GB athlete and former British trail running champion.
“I love challenging myself and getting the best out of myself. I wanted to know just what I could achieve.”
Lake District fell running legend Joss Naylor did the 24-hour Lakeland record on three occasions and managed 72 peaks, before Mark McDermott added an extra four and Mark Hartell set the previous best mark 23 years ago.