Pics: Damian Hall (credit for pics: inov-8.com / Leo Francis)
Damian Hall has broken the record for Wainwright's Coast to Coast trail, completing the 185 miles this evening after 39 hours 18 minutes 33 seconds unofficially.
The Inov-8 runner took around 18 minutes from the record of legendary runner Mike Hartley, who set his time in 1991.
The hiking trail, made popular by guidebook author Alfred Wainwright, goes from St Bees on the Cumbrian coast, crossing through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks before finishing at Robin Hood's Bay on the east coast of England.
Supported by a small team of pacers, he even made it his mission to pick up litter along the way!
Hall, who has placed top-five at the UTMB race, had to put up with rough weather as he covered the breadth of the country. With a target of finishing in 39 hours, which would put him 36 minutes inside the record, he set out yesterday morning at 6am.
He was more than two hours ahead of schedule by the evening and then he succeeded in staying well ahead of pace throughout the night.
Well before the last few miles south down the North Yorkshire Coast to the finish, it was clear that, barring disaster, he would break the mark.
Damian, who last week lost his Pennine Way fastest known time to John Kelly, explained beforehand his motivation for the challenge: "I hiked it in 2007, before I’d heard of either the Pennine Way (which the Coast to Coast crosses at halfway, in Keld) or the madcap idea of running these distances, and thought it was well brill. There’s something very pleasing about starting on one side of the country and finishing on the other.
"Coast to Coast takes most people 12 or more days to hike, so I was pretty chuffed to complete it in 10, thinking I was quite the endurance hero. I didn’t know at the time, but in 1991 someone called Mike Hartley ran it in 39 hours, 36 minutes and 52 seconds, beating his friend Mike Cudhay’s record by seven hours – and my time by eight and a half days."