John Kelly regains Pennine Way FKT

La Sportiva runner covered the 268 tough miles from the Scottish Borders to the Peak District in just over 58 hours, breaking the record by around three and a half hours

John Kelly at the finish of the Pennine Way FKT at Edale. Steve Ashworth

by Paul Halford |

Pic caption: John Kelly touches the wall of the Old Nags Head in Edale – the finish point for his Pennine Way FKT. Pictures and video: Steve Ashworth

John Kelly has regained the fastest known time for the iconic Pennine Way route, last night arriving in Edale with an unofficial time of 58 hours and four minutes.

The La Sportiva athlete last summer broke a 31-year-old record by clocking 64 hours 46 minutes for the 268-mile hiking route between Derbyshire and the Scottish Borders. His friend Damian Hall then broke it eight days later, finishing in 61 hours 34 minutes.

With unfinished business and running in the opposite direction to last year, Kelly set off from Kirk Yetholm at 9am on Saturday morning.

He set a fast early pace and was already more than two hours up on Hall's schedule before midnight on the first day. However, the weather – described as "constantly grim" with heavy showers and poor visibility – threatened to derail him.

But Kelly's strategy was to keep on the move and, within the first 48 hours, he had only one hour's sleep. After a couple of short naps on the second night, he was around three and a half hours ahead of schedule, which he succeeded in maintaining all the way to the Old Nags Head pub representing the finish.

The Pennine Way is one of the UK's oldest national trails, usually taking walkers several weeks to complete. It crosses the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennine and the Cheviots. Often remote and boggy, its climbs and descents are testing too, with the highest point being Cross Fell at 893m.

Check out the following one-minute video highlight from Steve Ashworth:

John Kelly
John Kelly
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