Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wainwright Seven, 12 July 2008

Wainwright Seven, 17 hours 34 mins, 63.8 miles, 18,000 feet

The Wainwright Seven is a simple concept: A circuit of each of the highest peaks in the seven Wainwright guides to the main fells of the Lake District. Inspired by chatter on the Fellrunner's Forum, I couldn't resist the challenge to check it out at first hand. With a mix of long approaches, valley bottoms and mountain tops, it would be good preparation for the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail, although it looked like a route that demanded no excuse to try it out.

My assessment of the route proved to be fairly accurate, with some big ascents and descents and little of the usual bump bagging that is the hallmark of most rounds (including my own). The juxtaposition of flat valley running, drawn-out climbs and crossing of the most of the major ranges of the Lakes makes it a classic of a sort. Most importantly, in the Summer months, it can be completed in daylight hours (I managed just over 17 ½ hours without unduly rushing) and can be done without any real planning or support. Its probably a bit long for a Bob Graham training run being only 2 miles shorter by my measurement, albeit with 9,000 feet less ascent, but for aspiring UTMB runners its ideal training.

I'm not sure that Wainwright himself would have approved of all this rushing about the fells, but it's
an appealing concept that lives up to it's promise in the running. I commend it to you.


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