Gavin smashes the record

Former record holder Gavin Dale has regained the crown for the 23 Before Tea fell running challenge.

Gavin, who runs for Ambleside AC, flew round the route on Tuesday on a solo, unsupported run, in five hours and 47 minutes. That’s 43 minutes off the previous Fastest Known Time, set by Mark Burley just over a month ago. Amazing!

Previously Gavin, with Mark Darbyshire and Dan Weller, had run the circuit of 23 Wainwright summits in 6 hours 34 minutes back in March. He had also earlier done a solo circuit in 8:28 last December.

New record holder

He said on Strava: “Absolute perfect conditions today! So nice to come back again to this  round, one of my favourite loops in the Lakes. Minimal issues with nav,  credit to Mark Burley whose GPX I ran off.” The distance was 46.43km with 2,896m of climbing.

Gavin, who is manager of the Force cafe in Ambleside, later told the hostel team: “It’s a real pleasure to come back to the 23 Before Tea, almost a year since I first ran it! Today I was fortunate to have the best conditions you could ask for, and it was just a fantastic day out in the fells. I’m really happy to have got in under 6 hours following the now well-established route! It was amazing! I had the best time out there, it was just the perfect conditions.  Ground conditions were spot on, bit of snow on Fairfield but mostly it was the best you could ask for.”

A little snow on the tops

Over the last couple of years the round has been tackled by some of the top long-distance runners, with the record tumbling regularly.

The route isn’t prescribed, just needs to be 23 tops which are in the Wainwright guides, but an established circuit has emerged and this is what Gavin followed: Silver How, Blea Rigg, Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle,  Loft Crag, Pike of Stickle, Thunacar Knott, High Raise, Sergeant Man,  Tarn Crag, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott, Helm Crag, Nab Scar, Heron Pike,  Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag, High Pike,  Low Pike and Loughrigg.