Today Steve completed arguably the crux of the Wainwright run with 68km through the rough Northern Fells. He has just one day to go and should finish at about 2300 on Friday evening in Keswick.
He set off just before 0600 this morning on Leg 18. This leg starts from the old A66 Souther Fell Road and goes through to Mosedale Road and was 13.6km with nearly 1000m of ascent. Chris Baynham Hughes, Phil Davies, Andrew Davies, Schoffer and Schoffer's dog Nell were in Support. Phil had also been on had to provide Steve with a massage when he finished the night before. Chris had also ran the previous Leg 17 with Steve.
I've added some photos of Steve arriving and going through his ritual re-dressing of his wounded feet in the previous post. I think more than any other sequence of photos I have so far seen, you get a real sense of the suffering and the determination just to start over again. How many people would be able to get out of that chair again after 6 days on the move?
Leg 19 from Mosedale to Dood Wood is a monster 37km with 2200m ascent. The route takes in many of the great peaks of the Northern Fells including Great Cock Up, Great Calva, Skiddaw, Carl Side and others. Steve was really worried about this leg before setting off and was expecting to take about 10 hours. Some awesome impromptu planning meant that the support team manage to split the leg in two with an extra support point established at Dash Falls by John Bardgeet, Nurse Mel and Kate. All the transition kit (clothing, food and medical supplies) was shifted so that Steve got some decent treatment in the middle of Leg 19 including a massage! John Bardgeet said, "Mentally Steve is still spot on but physically he is very very tired and he managed to doze off whilst his feet were being dressed".
The support team for Leg 19 included Martin Indge, Chris Baynham-Hughes, Jim Mann, Nic Davies, Schoffer, Paul Cornforth, Chris Lines, Emma (Steve's wife) and about 4 other runners I don't have the names of (sorry). The size of Steve's running support team keeps growing as he edges closer and closer to a new record. We are all hopefully that there will be a big team to run with Steve on the final leg tomorrow and welcome him back to Keswick.
Leg 20 was today's final section from the car park at Dodd Wood through Pheasant Inn at the top of Bassenthwaite... via Binsey! This section has some road running and Steve was supported by a John Bardgeet and Gavin Bland who were cycling the next to Steve with lots of flashing warning lights. Lee Newton, Bill Stewart and Morgan Donnelly were the running support.
This evening I was able to chat with Steve again, whilst he paused at Dodd Wood and nurse Mel tortured his feet. I think it would be fair to say that Steve's discomfort and pain whilst moving has leveled off but his speed has dropped. He is clearly knackered in a deep and fundamental way to such an extend that at times he was clearly disconnecting from the conversation surrounding him and drifting off into semi conscious waking. Just as quickly he would snap back to the reality of the situation (often when nurse Mel inflicted some pain!) and we talked about the surge of adrenalin tomorrow will bring, knowing that if he just walks to Keswick, he will almost certianly break the record.
Steve is not planning to walk though and with ten hours in hand over Joss Naylor's 27 year old record, he is determined to make it count tomorrow.