Steve arrived at checkpoint 22 at Hobcarton Car Park in Whinlatter Forest at 0900 this morning. This was 53 minutes down on his schedule. However, he had left the previous checkpoint (Pheasant Inn) at 0525 this morning having planned originally to leave at 0319. Basically, Steve is moving quicker than his schedule on the hill but taking longer than planned at each of the transitions points. They had planned to leave the Pheasant Inn at 0425 this morning but the extra hour was taken up with additional care for Steve's feet and 're-moulding' of his running shoes... they needed to cut strategic holes in the sides, to match the swelling around the worst of Steve blisters.
On Leg 21 to Whinlatter Steve was supported by Graham Watson, Jim Davies (who continues to provide some much needed massage at the support points and on the hill), Howard Seal, Nina Walkinshaw, Lee Newton, Nick Rae and Andrew Davies.
The medical team have also started to be concerned about Steve deteriorating condition. The pain from his blisters and swelling feet, after being relatively stable for the last few days, has markedly increased overnight. Doc Alison described Steve as, "Weepy and concerned about how on earth he was going to get started this morning"...
... but get going Steve did and as has been the pattern for the last few days, Steve was slow for the first 30 minutes and then built a head of steam. His support runners on the leg said he was moving strongly up hill but struggling on the downhill.
On the final descent into Whinlatter from Barf, Steve resorted to wearing someones waterproof trousers and sliding down the steepest sections on his bum! The true magnitude of a continuous Wainwright run and the physical stress of it on Steve bodies is showing and when one the greatest mountain runners of his generation is having to bum slide downhill, you know things have got bad! Usually Steve is fast... very fast downhill!
Steve explained to me that his feet were so sore now that he was literally screaming in pain when his footfall wasn't perfect. As if on queue, a dog began howling outside and Steve said, "Yes, just like that, but imagine someone was standing on his tail at the same time!"
Steve is still eating well and enjoyed a nice continental breakfast at Whinlatter this morning including croissant and fresh fruit. He is drinking a mixture of electrolyte and water on the fells and is staying hydrated enough to keeping weeing, which is one of the first questions his medics are asking at each stop.
For pain management Steve is mixing a concoction of different pain killers and the medics and support runners are keeping a careful note of what and when he is taking them. To illustrated the point yesterday evening Steve asked for some more Ibuprofen and said he, "hadn't had any for hours and hours"... We checked with his support runners and they said he'd just had some less than an hour ago!
There really is superb team of people, both on and off the hill looking after Steve now. They are making decision on his behalf and allowing Steve to focus on the goal of finish his record breaking Wainwright attempt later today.
Chatting with Steve while he had his blisters dressed this morning, he was determined and focused and despite being about at 2 hours behind his schedule (when he departed from Whinlatter) he still hoped to be arriving in Keswick close his scheduled 2311 time this evening, and felt confident that he'd make up some time again once he got into the day proper.
Below are some photos from leg 21 to Whinlatter.
Steve left Whinlatter at exactly 0952 this morning with Sam Ware, Nick Rae, Paul Hainsworth, John Kewley and Nic Davies (plus some other runners who names I don't have - sorry)