Steve and his posse of support runners arrived at Checkpoint 23 (Rannerdale Car Park by Crummock Water) at 1215. The schedule had been to arrive by 1105 so although Steve is 50 minutes behind, he has made up an hour after leaving the previous checkpoint 110 minutes behind the schedule.
As before he has been moving reasonably quickly once he got going and Sam Ware who ran leg 22 with him to Crummock Water explained that, “Steve was moving well up hill and knocked 30 minutes off his planned split on the very first climb to Grisdale Pike”.
On arrival at Checkpoint 23 Steve sat down outside and was surrounded by his helpers. Nurse Mel dealt with his feet and gave instructions to the support runners for the following leg on how to deal with any new problems; John Bardgeet sat next to Steve with plates of different food on offer; whilst Marcuss Byron gently massaged Steve’s legs. Steve managed to eat ½ a croissiant, a mug of soup, one bread roll and some fresh fruit whilst everyone busied around him. While all this was taking place, Jane Soul and the other support crew were ensuring that all the support runners for the next leg were organised: who was taking Steve’s spares shoes, who had his food, who was carrying his fluids and who was going to be in charge of his medication? These were just some of the questions asked.
Then, just as averyone was preparing to get going again, Steve decided to have a 30 minute sleep! He disappeared into the campervan, the curtains were pulled and we promised to wake him in 30 minutes. Suddently there was nothing to do and the support crew and runners just enjoyed sitting in the sun, waiting to get going again.
Steve had explained to me just moments before that he’d had a really low point each afternoon and yesterday had slept on the fells for 20 minutes, just curling up on the spot and falling asleep on the grass. I presume he had decided that he may as well sleep on a bed now, and try and preempt the afternoon low point.
It is clear that as Steve gets more tired, his fluid intake is switching from a combination of water and electrolyte to a greater proportion of flat coke. Obviously the need for instant sugar and caffeine are driving Steve's appetite.
It is also clear that Steve's general health is now suffering. This is no longer about sore feet and tired legs but total systemic body exhaustion. After sucking on his asthma inhaler, Steve has a productive chesty cough that might keep some people off work for the day! When you glance at Steve, some times he looks a little jaded but on other occasions you can see a deeply drawn expression on his face that only comes with extreme fatigue.
The support runners assure us that each time Steve gets going on the fells, he is chatty and seems much better than when he stops and rest. Apparently we are only witnessing Steve at his lowest points at each of the checkpoints.
And then he appears! The campervan door swings open and Steve steps out with an obvious sense of purpose. “Right, lets get going”
Steve and support runners Sam Ware, Vicky Ware, Howard Leslie, Craig Smith and Andy Slatery set off at 1305. The original schedule should seen them leaving at 1115 but Steve was still confident that he'd be moving quicker than his schedule once on the fells and would make up time on the long leg to Newlands Hause. According to his Scedule he is due there at 1818 this evening...
...and there is just the final leg into Keswick and, fingers crossed, a new Wainwright record.
As I put this blog live Steve is approaching the summit of Whiteless Pike. His original ETA was 1306 and at 1410 he is only a few 100m's from the summit. It looks like he has already made time up on his schedule.
Below are some pictures from the previous leg.