We would like to introduce you all to Steve Rhodes. Steve is a shareholder in our brewery and he is also a keen fell-runner. Since the last Old Crown Round fell race, he had been thinking about a “Super Old Crown Round” and eventually created a route around all nine fells that we have beers named after (those regularly in production). He then decided to run his route solo, unsupported, non-stop. And in Winter.
During New Year’s Eve, he decided to grasp the weather window of Monday 3 January, and he subsequently started his run at 00.01 that morning from the Brewery. He then ran from the Brewery to Little Mell Fell, over Helvellyn, across to Brim Fell, then Scafell, Black Sail pass, Haystacks, Catbells, Skiddaw and Carrock Fell. Our secretary met him at Grasmere, Cockley Beck, Wasdale Head and Calebreck to take photos of him and cheer him on his way; under the rules of running “unsupported” he was not allowed to give Steve anything or help him in any way other than encouragement. Steve was in good spirits throughout, despite full winter conditions through the night-time traverse of the Helvellyn ridge, and a night of truly foul weather running over Skiddaw and Carrock Fell. He completed this extraordinary personal – and very lonely – challenge at 07.40 on Tuesday 4 January, having run 129kms with 6,655m elevation over 31hrs and 40mins and burnt 7,701 cals. He stopped for under 10 mins at Grasmere to change out of his winter shell clothing at 08.00 and again at Wasdale Head at 16.50 to put his night running shell clothing back on; apart from those two short breaks, he ran continually (walking up the steeper sections).
No one has done this before, as far as we can tell, and so he currently holds the Fastest Known Time (wonderfully abbreviated to FKT, which is how he must have felt at the end of it all). Having logged his run on the Strava sports tracking app, where he has many followers, others will now attempt to better his time over the same route. In the international world of long-distance mountain running, any new and big challenge gets noticed and starts to become well-known via social media and in the sporting and general press.
In light of this super-human achievement we have got together with Steve and have given the run an official name – “Doris’ Lakeland Ale Ultra”, we will be hosting the leaderboard and keeping a record of the times on (or via) our website and providing anyone mad enough to complete the run with a beer at the end. Well, it’s the least we could do (quite literally)!