Over a long period of time, humans have exploited the planet by littering the environment and not taking care of the resources provided to us. While everyone adds up to the environmental problems, there is rarely anyone who takes steps to improve the surroundings. This ultramarathon runner took a step to better the environment by not only running an iconic 268-mile trail but also picking litter on his way.
Damian Hall is a 44-year-old top ultra-marathon runner who completed the iconic route from Kirk Yetholm in Scottish Borders to Edale, Derbyshire, which includes a section along Hadrian’s wall. It took him 61 hours, 34 minutes to cover the entire route. He beat the previous record by more than three hours.
For those who are unaware, The Pennine Way is Great Britain’s oldest and arguably toughest National Trail. Much of it is remote, boggy hills, with a total ascent that exceeds the height of Mount Everest.
It is a popular trail among hikers who usually take 16-19 days to complete it but Hall battled sleep exhaustion and tough weather conditions along the way and completed it in two-and-a-half-days.
Hall was accompanied by a team of pacers who helped clean the famous trail of litter as they ran, stuffing it in their packs before handing it to support team members at road crossing meet-up points.
— Damian Hall (@Ultra_Damo) July 26, 2020
When Hall completed the route, he said, “I feel overwhelmed, really. I remember writing about Mike Hartley’s 1989 record in Pennine Way guidebook before I got into running and thinking ‘That’s insane, I could never do that!’
Hall thinks that it wouldn’t be possible for him to make it happen without the support of his road crew, pacers, and the people he met along the way. According to him, when he had his inevitable low spells, his incredible team got him through them.
Another thing that motivated him to get through his goal was FFF that he had written on his right arm with a permanent marker as a reminder. The FFF stands for his family, friends, and future- the latter relating to our need to protect the planet.
In his words, “There wasn’t lots of litter on the trails, but we picked up anything we saw. The road support crew did likewise from the places they met along the way. Also, the whole attempt has been certified as ‘carbon negative’ by Our Carbon, as has all my running and my family’s lifestyle for 2020.”
The record which hall has beaten was set up by his friend John Kelly (64 hours 46 minutes) who is an American ultramarathon runner now based in England. Before John, the record remained unbeaten for 31 years belonging to a legend of the long-distance running sport, Mike Hartley who ran 65 hours 20 minutes in 1989.
Kelly undertook the route from south to north, starting in Edale, while Hall followed in the footsteps of Hartley and undertook the route from north to south. Either way, it is no denying the fact that the route is regarded as one of the toughest one in the UK.
Even though Hall and Kelly made separate attempts but they swapped information while they placed a high-stakes hot beverage side bet on the outcome. Kelly lost and has since had his first sip of English tea.