Monday, 1 December 2014

Wainwrights DVD

The DVD of my Wainwrights run is now available to buy from Alistair Lee at Posing Productions who produced the film. To buy the DVD or download a copy go to

There are two versions:
1) The stand alone Wainwrights film. This has the longer version (45mins) plus:  What the Crew Got Up To (16mins) and Steve's post-run interview (7mins).
2) The Wainwrights film as part of the Brit Rock 2014. The has a 31min version plus 3 other long climbing and mountain biking films and two short films.

DVD's are £19.99 and downloads £14.99.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A busy weekend at the Kendal Mountain Festival and Fell Runners Association Annual Dinner

It started on Friday evening with me talking at the Endurance session of the Kendal Mountain Festival (KMF). Having never been to the KMF  before I was amazed how big it was with 1000’s of people around and the Endurance Session at the Town hall full with around 300 people present. First on were the Beeline Britain team who completed an amazing journey in a straight line from Lands End to John O’Groats. The film of their trip “As the Crow Flies” by Ian Burton won the People choice award at the festival and some great clips were shown. Alistair Lee’s film of my Wainwrights run was then shown and I did a Q&A session that seemed to go well.  There was even a collection organised for the MS charities I am raising money for – so thank you for everyone who donated a total of £473 (I have also denoted my appearance fee to these charities).

I went along to the brewery and chatted with a few people but I felt shattered so went for an early night.
I was up early and ran some hill intervals up to Kendal Castle to settle my nerves. First, was an interview with Radio Cumbria then quickly back to the leisure centre for my next talk. This was the Berghaus session and I was on after Leo Holding and Sir Chris Bonnington. Leo talked about the recent death of his climbing partner Sean ‘Stanley’ Leary. Chris then talked about his climb up the Old Man of Hoy with Leo following the recent death of his wife. It was emotional stuff brilliantly presented by these two professionals. To say I was nervous following these two was an understatement. I find it hard public speaking at the best of times but in front of 700 people at the end of such an emotional session was difficult. However, with Shane Ohly doing a great job of introducing me and helping with the Q&A at the end again it seemed to go well. 

After chatting to a few people it was time to leave and head south to Telford. It was a real shame not to have seen more films or talks but I was attending the Fell Runners Association annual dinner and was collecting the Long Distance Award for my Wainwrights run. It was a great night with my club (Borrowdale Fell Runners) ,as usual, collecting lots of trophies. But I struggled to stay with the pace and went to bed early (1am), thinking I was tired due to the stress of the talks. But over the last two days I have been a bit ill with a nasty virus, so it was not surprising I was tired. 

All these presentations about my Wainwrights run have been great and I have a few more to do. But I am looking forward to less of them and more time with my family and hopefully get back to doing some more running.

Photo credit – Stuart Holmes

Friday, 31 October 2014

Coping with the Pain

Here is a short article that can be seen on the Berghaus website where I suggest 10 tips for coping with the pain of ultra-running.

Monday, 27 October 2014

OMM 2014

The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM and previously the KIMM) is a two day mountain navigation event that has taken place since 1968 (  and This year was my 25th event and 19th in the prestigious Elite class. Although I have won it 7 times the last time was back in 2009 and I am running out of opportunities to break Mark Seddon’s record of 10 wins. 

Although it is 4 months since I broke the Wainwrights record I am still not back to full speed. Luckily I had got a partner than I knew would be really strong. Adam Perry nearly broke the Lake District 24 hour record (most number of Lake District peaks in 24 hours, which is currently 77) and he has just been getting back to form at the right time. 

I also decided that I would have to go super lightweight. The forecast was OK, windy but not much rain so I went for the Berghaus Vapourlight Hypersmock and Hypertherm. The waterproof trousers were the same material as the Hypersmock and like my pertex gloves were a one off build. 

We decided to drive the two hours over from the Lake District to the Cheviots hills in the morning. Clennel Hall was a great location and registration and car parking easy so we had a relaxed start. Normally the maps at the OMM are great but unfortunately the maps this year were really bad.  Not only were they reduced from 1:40,000 to 1:25,000 the printing quality seemed really bad so it was almost impossible to read the contours. They then only laminated one side so the map gradually disintegrated during the day. 

As soon as we set off I knew I was in for a hard day. Adam jogged up the first climb while I laboured behind him trying to get some shelter from the wind. On 3-4 we decided to follow the fence line and then suddenly behind us most of our main competitors appeared having gone a different route. The Estonian team of Sander Vaher  and Timo Sild gradually pulled away from Oli Johnson and Neil Northrop followed by me and Adam and then Jon Ascroft and Andy Fallas. But just as we approached checkpoint 6 Adam told me the SI dibber, which proves we have been at the checkpoint, had fallen off his wrist somewhere in the 30 minutes since the previous checkpoint. Obviously it had torn off in one of the many falls in the deep heather. This was a bit of a disaster but we carried out hoping we would not be disqualified. We punched the map using the spare pin punch to prove we had been to the checkpoints and knew that the SI boxes at the earlier checkpoints would record the fact that we had been through these. 

There was a tough 400m climb to number 7 and this finished me off. I started to move at a snail’s pace so Adam took my pack and we speeded up a bit. We were lucky to find an unmapped track for most of the way to number 8, but then I had another real bad dip soon after. Oli and Neil caught us up again at number 10, which was great as we could follow them to the last control (11) as that bit of the map was not really map anymore just mush.

At the finish they recorded our time and took our maps with the pin punch marks. They put us in the chasing start for the next day 9 minutes behind Sander and Timo, two behind Oli and Neil and 4 in front of Duncan Archer and Jim Mann who had started a bit earlier and run the whole day by themselves. However, we knew a final decision had not been made so we had the hard job of trying to put in the back of our mind the fact we might be disqualified and prepare ourselves for a hard day 2. 

Camp site selection is often crucial in the OMM. With no heavy rain forecast the key was going to be selecting somewhere away from the wind. This was really strong and forecast to get worse. We found a little gap between some other tents and a few extra stones to reduce the flapping.

We had a comfortable night – we were warm and dry. That is all you can hope for lying on some bubble wrap with a tent flapping around you on a slightly slopping pitch.

My legs felt heavy on the second day and Adam set off looking as strong as the first day. A good route choice meant we reached number 2 the same time as Oli and Neil. But an out and back to number 3 showed that Sander and Timo had extended their lead to 15 minutes. Even with Adam carrying my rucksack again, gradually Oli and Neil pulled away from us, particularly on the rough stuff. We pushed hard to the finish but came in 12 minutes after Sander and Timo and 3 minutes after Oli and Neil after 12 hours of hard racing over two days. Unfortunately Duncan and Jim had had to pull out with an injury.

After some soup, pie and chips we then had a good discussion with the event organisers (the planner and controller) about what they should do about our missing dibber. They trusted that we had been to all the check points on day 1 but could not prove it until the check points were all collected in the next day. They decided to make us non-competitive, although put us down in the results between 2nd and 3rd. Despite our persuasion we could not get them to change their minds as it does say in the rules that anyone who looses their dibbers will be disqualified. It is hard when you have pushed it all weekend to be told that it does not count but we accepted that they have a difficult decision to make and appreciated that they came and told us the reasons for it. 

So that is it another OMM finished (16 elite finished, 1 elite n/c finished, 1 elite abandoned due to bad weather, 1 elite retired injured after day 1). Apart from the problems with the map and our dibber I thought it was a good one. I thought Clennel Hall was a great location with a short walk to the start and the finish at the event HQ. The terrain was tough but variable ranging from deep heather and tussocks to fast grass. The elite course was at the hard end but well planned with some good route choice. The wind made the overnight camp fairly wild and hard work when you were running into it but it was mild and there was not much rain.

Congratulations to Sander and Timo and all the other winners. Also thanks to the volunteers and marshals it is great to see some of the same faces every year. Thanks also to Adam for dragging me round and being happy to carry two packs.

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Brit Rock Film

Last night was the premiere of the Brit Rock Film Tour including 31 minutes of my Wainwrights Run over the summer. 

The Wainwrights film was at the end. First up was some mad and scary mountain biking by Rob Jarman, then some equally scary and amazing solo climbing by Julian Lines. Following this was some more amazing climbing this time by Mina Leslie-Wujastyk (with a couple of funny short films squeezed in) before finally the bit I was both looking forward to and worried about. 

It was really emotional watching this film for the first time, made even more so by seeing it on a massive screen together with 250 other people, before answering some questions at the end.  I think Al Lee did a great job putting together the film showing the story of the week from the pain and suffering to the amazing finish. Some of the shots of the Lake District Fell were stunning.The good news for me is that I do not think I said anything too stupid, even if I got fairly incoherent as the week went on. 

It was also great to see so many people who helped me during the week and who also did quite a lot of the Handy Cam filming there to watch the film. 


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Back to Running

A lot of people have asked me about how I have recovered after doing the Wainwirghts. It is now just over 3 months since I completed the Wainwrights and it has been hard work and I am still not 100% but generally it has been good. I have written the details in a blog on the Berghaus website

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Background to my Wainwrights Run as part of the Brit Rock Film Tour

It is only two days to the première of the Brit Rock Film Tour at Rheged. This includes a 30 minute film of my Wainwright run together with three other films all put together by Al Lee. I am getting quite excited and nervous about this. To go to the première where quite a bit of the film is about me will definitely be an interesting experience, especially as I have not seen the film so I have no idea how I will come across and what I said.

The film Trailer is well worth a watch ( My Wainwrights run does not look very exciting compared to the other bits: including Rob Jarman doing some mad mountain biking and Julian Lines some amazing climbs. Hopefully the story will come through in the 30 minutes about my Wainwrights run.  I am sure there will be lots of bit of me suffering but also some bits of the beautiful Lake District scenery.

To see some of the amount of effort required to produce a good film is really enlightening. I spent three days filming with Al before I started. We did some filming around my house but also went up Blencathra each time carrying really heavy film equipment. This included a Hexacopter one day and a jib another (which was really heavy to carry but we could not use as it was too windy!).  

For the run we had Handy Cams for my support team to use, to catch the moments when I was really suffering or the amazing views. They did a great job and took about 15 hours of recording. It has been a major effort by Al to then pick out all the best bits. Al (together with Rob Jarman) then tried to get some high quality footage each day. But he found this a bit of a different challenge compared to a climbing film. The first day he and Rob carried all the heavy equipment up to Hay Stacks. However, I approached on a slightly different line than they were expecting so the shot was not quite right. On the second day they climbed up Yewbarrow in amazingly beautiful weather but it clouded in about 20 minutes before I arrived. Later that day they climbed Scafell but it started to drizzle just before I arrived. Al was getting tired and fed up from all this walking up and down Wainwrights with heavy kit and not even getting any good shots. Later in the week he tried to get a man with a paraglider and an attached motor but again there were problems as I was on High Street and the guy could not find me. 

After that things went better with the filming. The next day the paraglider man found me a couple of times. Then Al got some great shots on Skiddaw and on the final day he got a helicopter and got some great shots in stunning weather. 

I will update this blog when I have seen the film, unless I hide for a while because I have said something really stupid!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Wainwrights Film and Talks

A film of my Wainwrights run is being made by Al Lee, using footage from lots of my supporters who helped film during the week. This will be part of the Brit Rock Film Tour which is being shown at venues all around the UK. Details can be seen here:
and the Trailer can be seen here:
The première of the film will be shown at Rheged, near Penrith on Thursday 2nd October.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about my run or asking questions then I am talking at the Buxton Adventure Festival (  on Sunday 12th October and at the Kendal Mountain Festival ( on both 21st and 22nd November.

If I get an appearance fees for any talks I will giving this money to my MS charities. After all the donations that other people have made to these charities during my Wainwrights run I think this is a good opportunity for me to donate as well.