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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Ex-Cork hurler breaks record with epic 520km run over six days

Paul Tierney set off last Friday morning and scaled all 214 Wainwright Fells in England’s Lake District.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 13.14.10 Paul Tierney taking on the Wainwright Fells. Source: Inov-8

CORK NATIVE PAUL Tierney, who previously played senior hurling for his county, has this afternoon completed a record-breaking and gruelling trek in the UK.

Having set off last Friday morning, Tierney scaled all 214 Wainwright Fells in the Lake District, which required him to cover a distance of approximately 520 kilometres, as well as scaling 36,000 metres of ascent (the equivalent of Mount Everest multiplied by four).

Often through difficult weather conditions, the 36-year-old had been on the go for six days, six hours and two minutes when he reached the finish line in Keswick. He subsequently shaved nearly seven hours off the previous record, set by Steve Birkinshaw in 2014.

Tierney dedicated the challenge to his late friend Chris Stirling, who died tragically in April. The remarkable feat of endurance has already raised over €18,000 in donations for the MIND mental health charity via the JustGiving page that Tierney set up.

“To be honest, just getting around is something I’d value doing,” he told  The42 before undertaking the challenge. “That’d be an achievement in itself. Breaking the record will be a bonus, but I have to set out to break it because if I don’t then I’ll never get anywhere near it.”

As well as being a three-time Cork senior hurling championship winner with the Blackrock club, Tierney represented his county at minor, U21 and senior level. He was a member of the Rebels’ panel in 2004 when they defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

Paul Tierney and Diarmuid McMahon 24/4/2004 Tierney playing for Cork against Clare in the National Hurling League in April 2004. Source: INPHO

He quit hurling a year later to pursue his passion for triathlons and marathons, before progressing to even bigger challenges in recent years. In 2013, he relocated to the town of Ambleside in Cumbria, which is regarded as a hub for the trail and fell running scene. 

Two years later he won the Lakeland 100, an annual trail race in the Lake District that covers over 100 miles. In addition to competing for Ireland on multiple occasions in the Trail World Championships, Tierney has also finished in the top 25 in the Tor des Geants — a 330km race through the Italian Alps — in each of the last two years.  

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Paul Dollery

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