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Female Runner Smashes Munro Bagging Speed Record

The Munros of Scotland are mountains over 3,000ft high, and there are 282 of them. This compares with just six over 3000ft in England, all of them in the Lake District. The Munros were first recorded by Sir Hugh Munro, who published a full list in 1891. Since then, these summits have been an irresistible challenge for generations of mountain climbers.

Conquering a Munro is referred to as ‘bagging’, and some people see it as their lifetime’s challenge to bag all 282 peaks, the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 14 times. It is thought that fewer than 7,500 people are ‘compleastists’—those who have bagged a full set of Munros. The highest and most famous Munro of all is Ben Nevis, at 4,413ft.

Incredibly, a very exclusive set of endurance athletes compete to complete the fastest self-propelled Munro round encompassing each peak. Until this year, the record was held by Donnie Campbell of Inverness, who completed a Munro round in 31 days, 23 hours and 2 minutes in 2020.

Now that record has been smashed by the female ultra runner Jamie Aarons. She recently completed a round in 31 days, 10 hours and 27 minutes, 12 hours faster than Mr Campbell. The BBC reports that Aarons, who has lived in Scotland since 2005, ran and cycled and kayaked on her route between the mountains.

Aarons also raised £14,000 for the charity World bicycle Relief, which supplies bikes to improve the quality of life for underprivileged children. She commented that raising money for the good cause would help to "motivate me through the tough miles".

Speaking before the mission, Aarons said: "My journey will take me across the length and breadth of Scotland, across sea and lochs, from remote glens to the highest point in the United Kingdom; and across more miles of bog than I care to think about."

She added: "I don't intentionally seek pain or exhaustion, though I know those things will come. I just want to push myself and do so in an environment and with people I adore.”

“There's something unshakeable about the appeal of putting my resilience and tenacity to the test; being at the brink of "flow" vs being overwhelmed; teasing limits without breaking them (or myself!)."

During her gruelling challenge, Jamie encountered a long spell of hot dry weather, increasing the risk of dehydration and sunstroke. The weather then changed, and she also tackled thunderstorms and flooding along the way. This presented some logistical challenges and led to last-minute changes of route.

It took two years of planning and preparation for Jamie to make her amazing journey, and she was supported by a sizable back up team. This helped to ensure her equipment was in the right place at the right time, and she was fully supplied with food and drink. Various volunteers accompanied her along the way for moral support and navigational assistance.

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