Primary school teacher believed to be the fastest woman to run Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route

A primary school teacher is believed to have taken the record for the fastest woman to run Wainright’s Coast to Coast route.

By Neil Fatkin
Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 12:47 pm

The iconic 185 mile route starts in St Bees in Cumbria and ends in Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. Taking in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, it also involves an accumulative climb of nearly 30,000 feet, similar in elevation to an ascent of Mount Everest.

While the official guidebook suggests completion over a duration of 14 days, Sarah Perry, who is from Sunderland and who teaches at St Oswald’s RC Primary School in South Shields, completed the challenge in just over two days with a time of 55 hours and 26 minutes.

Sarah, 30, said: “I started at 4am on the Friday morning of half-term (October 28th) and I finished on the Sunday morning. I was thrilled to complete it. The last 15 miles was a real slog but it was also my fastest stage. There was a point on the moors when I looked at my time and the time I had left and I didn’t think I was going to do it.”

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Aside from the gruelling distance, terrain and lack of sleep running through the night, the biggest challenge for Sarah was the inclement autumnal weather.

She added: “There was so much rain in the Lake District that a lot of the roads were flooded. There was one slip road where I was supposed to meet my support team but they couldn’t get there because of the awful weather.

"The last section into Robin Hood’s Bay was also very windy.”

Primary school teacher Sarah Perry who is believed to be the fastest woman to complete Wainwright's Coast to Coast route. Photograph: Ian Burns

It was the second time Sarah had taken on the challenge and having fallen short of the record she was determined to be successful second time around.

Sarah said: “I did the same route in April last year but unfortunately came up short in 62 hours. I was really disappointed in my time but within a week of finishing I knew I had to do it again and get a faster time. I did it purely for the challenge and I was so focused on getting the fastest time this time around.”

Sarah recorded her time on the ultra running website FKT (Fastest Known Time) which ranks her as the fastest female to complete the route.

Sarah Perry (right) running through the Lake District with some of her support team. Photograph: Ian Burns

According to the website, the previous fastest known time was by fellow ultra runner Sabrina Verjee who recently broke the record for completing all of the Lake District’s 214 Wainwright peaks.

Sarah said: “Sabrina had previously completed the route in 55 hours and 59 minutes and to show her support she even came along and joined me on part of the route. In total, I had a team of 22 people who either joined me for part of the route or provided support.”

Sarah got into ultra running “a few years ago” and in the last 13 months has completed four different versions of the Coast to Coast route.

She added: “My next challenge is to complete the Offas Dyke Race in Wales.”

Ultra runner Sarah Perry enjoys a well earned cup of tea. Photograph: Ian Burns

According to the website, the fastest men’s time was recorded by Damian Hall in a time of one day 15 hours and 18 minutes.

Sarah celebrates completing the run with partner Luke Kennedy. Photograph: Ian Burns