Kim Collison has run into the record books again with a 16:20:40 finish for the Welsh classic round, the Paddy Buckley. He beat the previous fastest time of Math Roberts, set last August, in 16:37. In July 2019, Damian Hall had run a fastest time of 17:31.
Kim, who is a running coach based in the English Lake District, had his eye on the Paddy Buckley for more than a year but Covid restrictions meant he had to postpone until Saturday April 17, 2021.
In between, Kim set a new Lakes 24-hour record in July 2020.
The 40-year-old former British Trail Running champion, who is supported by La Sportiva, said: “I had hoped to try for the Paddy Buckley around this time last year but the coronavirus got in the way of that. I then did the Lakes 24 Hour and while I still wanted to do the Paddy, I knew I would need to be in really good form to have a chance of breaking Math’s time so I left it for 2021.
“I started my ‘A goal’ training for the Paddy in January this year and then I was fortunate that the Covid restrictions eased in England at the perfect time – and with great weather – for me to give it a go. I am really happy to have set a new record.”
What is the Paddy Buckley Round?
The Paddy Buckley is one of three classic fell running rounds in Britain. It comprises 47 summits in Wales, including most of the major peaks in northern Snowdonia, and extends to 61 miles (98km) and 28,000ft (8535m) of ascent. The other two rounds are the Ramsay in Scotland and the Bob Graham in England.
Find out more in the Big Rounds Book by David Lintern.
Kim describes the Paddy Buckley as a tougher round than the Bob Graham. He said: “Although they are similar in distance and summits, there are fewer well-worn trods to follow on the Paddy. There are more bogs, tussocks and rocky scrambley bits. Plus the hills are less familiar to me because they are not as local as the Bob Graham.”
Kim runs record Paddy Buckley
Kim was supported by runners on each of five classic legs of the Paddy Buckley round. He followed the same route as Math, who lives more locally to the Welsh summits.
Kim said: “Math and I are often close when running together in longer races. Sometimes he beats me and other times I am faster. He is also more familiar with the Paddy route and mountains so I knew I needed to be running at my best to go faster than his time last year.
“Looking at the splits for each leg, we were very similar in legs three, four and five. It was the first two legs in which I gained my advantage of almost 18 minutes. I think I just started a bit faster and harder.”
The crux moment in the Paddy Buckley came in leg four. Kim said: “I was around 20 minutes up on Math’s time for most of the run but in leg four I could tell by the tone of voice of my run supporter that I was losing time. He said a few things, such as telling me I might need to walk a bit more powerfully and quickly!
“I asked for my time then and I discovered my lead had decreased to about 15 minutes. I took on some fuel and focused on pushing harder and thankfully I was able to pull it back. I was thankful for the small jolt from my support runner to get me back on track again.”
It was on the summit of Snowdon that Kim was sure – so long as nothing untoward happened – that he would break the record.
He said: “On Snowdon I had a 20-minute lead again and I knew it was highly likely I would set a new record if everything carried on as it had before.”
There were other highlights for Kim, who started the round at 5am on Saturday. He said: “The sunrise was spectacular with a big red ball rising in a slightly hazy sky. The views all day was magical and I was very lucky with the weather.”
Kim was also very grateful for his support team. He said: “It was great to have friends and supporters turning out to help me and to run with me. Everyone seemed so happy to be seeing other runners and to be out in the hills together again. There was a sense of joy all day. This felt immense for me.”
Math joined Kim for the final half leg. Kim said: “It was really good of Math to join me at the end. There is such a great atmosphere of camaraderie among ultra and fell runners. I like this about the running community.
“I had a great day out on a shared journey with other enthusiastic runners and I am really pleased to have set a new record time. I have no doubt someone else will come along and go faster but it is great to have set a new benchmark for this round.”
Find out more about Kim’s coaching.
- Many thanks to Sam Hill for the photos. You can find him at www.hilladventures.co.uk and on Instagram @hill_adventures