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Finlay Wild sets new Paddy Buckley Round record

Written by Fiona

May 23 2022

Finlay Wild has set another impressive mountain running record, the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales.

The Scottish GP completed the 98km (61 miles) route with 8535m (28,000ft) of ascent in 15 hours, 14 minutes and 45 seconds late last month.

Finlay, 37, said: “Like all of these long runs, it’s been a great process and a challenge to get to know it and then put down a fast time.

“Snowdonia is special but there were parts of the Paddy I didn’t know until this spring and it was great fun getting familiar with some fab mountain terrain. I am delighted with the new record time.”

He beat Kim Collison’s time of 16:20:40 set last year.

This weekend, Andy Berry set a new second fastest time of 15:38.

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. It extends to 98km and 8535m of ascent. The other two rounds are the Ramsay Round in Scotland and the Bob Graham Round in England.

Find out more in the Big Rounds Book by David Lintern.

It is widely acknowledged that Kim the Paddy Buckley is a tougher round than the Bob Graham.

Finlay’s Paddy Buckley Round record run

Finlay ran the round solo and unsupported. he felt that he knew the route well beforehand. He said: “I know the Glyders section best having done a race along them before. I also know some of this area thanks to my 3000s record, although it follows somewhat different routes.

“I also checked out the Moel Hebog and Nantlle Ridge and the Moelwynion sections in the week before my round. I found these to be great hills.

“I knew all of the route and I think this is key to my fast solo unsupported rounds. It just cuts out any doubt, or time on the compass, and allows me to concentrate on running.”

The conditions for the round were good. Finlay said: “I enjoyed a nice sunrise but then some high cloud developed later in the day to prevent the temperature getting too hot. Visibility was perfect and wind was very light.”

Finlay gives a few reasons for running a fastest yet time. He said: “`I was able to make use of the previous record holder’s split times to my advantage, trying to create a gap and then hold it.

“I use that psychologically as a pick-up as I go along. So, with the Paddy Buckley, when I managed to get ahead of Kim’s split times it gave me a huge boost that helped me to push harder.

“My strength is also the mountain aspect – the terrain, route choice etc.

“However, there are others who do well as this round who come from a massive endurance background where 100km isn’t very far for them. It is for me!

“These rounds are getting ever more popular and drawing people from a wide variety of running backgrounds, including hill runners, ultra runners and endurance people. With so many people, it is only a matter of time until my record gets beaten.”

Finlay: Solo and unsupported

Finlay, who lives in Fort William, has previously revealed his enjoyment of running solo and unsupported challenges.

He said: “It’s a nice way to do things because it keeps it really simple and you get this really intense personal experience that tests you completely.

“There’s no one to back you up so you have to manage everything yourself, including pacing, route choice, fuelling, carrying kit and water fill ups.

“These factors obviously slow you down, so I suppose I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to get a few records in this style.

“My supported Bob Graham Round was another brilliant experience, but it definitely had a different vibe. It was more sociable, of course, with great camaraderie and I loved it.

“But, I’m also content just plugging away on my own, managing it all and making my own path – or mistakes.”

Lows and highs of Paddy Buckley record run

Finlay said: “There are a few rough pathless ascents later on in the round, which I found pretty sapping when I was tired and not feeling great.

“Going up Craig Wen, before my final big climb to Snowdon, was the lowest part of the round and where I lost some time.

“But there were loads of highs, as well as lows throughout the day. Starting out is always a buzz of excitement and apprehension. Then came the lovely sunrise.

“It felt great as I passed half way and then I also enjoyed getting to a point where the record was looking comfortably possible.

“And, of course, finishing, when I could stop running and lie down was a high point. That euphoria of having achieved what you set out to do is first class.

“All the rounds and challenges I have done have been tough and they are all different but ultimately they are all brilliant, unforgettable adventures.”

What’s next?

Finlay narrowly missed a Bob Graham Round record by only seven minutes last August. He’s not sure if he’ll try again.

Finlay told me: “It pushed me so hard and it was such an intense experience. I remember finishing and thinking that I didn’t know how I could better that.

“But, it was only seven minutes slower than the record [held by Kilian Jornet]. I don’t know if I’ll try again.”

Read more about Finlay Wild on his website.

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