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Jamie Aarons in bid to set continuous, self-propelled Munro round record

Written by Fiona

March 20 2023

Jamie Aarons is no stranger to big challenges. The adventurer from California, who has lived in Scotland since 2005, has previously won the 95-mile West Highland Way Race and the inaugural Maxi-Madeira 100km. The 43-year-old has also twice won the 100-mile Ultra Trail Snowdonia and was second female in Italy’s 340km Tor des Geants race. She also won the inaugural Ochils Ultra.

But now she is hoping to set a new record for a continuous, self-propelled round of Scotland’s highest mountains.

At the end of May, Jamie, will start her non-stop Munros round. She hopes to run, walk, cycle and kayak to reach the summits of all 282 Munros (that is mountains of at least 3000ft).

The current record was achieved by Donnie Campbell, of Inverness, in 31 days, 23 hours and two minutes in 2020. The women’s self-propelled, continuous record is held by Libby Kerr and Lisa Trollope, who reportedly took 76 days and 10 hours in 2017.

A third Munro round for Jamie

In 2013, Jamie and her partner Andy Taylor did a full round of Munros in a year, while also working full-time. Her second round, she did with her rescue dogs, Pirate and Hope.

Jamie’s third round is provisionally set to start on May 26. She says: “Donnie’s time, which is incredibly quick, is my target and I intend to push myself quite hard. However, I’m realistic and I would say I’m cautiously optimistic because a lot of things need to go right to set a new record.

“Also, I only have 45 days of leave from work, so, if nothing else, I need to finish in that time.”

Jamie’s Munro round route

Jamie, a social worker, will start on the Isle of Mull and finish in northwest Scotland, although her exact route is still being tweaked.

The geographical spread and location of the Munros, from Ben Lomond in the south, to Ben Hope in the north, east to Mount Keen and the most westerly, Sgurr na Banachdich on the Isle of Skye, makes it logistically challenging.

She says: “My route will equate to some 3000km in total of running and cycling – both road and trails –  and some 140,000m of ascent, which is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest almost 16 times. I’ll also use a kayak to cross the lochs and sea.

“Part of my strategy is to maximise on point-to-point opportunities, which may include the need to bivvy in the hills.” 

Credit: Stark-Images@TheStudio – Bridge of Weir

Jamie: I love a challenge

Jamie says: “I am incredibly motivated by challenges that I’m not sure I can achieve, but there’s a chance I might. A continuous, self-propelled Munro round is a lofty goal in itself but by adding the time pressure, I’ll need to draw on my resilience and tenacity, while teasing my limits without breaking them.”

Jamie is realistic about the huge feat. She says: “There are so many variables that can go wrong but, instead, I’m trying to focus on what I can control, including training and logistics to minimise the risk of any issues becoming catastrophic. I know the challenge will feel relentless at time and without end in sight.”

However, she also has hopes for some good times while completing the round. She says: “I know I will be buoyed by the camaraderie of friends, new and old, who will be joining me in the adventure. I am already grateful to many people who have been helping with the planning and organisation, as well as those who will support me during the round.

“Above all, I hope the moments of joy, appreciation and contentment will far outweigh the moments of pain, frustration and uncertainty.”

Jamie’s Munro round for charity

Jamie is raising funds for World Bicycle Relief, an organisation that helps people in rural and developing areas of the world to overcome barriers and improve health and well-being through the use of bicycles. 

  • You can find out more about Jamie’s Munro round and fund-raising at jamiesmunrochallenge.run. There will be a live tracker once she starts. Also follow her on Instagram @jamieaaruns.

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