THE Wainwrights round has been completed by a female athlete for the first time.

The 326-mile route, consisting of 214 fells, was conquered by Sabrina Verjee, a 39-year-old vet from Ambleside, in six days, 17 hours and 51 minutes, despite her experiencing difficulty with her ankle during the gruelling challenge.

It was the third-fastest continuous traverse of the Wainwrights round and it was not the first time she has been the first woman to complete high level challenges in her running career.

Due to social distancing rules, supporters were asked not to join her at the finishing line, and Verjee only took a basic skeleton crew with her whilst tackling the challenge, which involved 36,000m of ascent.

Part of her support team were two previous record setters of the Wainwrights challenge; Steve Birkinshaw, who set his mark in 2014 and the man who surpassed it last year, Paul Tierney.

Verjee said: “I’m so grateful to everyone who supported me during the round, and it was very special to be joined by Steve and Paul, and then to see Joss [Naylor] at the finish.

"That says everything you need to know about the incredible camaraderie that there is in the endurance running community.

“I’d have loved to have invited more people to be part of the adventure, but in the current climate that wouldn’t have been responsible. However, my small team shared loads of messages of encouragement with me, which were a big boost.

“I look forward to repaying that support during future attempts on the Wainwrights, but for now, I think that I’ll rest up for a while.”

The La Sportiva ultrarunner began the challenge at Keswick at 3am last Monday and went on to summit all 214 summits described by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

Prior to her latest achievement, Verjee became the first female athlete to win the 268-mile Montane Spine Race in 2019.

She also completed the Cumbria Way Ultra 30 on Lonscale Fell in the same year.

Joss Naylor, a supporter of hers, said: “This was brilliant. Sabrina has done something very special and set a tough target for other ladies to aim for.

“What she’s achieved will inspire others to have a go, but it’s a mark that could stand for many years.”