John Boothman has already taken part in some serious ultra challenges, but this was his most serious challenge to date. A race of 268 miles from Derbyshire through mountainous country along the Pennine way and finishing almost at the Scottish border. Not only that, but in the short wintry days of January. A daunting challenge for anyone, let alone a chap in his fifties. Early on, John started to suffer with his feet and it was not long after that that he started to lose toenails. However, at each checkpoint, he had them re-bandaged up and he continued with his amazing resilience despite the pain and discomfort. However, this prevented him from doing a bit of gentle jogging on the easy downhill stretches. Not only that, but he was using walking poles and he started developing blisters on his hands from using those. As he went through nearby Horton in Ribblesdale, he was looking quite determined and cheerful, but after walking through the night after only having one and a half hours sleep on the floor at Dufton, he was looking very tired when he arrived at the checkpoint at Alston. However, a few hours sleep in the afternoon seemed to perk him up and he set off on the next long stretch which took him 20 hours to complete. By this point, John was getting out of synch with the daylight hours. At Alston, he slept during the day and he did the same at Bellingham. In each case, he was only there around five hours, so his sleep time in each case must have been around four hours. However, sleeping during the day meant that he was navigating some serious mountain routes in the dark. From Alston, John seemed to pick up a new lease of life and from Bellingham, he set off with grit and determination, knowing that these last two legs could be crucial. He was at that point in 8th position, but he was starting to close in on the runner in front. At the last normal check point before the mountainous stretch to the finish, John was still lying in 8th position, but the chap in front was starting to tire, whilst John kept going. By the climber's mountain hut just six miles from the finish, John was in 7th position and he left there at such a pace, no one was going to catch him. So after six days on his feet with just over 21 hours rest, John came home where he had a shower and the medics once more gave some attention to his bleeding feet. It was an amazing feat of endurance from an amazing athlete.
This was also an amazing race for another reason. The winner was a woman, who not only won the race but she also beat the men's record by twelve hours. In addition, she had recently given birth and was still breast feeding and she was expressing milk each day to keep her baby going until she completed the race. When asked to comment on setting the new record, she allegedly said that she had to get the race finished with so that she could get home to feed her baby! Her name is Jasmin Paris. She is a truly remarkable woman and she is an inspiration to women everywhere.