This blog describes Manny Gorman's successful round of all 219 Corbetts in 70 days, in one continuous journey by running, cycling and sailing.

Manny's 70 Day Schedule

The Corbetts are Scottish hills between 2,500 and 3,000ft, with at least 500ft ascent on all sides.

"You're an idiot, but a truly inspirational one!" (Stuart Simpson)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Determination sees Manny home

Published: 08 July, 2009 - Strathspey & Badenoch Herald

A BADENOCH man battled on to complete a record-breaking run round of all the Corbetts with a "heavy heart and legs" after his partner smashed her shoulder the day before his quest was due to end.

Manny Gorman, (41), from Kingussie, climbed all Scotland's 219 Corbetts in 70 days, running, cycling and sailing between far-flung peaks.

He achieved the remarkable goal when he reached the summit of Ben Loyal on Friday.

Manny is the first athlete to run all the Corbetts and travel between them without using motorised transport.

However, despite the months of meticulous planning, and overcoming a knee injury which threatened to derail the attempt half way through, the Highland Council housing officer's final triumph was wracked with tension.

As he crouched to get out of the howling wind on top of the mountain near Tongue in Sutherland, his 31-year-old partner, Brenda Paul, lay on an operating table in Inverness undergoing surgery on a badly injured shoulder.

After providing vital support since the trip began, disaster struck at the eleventh hour when Brenda crashed off Manny's bike en route to the final drop off point of the gruelling trip.

She bravely made her way unaided back to the couple's camper van which had been their mobile base throughout the trip.

Brenda was found there by support team member Chris Upson, who rushed her to the doctor's surgery in Durness, then to accident and emergency at Raigmore Hospital.

Manny was making his way off the second last Corbett, Fionaven, to be greeted by the news that Brenda was awaiting complex orthopaedic surgery for a dislocated shoulder.

"I was completely crushed on Thursday night with Brenda's news," he wrote on his blog. "I wasn't going to do the final day, it was all very dark. Hills didn't matter then - but they do.

"They get your head straight again, they clear the cobwebs away and flush the mind clean."

Manny admits he "hid in the van" that night, not wanting to face anyone except his two boys Duncan, (10), and Manuel, (12). "After the head spinning for hours and virtually no sleep I knew just had to do what Brenda wanted me to do - finish it."

On Friday morning, Manny set off for Ben Loyal.

"The day was sunny, hot but windy," he said. "Eventually with my boys Manuel and Duncan by my side, and a lump in my throat, I walked up onto the lovely top of An Caisteal, of Ben Loyal and it was over.

"Brenda was there with me just the same."

She told the "Strathy" how adrenaline took over and determination to help her partner finish the marathon challenge stayed foremost in her mind.

"I knew I was injured but kept thinking that after all the hard work and planning Manny needed to finish; adrenaline kept me going and I got back to the van.

"The pain and realisation really kicked in when we were on the way to Inverness. But during all the time I was still willing Manny to finish, and helped convince him to carry on and do the final hill."

She said she was "delighted and proud" that Manny had now finished the challenge. "It's a magnificent achievement for everyone involved.

The couple said that had it not been for friends, family and supporters from Westerlands Cross Country Running Club in Glasgow the record-breaking run would never have been completed.

Special thanks also went to their employers Highland Council for making it possible for them to take leave for the adventure, and sponsors the Cairngorms Brewery and Mike Bikes in Aviemore.

Former leader of Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Team John Allen and his wife, Anne, sailed Manny to island and remote west coast Corbetts during the first part of the trip, which began on April 25.

"Sailing down the west coast without using the engine was totally amazing," said Manny.

The Corbetts are Scottish hills between 2,500ft and 3,000ft, with at least 500ft climb on all sides.

The record for climbing the 284 Munros is held by fellow Westerlands club member Charlie Campbell, who completed them in 48 1/2 days.

"I wanted to do something a bit different and a running round of Corbetts has never been done before," Manny explained.

"It was more about the journey though and the record's just a wee bonus which is there for the taking if someone fancies giving it a go!"

The attempt almost foundered - and was set back several days - when Manny himself was injured in a bike crash near Strontian.

Manny said: "There certainly were ups and downs and it was looking bleak when I came off the bike.

"I started it just for me, plain selfish me – but in the end I finished it for Brenda and for every single person who helped or supported along the way. It wasn't just about the hills but the people too."


Chris said...

A great newspaper article.
Also online here:
Determination sees Manny home

Alastair said...

well done mate - hard core!