Lea Dunning, Pennine Way 1984
Close to my heart
In 1984 aged 20 my dad ran The Pennine Way, the UK’s oldest national trail, starting a story nearly 40 years in the making. Now, as I approach my 30th Birthday, I’m going to follow in his footsteps.
On 31 May 2021 I will take on the 267 mile journey from Kirk Yetholm in Scotland to Edale in England, crossing some of the most amazing natural scenery the United Kingdom has to offer.
I’ll be raising money for RETHINK, a charity which is close my heart - one that saved my life and after one evening of meeting other people with mental health problems and their carers turned my life around for the better.
The Pennines have always been a special place for me. Not only did my dad complete The Pennine Way in 1984 but my grandmother and aunt live in the Rochdale area – in fact, the first run on my road to recovery was the Rochdale 10k. Like my dad, I’m a passionate Rochdale AFC fan and we’ve travelled across the Pennines countless times over the years for home games and family visits. Every time I’d look out of the car window across the moorland thinking to myself “one day I’ll conquer that”, and finally 2021 will be the year!
The Pennine Way is a National Trail in England, with a small section in Scotland. The trail stretches for 268 miles (431 km) from Kirk Yetholm just inside the Scottish border, passing through Northumberland National Park and the Yorkshire Dales and ending in Edale, in the northern Derbyshire Peak District. The path runs along the Pennine hills, sometimes described as the "backbone of England". Although not the United Kingdom's longest National Trail (this distinction belongs to the 630-mile (1,014 km) South West Coast Path), it is according to The Ramblers "one of Britain's best known and toughest".
I’ll be joined along the way by my dad and some of my fantastic running friends. I'll also be taking the opportunity to reconnect with the family I've not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, I'll be working with an incredible documentary maker to capture this cross generational journey
MY PENNINE ROUTE
Retired RAF aircrew and survival expert after full service. Trained to survive in the most remote places on the planet. The “Oracle” of knowledge when it comes to planning, camping and skill training
Eric Keeler (@run.The.usa) & James Dunn (@morningcoffeerun)
a wealth of experience in ultra-running and adventure. Eric ran across the United States of America, while James has completed marathons in some the most remote places in the world. In 2020. Before COVID-19, they ran across Luxemburg.
Personal trainer and passionate for better mental health, developing others and sharing the benefits of physical exercise. He is in charge over the course of a year to help me physically prepare for what lies ahead.
Award winning documentary filmmaker & photographer based in Birmingham, UK. Paul has worked with a variety of clients both nationally and internationally in film production, photography and workshop facilitation, including The British Council, University of Birmingham, TEDx, Beatfreeks among many others.