Having not slept for over 24 hours, best friends Sam and Ryan were struggling to put one foot in front of the other, but they were determined to create a new world record.
Sam Whitaker and Ryan Weston-Bennett were taking on a rather unique challenge only brave few people had taken on before them, the Yorkshire three peaks challenge – three times in a row.
The duo already held the record for the least amount of time taken to complete the double ascent, but always keen to improve on their previous successes they found themselves sleep-deprived and in pain as they walked through the Yorkshire Dales earlier this year.
This week, they found their struggles had been worth it was they had confirmation that the time it look for them to complete the 73.5 mile route – 25 hours and 22 minutes with just two half hour breaks – is a record.
The pair, who have been friends for around five years, took on the challenge to raise funds for Sports Aid, a charity who help less fortunate children get into sport and supports them through training.
Ryan, aged 32, of Tickhill, said: “I love to give opportunities to the young; anything that keeps them off the streets and brings meaning to their lives.
”We have so much talent in this country that is never discovered or don’t have the opportunity to compete so we wanted to do something for a charity which helps them.”
The pair also had personal reasons for wanting to take on the triple ascent.
Ryan said: “We did want the triple and double records. I’m fascinated by how far you can push the human body and I think it’s unbelievable how far you can go. I’m still yet to find my breaking point.”
Sam, aged 31, of Hatfield, added: “The most rewarding thing was knowing that a very small per cent of the population would be capable of doing something like this.
”The sense of achievement now we have done it is indescribable. Just the fact that we were able to keep going even though all we wanted to do was to stop and sit down was amazing.
”I feel very proud that we were able to push ourselves so close to our limits.”
The task saw the duo tackle 4755m of ascent - the same as climbing Mont Blanc which is the highest peak in the French Alps – but they supported each other and kept going.
Sam said: “Many factors made it really tough but the main thing that sticks in my mind is how much it hurt, and the lack of sleep.
”Towards the end of the challenge every step was a massive effort, it's hard to put into words really.
”We just had to break it down into manageable chunks which helped, setting ourselves little checkpoints and only focusing on getting to the next one. If we were to think too much about the whole thing it would have been overwhelming.”
Ryan added: “We just stuck together, if I ended up in front at the top of a climb I waited and we descended together. Plus we had the occasional bit of repetitive banter - a smile and a bit of conversation goes a long way when your feeling terrible.
”For the climbs though we tended to put our earphones in, grit our teeth and just get to the top.”
Even though the men have completed sporting challenges before, they still found problems that they had not anticipated, but found the strength to push through their barriers.
Ryan added: “The toughest part was the night-time section where we basically completed nearly a full circuit using torches. Mentally, it was very challenging.
“I also hadn’t prepared my clothing correctly as the temperatures dropped significantly and when we stopped for a breather I began to shiver uncontrollably. We just had to keep moving otherwise I may have been in trouble.”
The duo, who regularly push their bodies to the limits with various endurance tests including triathalons, did not sleep during their epic journey, fearing it would slow them down.
Sam said: “We started at 7:20am on the Friday morning and just went straight through to Saturday morning, finishing about 8:50am. To be honest, I don't really know how we did keep going, but we did.”
Ryan added: “I thought sleep would only cause problems and I find it’s better to just get your head down and crack on. Sleep was the reward once we had finished.”
The friends said they are not sure what the duo’s next challenge would be, but Ryan added that the pair were always keen to test themselves.
You can still donate to charity in support of Ryan and Sam by going online and visiting their donation page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sam-ryantripleyorkshire3peaks site.They hope to raise £3,000 for the charity overall.