Bob Graham Round
Saturday 11th July 2015
On 11th July 2015, while the sun was shining on most of England, for some reason I was running around the Lake District in cloud, wind and rain... but it's done - the 42 peaks of the Bob Graham Round successfully completed in 22hrs 08min! GPS stats report 66 miles and a bit over 27,000 feet of ascent.
Leg 1 started promisingly at midnight, with the weather being not quite as bad as forecast, and having bagged Skiddaw and Great Calva we were already up 16min on my 23hr schedule. However then the cloud and rain descended, making the steep 'parachute drop' descent off Blencathra quite treacherous, so lost some time but was still through Thelkeld by 3:45am.
Leg 2 was entirely in clag, but thanks to good pacing and navigation we had a relatively uneventful time, gaining another 22min and arriving at Dunmail before 8am.
Leg 3 saw a bit of slightly better weather, thankfully allowing the rocks to dry out before the latter half across the boulders of the Scafell Pike plateau. Despite tiring legs, I managed to hold to schedule, although as expected losing 10min taking Lord's Rake to Scafell rather than climbing Broad Stand. The quad-killing descent off Scafell eventually brought me to Wasdale just after 2pm.
Leg 4 begins with a very steep ascent of Yewbarrow, and followed immediately by a long (although less steep) climb up Red Pike. Despite feeling like I was moving at a snail's pace, I was actually bang on schedule, and again thanks to excellent pacing and navigation managed to pick up several minutes getting to Steeple and Pillar. However the rain and wind had now started in earnest, and a few more minutes gained on Great Gable were immediately lost on the descent down slippery scree slopes. We eventually reached Honister up 8min for the leg.
Finally, leg 5 started slowly with an incredibly laboured ascent of Dale Head 4min down on schedule. Once on the ridge the by-now very strong winds (I'd guess around 50mph) were driving the rain sideways, stinging our faces - but bizarrely giving me some good motivation to pick up the pace a bit! Some brilliant pacing and navigation off Robinson made back the lost time and even gained us several minutes. The final 5 miles on road was a leg-killer, but we made it to Keswick at 22:08 for a very well-earned beer! Very pleased with that time, especially given the conditions.
Huge thanks need to go to everyone who supported me: superb pacers Ronald, Howard, Mike, John, Rob, Kate, and Bernie; brilliant road support from Debs, Laura and also Bernie. Thanks also to Paul (Johnson) for turning out at 2am to bring Howard to Threlkeld, despite being unwell; to the C&C Billy Bland team for giving me a great excuse for lots of training in the Lakes; and to Pete and Barbara for convincing me to not try it unsupported first time around! And finally even more thanks to my wonderful wife for putting up with my growing obsession with running in the Lakes!