Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fell Running and the Bob Graham Round

I have become rather enamoured lately of reading about fell running and trail running in the British Isles.  I say both trail running and fell running because there is quite a bit of difference between the two.

Fell running is just running up and down mountains, you pick your route up and down. You are not necessarily following a trail of any sorts. There could be more orienteering and map skills involved with this.

Trail running seems like the same thing in GB as the States-you follow a trail.

One particular fascination of mine lately has been "The Bob Graham Round".

 The Bob Graham Round is to touch the peaks of 42 peaks  in the British Lake District, within 24 hours.   The ascent is approximately 28,500 feet and about 61-66 miles, either completed clockwise or anti-clockwise, the only rule is the start and finish is at Moot Hall, Keswick.

There has also been more than 42 peaks touched within the 24 hour, notably 1997: Mark Hartell - 77 peaks in 23h47m, and Nicky Spinks 2011: Nicky Spinks - 64 peaks in 23h15m.

The FKT still holds from 1982, Billy Bland's BGR of  13h53m!

The Bob Graham Round seems rather special, in that the BGR runners spend a large amount of time getting familiar on the fells, "reccying" as they call it (reconnoitering)  planning out their routes and schedules, getting pacers lined up to help with navigation and crewing.

One book I have been reading is "Feet in the Clouds: A Tale of Fell Running and Obsession" by Richard Askwith.  The author writes about both his fascination with the BG Round and also gives a nice history about fell running, a subject that I knew nothing about until reading this book.  Nice chapters on both Billy Bland and Joss Naylor.

A few web sites that I found about people's BG Rounds:

A nice long account on his BG by James Edgar is here
Bob Wightman's BGR

Nick Clark might be a name known to US readers:  his BG Round Report  attempt is on his blog 

Bryon Powell beat me to writing about fell running, as here is a nice link to 

Episodes Two and Three of the British Trail Running Podcast is all about the Bob Graham Round!

Do females run the BGR?  Why, yes they do.  Nicky Spinks just reset the female record of 64 peaks in 23 hours 15 minutes, in 2011.  And she also just lowered the "standard" female record of the BGR of 42 peaks to 18hrs 12mins in July 2012.

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