The feeling of standing at the Moot Hall at 20.00 on a Friday night, witnessing the sunset on Skiddaw, stillness of the dark on the Dodds, the magic of the dawn on the Langdales, grit on Great Gable and finally the overwhelming feeling of touching the Moot Hall door 22 hours 26 minutes later will live with me forever!
The Bob Graham Round is approximately a 66 mile (106km) route with around 27,000ft (8229 metres) of climbing over 42 peaks in the Lake District.
But it is so much more than just a route around the lakes so beware!
I have always loved to run around the fells because of their beauty, tranquillity and punishing nature! One rainy February whilst on duty on the top yard in school I started to dream of the fells; although this was nothing new, I started to think seriously about the Bob Graham Round and whether I could actually do it..... Being Welsh but living in Cumbria for the last 16 years I felt it had some romantic pull that I could resist no more! After floating the idea with H I had set my mind. I had the agreement from home to commit to it, but more importantly H gave me the belief that I could do it!
|The local waterfall run|
I decided to aim for the end of the summer holidays for my round, and with a date set it became a reality! This was important to me because life can be full of distraction, but I needed to maintain the utmost focus and commitment if I was going to have a chance of completing the BGR.
|The first SLT running club outing|
Distance: 106.6 miles
Height: 6629 metres
|Lou descending towards Nan Bield Passs|
Distance: 113.6 miles
Height: 7357 metres
Distance: 122.2 miles
Height: 10,596 metres
Distance: 123.3 miles
Distance: 141.6 miles
Height: 14,395 metres
At the start of this month I was struggling to balance thyroid medication with the demands of my training which started messing with my heart. After a bit of a scare and a trip to A&E I increased my medication and I was soon back on track.
This was the month of Jess's BG and we were all getting very excited. I was to support her on leg 1, 4 and 5 on the first weekend of the summer holidays.
I learned lots supporting Jess on her BG, about how it was to be organised and also how to get the best out of your supporters. Running into the Moot Hall with Jess, I had to hold back the tears. I was so pleased for her and really proud to have been part of her preparation and round itself.
The following week I was off to the Alps for some sun and training on a family holiday.
We based ourselves at the foot of Alpe d' Huez and I found a few Alps to yomp up, trying to hit 1000 metres each time at a sustained pace.
After every run a dip in the swimming pool with the boys was just what was needed. I mixed my training with a few cols on the road bike and basic strength and stretching exercises (I was usually joined by the little men on the blanket for this - which was quite funny to watch!).
The hardest part of the trip was walking 6 hours + around Disneyland carrying the little man who was too scared of the characters! This was supposed to be a rest day!
Distance: 110.3 miles
Height: 11,721 metres
My Bob Graham Round
Friday 1st September 20.00 (Schedule 23:38)
Leg 2 - Threlkeld to Dunmail
Leg 3 - Dunmail to Wasdale
Leg 4 - Wasdale to Honister
Leg 5 - Honister to Keswick
Finishing Time: 22 hours 26 mins (ahead of schedule)
What Worked For Me
Earn as many brownie points at home as possible all the time! You will need them for the amount of commitment needed!
Choose your support team wisely. What do you need? Who do you need and when? Who will calm you down on Leg 1 and who will not put up with your moaning on Yewbarrow!
Put a provisional date in the diary and go for it!
Unless you're wanting to beat the record Lords Rake and West Wall Traverse is great and does not lose much time or cost energy! It is also a fun way up!
Choose your kit wisely and practice with it- Salomon high gaiters were a god send throughout, keeping bog out as well as supporting and protecting ankles and keeping feet warm!
I ran with a Petzl Nao + head torch with the belt kit; It was awesome and lasted leg 1, 2 and what I needed on Leg 3.
Practice eating and drinking during training runs and don't try anything new on the round, stick to what you know. I liked to eat ready salted crisps and banana malt loaf. Whatever works for you!
Look after your feet in training and on the round! Vaseline worked its magic! Not one blister!
Recce the route and know your pace! Get your pace right and the rest will follow.
Get a training mantra- this kept me mentally strong! 'Learn to Suffer'
Before your round try and sleep, I found this difficult but get something to take your mind off the round, tapering is harder than the training itself if you get bored easily and can't sit still!
Find someone who is as crazy as you to train with!