Five fell runners closely associated with Cicerone Press have completed the Bob Graham Round in Cumbria's Lake District. Are there more of you out there?
In 1932 a hotelier of Keswick called Bob Graham, at the age of 42, completed a 66 mile, 27,000 ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the English Lake District within 24 hours. Since then, this iconic challenge known as The Bob Graham Round has been completed by some of the greatest names in fell running – Joss Naylor, Billy Bland (who still holds the record for the fastest time), as well as our very own Cicerone authors Ronald Turnbull, Andy Walmsley and Damian Hall, our designer Caroline’s husband Eric Draper (who completed a double round in 50 hours and 35 minutes) and now Joe, son of Jonathan and Lesley Williams at Cicerone. For Joe's personal insight into his run read this Cicerone Extra article.
Joe on Leg 4 of the Bob Graham Round
Each summer around 100 ultra-distance fell runners attempt the Round within the allotted 24 hours, but only around one in three will return to the Keswick Moot Hall successfully within the 24 hour period. Joe’s time was 20 hours and 51 minutes, a great time, particularly for a first attempt, made all the more impressive considering the weather conditions on 4th July 2015 – strong southerly wind, rain, thunder and lightning through the night and early dawn and then low cloud for much of the day.
The popularity of the Bob Graham Round in recent years has been fuelled by Richard Askwith’s book ‘Feet in the Clouds’, which tells of his attempts and ultimate success. Nobody should underestimate the amount of training and stamina required to complete this run, completed within any time. It’s tough, which is why only one in three attempts are successful within 24 hours.
Keswick Moot Hall, where it all began, and ended.
Those who do successfully complete the round within 24 hours are eligible to join the Bob Graham Club. Its role is to promote safe long distance traverses of the fells and its main activity is the administration of the Round itself. Applicants must register with the Membership Secretary before an attempt and must be accompanied at every summit for verification purposes. It is one of the traditions of the Club that existing members assist their aspiring colleagues by 'pacing' their attempts, and Joe was fortunate to enjoy the company and expertise of a number of BGC members on his Round, including Ian Roberts, Rob Woodall, Andrew Cox, Steve Cliff and his uncle Morgan Williams, who completed his Round exactly 30 years ago.
Happy for a quick lie down at the Moot Hall, before eating a large portion of Fish and chips
If you’re a Cicerone fan and member of the Bob Graham Club and have a story to tell, then why not get in touch and tell us your story.
Cicerone are currently preparing a guide to trail and fell running in the Lake District, expected in spring 2017.