top of page

Bob Graham Round


The planning for the Round started 9 months ago, but the challenge had been ruminating in my mind since I was a young lad. Over the past decade, I learned more about the Round as the idea brewed. I even attempted a reccy of the whole route over several days. It was eye-opening to the realities of the Round and did not go without complications. I was left with one broken shoe, held together with duct tape, that stopped me from completing the last leg. 
Bob graham round keswick church
Bob graham round tomb stone
Two of the biggest challenges to completing the Bob Graham Round - aside from the physical aspect, are the weather and logistics. My running partner, Marcus, and I pencilled in two weekends to give us a better chance of getting good weather and made the final call closer to the date. Support runners and having a support crew are paramount for a successful round, and finding them is another big hurdle. Marcus worked tirelessly in organizing runners for each leg, sourcing them primarily from the Bob Graham Facebook page.

FATMAP was invaluable for the preparation of the Round. When planning with some of the support crew unfamiliar with the area, we could walk them through the entire route, fell by fell in 3D. This gave them familiarity with the route and confidence that they knew where they needed to be.
Bob graham round refilling at an aid station
Marcus and I settled on a 23-hour target to complete the Round. Since the Round has to be completed in under 24 hours to be successful, this would give us an hour buffer if anything were to go wrong. The Round has four stops along the route. The first leg was only four hours, putting the first stop at 2 am, so we planned a quick five-minute refuel of food and water before tackling the second leg. We allotted a maximum of 15 minutes for the remaining three stops. This would allow us time to eat, organize our running vests and likely change our soggy socks.
We made our way through leg one smoothly, only battling the wind briefly at the first summit. As we continued, leg two brought us thick mountain top fog and rain. This made navigation by sight almost impossible and forced us to use watch navigation to keep us on track. After not eating for nearly two hours due to the inability to open my jacket from frozen hands, the descent out of the fog and into Grizedale Tarn was very much welcomed.
Bob graham round climbing up scarfel
Bob graham round running
One of the many heartwarming moments of the day was bumping into a 79-year-old man during the Seat Sandal climb. He was 7 hours into the Joss Naylor challenge. This challenge is only offered to fell runners over 50, covers 77km, and has over 5500m of elevation. He told me he had completed his Bob Graham Round 30 years ago. It was a welcome reminder of the long history of this Round. Descending into Dunmail Raise, we were 15 minutes ahead of schedule and in good spirits, ready for the first proper stop of the day.
Our support crews were like well-prepared F1 teams making the stop quick, efficient and motivating. A change of socks, a breakfast burrito and a short sit-down gave us renewed enthusiasm for the upcoming climb. We chit-chatted our way up Steel Fell, which kick-started the furthest leg of the Round. As we made our way through leg three, we had plenty of time to discuss the three options available to summit Scarfell. We decided to try the faster but more technical Broad Stand - which included a moderate rock climbing move but could save us some time. Unfortunately, seeping cracks in the rock made climbing challenging, and instead of saving time, we lost the time we had built up during the first two legs. Trying to catch up, we bolted down from Scafell, surfing the loose rock like Big Wave surfers.
Bob graham round changing socks at an aid station
Bob graham round hugging a friend
Now slightly behind schedule, we got to work trying to chip away at the lost time. Thankfully stop number three left us feeling fueled and energized - and boy, did we need it for the next climb up Yeobarrow. With 550m of elevation to gain and pushing a 27% gradient, it was time for the headphones to go in and the heads to go down, and we chipped away at our pain caves. 45 tough minutes later, and we were at the top. With the sun peaking above us, we could see the next 8 fells in front of us. It was mid-afternoon, and the sun was in full force, draining us fast out of water. Luckily, Jon, one of our incredible support runners, had stashed some water and snacks at the base of Great Gable.
As we descended into our last stop at Honister Slate Mine, the cheers and claps from our support crews were heartwarming. We had made up our lost time and had only one more leg left. We were on the finishing straight - kind of. We already had over 8000m of downhill in our legs, making the last steep descent challenging. Our support runner kept us occupied by telling us Scottish ski touring tales. When we finally reached the final stretch of country road, we couldn't have been happier to run a flat road to stretch out our legs! 
The last 9km were finally here. We mustered up every last bit of energy and reached the final straight in Keswick, where we could hear our support crews cheering us on. As we climbed the final 5 steps up to Moot Hall, where we had started just 23 and 7 minutes earlier, my eyes teared up, and my heart felt full. I hugged Marcus and took a big sigh of relief. We had finished.
Upon reflection, the physical act of finishing the Round was only a tiny portion of it. The essence of the Round is about teamwork and support. It was made possible because of everyone that supported us, all of the support runners, our support crews and the friends that came out to cheer us on. It was a day I'll remember for the rest of my life, so thank you, Bob, for creating such a wonderful experience.
Bob graham round at the finsih in keswick
Bob graham round finish


I'd love to hear from you, send a message detailing why you are interested in coaching and we can started!


Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page