Bob Graham Round Attempt 1

Written by Katie Hateley

The Bob Graham Round was first introduced to me via a raffle prize at the Striders Christmas do 2015. The prize I picked was a book that was gifted by Greg Pettingill called ‘Feet in the Clouds’, so this is Greg’s fault really! The more I read about the round the more I wanted to attempt it.

So what is the Bob Graham Round?! It was developed by, surprise surprise, a chap called Bob Graham who was a hotelier in Keswick. In 1932 Bob set himself a challenge at the age of 42 to climb 42 Peaks of the Lake District in 24hrs. He achieved the 66mile, 42 peak, total ascent of 27,000 ft route on his second attempt in sports wear of shorts, vest, pyjama jacket and tennis shoes! From there on in people have challenged themselves to complete the route just as Bob Graham did but with further development on footwear. There are no medals for completing the round and attempts are submitted to The Bob Graham Club all on honesty.

The round is split into 5 legs with each leg beginning and ending on road level. Recceing the route is a key part of completing the round and many trips to The Lake district were planned as well as further training in The Peak district and also our very own Burrough Hill. The other essential and most important part of completing any run, as we know, is mental determination or just being mental! I am also very lucky to have the best support team ever of dear friends from the Stilton Striders Running Club who I could not even contemplate attempting the round with-out them all.

So after months of preparation the weekend of the attempt arrived, May 26th. The start time of the route is a key factor as this will determine which of the legs would be ran in the dark. So a 3am start was decided from Moot Hall with John and Simon joining me for Leg1. We headed off with nervous excitement to the start after 1.5hrs sleep and was closely followed by all of the other support team who also set their alarms at the ridiculous hour to provide cheers and support from the start.

3am arrived and we were off feeling strong and excited. Our first climb was up to Skiddaw and we were progressing at a great speed. The weather report gave details of a clear day and a wind on the tops of the mountains and sure enough they were correct! We were greeted with 50mph winds that you could lean into and not fall over. The leg continued strongly with a great rocky descent at the end down Halls Fell into Threkeld where we had a wonderful support crew awaiting us with cheers and waves! Kaye, Carl and Celia did a fine job of providing me with all of my essentials of tea, food and more tea and of course hugs. I had great further support from others too that came along to greet us.

Leg 2 began, again in a very strong manner with Paul G supporting me. We kept a great pace up the first peak of Clough Head to face the rest of Leg 2, which navigationally is one of the easier legs. We were met by Chris (Mick A) and Matt after Helvellyn which is part way through the leg with further water and snacks. Chris then joined myself and Paul for the remainder of the leg which soon started to feel tough. The long descent down to Dunmail Raise was made much shorter once I saw the many waving hands of my lovely friends and family. Once refuelled, hugged and feeling stronger again I was ready for the start of Leg3.

A sharp climb greeted myself, Chris and Rich up Steel Fell. It was a slow slog with lots of waving to everyone at the road point on Dunmail Raise all the way to the top of Steel Fell. Once on the top the leg continued at a slower pace with me feeling pretty exhausted again and pain to my knees which was not easing after much pain relief. We reached the half way point, Rossett Pike, where Elaine and Jenny welcomed me with much needed hugs, tea and cake. Greg was also waiting patiently at this point to join us for the rest of Leg3 and also to continue onto Leg4 with myself and Clive. Chris retired at this point so I continued with Greg and Rich. My pace slowed even more with my knees completely falling out with me and the winds still remaining strong on many of the peaks. The further on we climbed the more I realised that I would not be able to continue after Leg3. My first thought was that I was going to come back and reattempt my round, my second thought was a feeling of guilt and sadness for everyone who had come along to support me who could not run their legs that they had spent weeks of recceing for. We decided to complete the leg and recce one of the 3 options up to Sca Fell (Scafell Pikes best friend). The descent from Sca Fell to Wasdale is certainly a long downhill and it was taken at a very slow pace. The support crew were watching through binoculars for our arrival as worry was setting in for our safety, which I did not realise! John and Si joined us all on the descent which helped me so much and then the wonderful crowd of my support cheered us into Wasdale Head. Needless to say my emotions took over as soon as I saw John and then continued once I saw the many lovely faces of my support and family. Several months of training, waking at all hours to scan maps and routes, living and breathing Bob Graham and the overwhelming of support of so many great friends and family had come to a stop.

I headed back to the Hostel discussing the round over and over like I have done for nearly a year now, poor John! (Bob is like my second partner) Back at the Hostel the cheers continued by the other supporters and then the celebrations began. The fact of me completing 44 miles and 17,000ft of climb had bypassed me and I was then reminded that I should be proud of this and I am! The celebrations continued for the whole weekend as in true Stilton Strider fashion, I think I was more exhausted from this than the run!

I have been completely overwhelmed with such amazing support from friends and family and also the friends at home who were watching via the means of Facebook. You all have made this challenge into such an amazing experience.

Thank you to John, Si, Elaine B, Kaye, Carl, Celia, Paul G, Sharon, Rich, Chris, Matt, Paul D, Dan, Jenny, Clive, Greg, Sue, Liz, Tom, Dad, Audrey, Elaine, Pepper and everyone else back at home that offered support. I honestly can-not thank you all enough, it still completely overwhelms me at the thought of level of support which I have received.

I will be back Bob and my next attempt will be September with some changes of route, fresh legs, determination, tea, cheese sarnies and once again immense support.

Rothley 10k

A group of Stilton Striders travelled to Rothley for the Rothley 10k on Tuesday 12th June.  A popular midweek race on a hilly course , with a large field of over 1000 finishers.
First back for Stilton was Alan Thompson in an excellent 41st position in 39min 42 secs , followed by 193rd Julie Bass 46.49, 290th Rebecca Forester with another personal best 48.57, 291st Christie Jones 48.57,  462nd Sarah Lawrence 53.07,  474th Ray Walker 54.18,  574th Vanessa Walker 56.16 ,  647th Kathy Walsh 57.29 and  661st Rachel Heggs 57.20

Newsletter – February

This month’s newsletter celebrates the success of the annual Stilton 7.  A hugely successful event which has got better and better every year!  Thanks to all those volunteers (and runners!) who helped make this the success that it was.

Also, find out more about being a committee member and the committee positions available along with details of the Annual General Meeting.

February Newsletter

 

John Skevington starts the first of three special coached sessions

On the 11th January John Skevington travelled over to us in Melton for a technically packed, yet fun session of drills, practice and knowledge sharing.

After a brief introduction to the ideas behind the forthcoming drills, Ben and Jaqui were kindly volunteered to show their running form across the sports hall. This would set a benchmark where John vowed that he would make the entire running assembly better runners after the 2 hour session. Not only that, he had also captured Ben and Jaqui’s efforts on video. That was a statement of intent. Could it be met? Later we would find out…

With a circular warm up, the runners were somewhat prepared for the drills ahead. Rosie, John’s assistant, performed flawless looking demonstrations without apparent effort. She has obviously practiced these drills regularly. It was hard not to realise she is an ‘Elite’ runner as her T-Shirt stated and her form followed this through. Some noteable drills include the A-Skips, which some Striders had been performing in the technical sessions. Up and down the runners went, with observations and points of improvement pointed out by John and the team.

Warming up

B-skips were also performed. For many, this was unheard of. For others, the B-skip was a dark art heard about but never before seen, so it was interesting to see how this differed from the A-skip. And a Frankenstein drill. If only Frankenstein’s monster was as agile as all of the Striders, he might not have been so misunderstood. Lunges – what was interesting to see was the difference in how we may have been performing these before. These looked to take 2 parts to the movement to help ascertain the body position. Will be interesting to talk to Mark about this in the Structured sessions. When the drills are new, the positions can feel very alien, even unbalanced, but everyone persevered and improved immensely.

Skipping

A series of force development and technique embedment took place using hurdles and steps with drills in a series of groups. Arms? Which arm? Now which leg again? Gradually all the Striders started looking naturals at these drills and the coordination of legs to arms looked great. The hurdles would seem to grow as the session went on and the odd hurdle would spring out from under the feet, but the jumping was looking really good fun, although tough! And a special kind of sit-up would engage the core.

Lunge

After all that, it was back to reprisal of the Skips! Everyone immediately looked more confident and improved tremendously at these. Mark A was star pupil! Then how would Ben and Jaqui get on with the pressure of hordes of Striders watching to see if John’s statement would come to fruition? There was no doubt, they had both improved and looked great when running up and down the hall again. Then Liz G looked after us and led us through a great cool down.

Hurdling

This has been a great session to learn some drills and technique. Now to practice these more! 🙂

There’s two more sessions to go in the next two months. Send an email to stiltonstriders@yahoo.co.uk if you are interested to find out a little about us or join the Stilton Striders. And remember the Striders Technical sessions take place every Thursday at 7pm, where these drills and more will be revisited. They’re great to help you run better, no matter your ability. These sessions take in various locations around the town, including smashing loops, hills (what hills?) and the pyramids. Mark Stoneley would love to show you where the Meltonian pyramids are 🙂

Thanks to Di for organising the venue. It was fairly tricky to find somewhere with availability for our growing club within some reasonable distance of Melton Mowbray. It’s great to see that England Athletics see that running at our grass roots is important, so we thank them for the funding of our fantastic efforts.

Equinox 24 2018

Equinox 24 is a 24 hour race with options of 10k, large teams, small teams, pairs and solo. It all started on Friday when a few excited Stiders were ready at the gates to put up camp near the entry/exit point of the main field. Tent poles creaked under tension and tarpaulin flapped in the breeze of a greyish day. The Eleventh Duke of Rutland must have been impressed with the small temporary town being erected on his huge tracts of land.

Mothercamp
Mothercamp

A good few of the Striders ensemble headed over to the Chequers Inn, a homely pub with good grub for a bit of pre-event sustenance and to ensure the ales hadn’t gone stale since the last outrun visit out this way. No-one from the Striders crew (as far as I’m aware) did the beer run, but there’s an option to drink a beer and run round the field on the Friday due to the many types of refreshment available throughout the weekend.

Ben and Tom
Ben and Tom

Saturday kicked off with hearty breakfasts and remaining team members arriving before the 12 o’ clock parking inside the field cut-off. Sarah Lawrence negotiated with the marshalls to arrange the camper-van to park near to the mother-camp. The array of camping equipment was proudly displayed and teas were brewed. Now to the running orders! Who would be running first? The first runners may end up doing more laps if the orders remained on Sunday. But should positions count, a tweak in order could make a difference to attain one more lap.

Jon and Debs
Jon and Debs

And they’re off! 12 o’ clock Saturday is the start of the 24 hour race. Timing chips were affixed, with teams and 10ks setting off at a ferocious pace while soloists took the long game plan, although not as slow as might be expected! For the soloists we had: Matt Gayton, Richard Gray, Ben Pickard, Brian Walkling, Shane Sharkey, Amanda Pearson, Laura Pickard, Dan Moult, and Marie Gray. For the teams we had Simon Bottrill, Clive Kent, Katie Hateley, Greg Pettingill, Jon Wilson, John Houghton, Dan Valencia, Michael Atton, Paul Geeson, Christie Jones, Sharon Eshelby, Jenny Kent, Vannessa Walker, Liz Parkinson, Sue Pettingill, Debs Wilson, Emma Palmer, Sarah Lawrence, Kaye Mead, Nick Pryke, Rachael Heggs, Katie Edwards, Emma Hope, Julie Bass, Dan Howley, Tam Nicol, Mark Ashmore, Tom Peacock, Ray Walker, Matt Taylor, Dan Giblett.

Vanessa
Vanessa

The course took runners out of the field, past the mother camp and onto a tarmaced road for a few hundred yards. Then right onto the first rough ground up to the top of a field. Then to traverse interweaving tracks at the top and then onto a muddy rutty track back to the road. Puddles were the main route decision maker here… to enter the puddles and make the trainers wet could be quicker, or use the verge where there was little room to overtake? So then back along the road and eventually people on their out-laps are met coming the other way before turning right over a bridge and past a picturesque lake. A slight hill up and this isn’t ‘THAT HILL’, but it’s a tester before a noticable kick up in the gradient and this is now ‘NOT THAT HILL’. Eventually runners arrive at the top where a drink may be had before decending down a quick off-road, off-camber trails. Luckily, it’s relatively dry this year and people can get away with road shoes although some prefer deeper tread on their shoes. The track winds down and then levels out and then the infamous ‘THAT HILL’ appears. There’s always some determined runners who nail ‘THAT HILL’ and run up it, but the majority take a slightly more balanced approach. For myself, I ran to the ‘THAT HILL’ sign and then power walked. I figured the upcoming down hill would give opportunity to make up time if I still had the energy left. Once ‘THAT HILL’ is summited the trail takes runners back out onto the road, which is now going down. For the soloists, this could tell on the quads later. In fact, the quads, the calves, the glutes and any other muscle that runners didn’t know they used! Then back to the field, past mother camp, and all the supporters lining the route around the field. This is where it really hurts for the teams. It seems to go on forever, especially the last drag up to the blow-up transition area. *SNAP!* Snap bands are passed on for the next team members and pizza can be grabbed. Soloists may think about refueling or just put one foot in front of the other and head out again!

Matt enjoying the crowds!
Matt enjoying the crowds!

There was so much positiveness going on that it’s hard to describe it all. But things that stick out for myself are things like the colours of the bunting on re-entry of the field, cheering team members, last ditch efforts to get an extra lap in, fire pit, tired non-sensical talking (myself), huge efforts of all teams and solists, too much cake, tea from Yorkshire, and John’s ‘tent’.

Clive

Wolfpac hanging out
Wolfpac hanging out