Monday, 29 June 2009

Bob Graham support

The annual weekend of our Bob Graham round attempts has passed and successfully we managed to get four contenders around the route.
For those that don't know, the BG round is a challenge that anyone can undertake. It involves starting at the Moot hall in Keswick and takes in 42 Lakeland summits.The contender must return and touch the Moot Hall within 24hrs to become a member of the famous Bob Graham club.
The difficulty being that the round is approx 70miles long which in itself isn't hard to do in 24hrs but the up and down or climb IS. Its recognised that during the route the runner must cover about 28,000ft of up and down or the equivalent of climbing up to the summit of Mount Everest and back from sea level within a day.
This makes the challenge extremely difficult indeed. So many factors can affect the outcome. Weather, fitness,pacers, food, injuries, navigation. All play a part.
Some contenders undertake there challenge with an estalished club whilst some just do low key attempts with there friends. All challenges must be registered and each summit that is visited must be recorded by a pacer who checks the time.
Anyway like I said this weekend was my turn to be a pacer as last year I successfully managed to complete the challenge and take my place on the membership board.
The weather was hot and humid but varied enough that we had a big dowpour on one of the summits.
The best thing about the whole weekend and indeed the build up to a Bob Graham round is the people who are involved. The company of like minded individuals whilst either reccying or attempting a round is amazing.
For me now that I have completed my round its the satisfaction of helping others that want to do it. I served my time pacing then had my chance and completed but now will continue to pace and support future rounds as that is the way of the Bob Graham.
There isnt anything like it in any other sport. The fells of Lakeland are unique and with it the BG remains one of the hardest challenges there is.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Riber Fell Race

Another local Fell race that i had never quite managed to attend. So off to the race headquarters at Lea Green activity centre for the short run that climbs up towards Riber Castle and returns back taking in some of the most beautiful countryside in the White Peak area.

Stated in the fellrunners fixture list as 5 miles and 1000ft of climb it would be a tough one for sure.
It had been a very hot day and this would really affect the pace of the race. Some runners like me hate the sun, others love it. Me give me a howling gale, rain or snow and I come into my own. But we cannot pick the weather and im thankful for every run and race i get.
The start was a bit drawn out with a few do's and dont's and a safety briefing. Ive noticed this becoming more popular at race starts as the insurance criteria for races becomes ever more complex and organisers have to continually cover themselves.
A downhill sprint down the road and through the woods to the first climb and my runing vest had already been removed and tucked into my shorts. The first climb is hard but not to steep and I make a few places.
All too soon and we sight Riber Castle which on the route we dont actually pass but just have it in our sights. A few blasts down some fields and ive lost count of the stiles we have gone over. Easily twenty im sure.
A tough hard steep climb to the finish with a few cheers from the locals as I pass into the finish funnel.
The usual post chat race with a few other runners and its back in the van and home.

Monday, 22 June 2009


One thing a fellrunner can do very efficiently is EAT. You consume so many calories that replacing them is vital. Carbohydrate loading is a word most runners will be familiar with and PASTA my favourite food is a good way of putting back energy into your body. Ive eaten god knows how much Pasta over the years and still love it today.
Most of my fellow runners will have a favourite recipe that they have got which they can cook down to the second. It can be a sport in itself cooking pasta after a run. Me well i just get some Bortolli sauce, onion, anchovies, tuna, tomatoes and throw it into a pan. Maybe lob in a few capers for taste. Add the fresh pasta and sorted.
Quick and easy and the perfect meal.
The wonderful thing about fellrunning is that you get to eat pretty well.

Sunday, 21 June 2009


This is my collie. We collected him from the Border Collie UK rescue centre in Abbots Bromley. He is an ex farm dog who wouldnt chase sheep which meant his days on the farm where numbered. He now spends his days walking with Anne my mother in law and running with me. He loves running and has a passion for ball throwing.
Dont worry these train lines are now defunct.
Id say one thing about Border Collies. If you are thinking of having one make sure you give them plenty of exercise. Badger runs about 40 miles a week which isnt over the top for this breed.


A bit battered and bruised but all smiles at the finish
Ouch, to many the sport seems crazy but this is a sight you will see at every fell race that takes place

Not quite knocked out just dazed

Fell running doesnt always go smoothly. Ive fell so many times in races now that its become second nature and after a while you just accept that every now and again it hurts.

This is def not the ideal way to run down Ben Nevis in the race.

Grindleford Fell Race

Looking down Padley Gorge following the route of the Grindelford Fell Race.

On wednesday night I finally managed to do the Grindleford Fell Race. A lovely little village in the peak district that like many puts on its own little race to raise funds and just basically keep the tradition of fell running alive. So the cricket pavillion was the headquarters for the race and on arrival I had a little chat with the groundsman who seemed to be a little worried about his cricket pitch. Damage by cars to the grass being his main worry but it was a hot night so all was okay.
A few familiar faces generally mulling around at the start with lots of rival clubs en mass. This would not be a big turnout for my team Pennine Fellrunners as its t other side of the Peak as they say.
Dark Peak Fellrunners and Totley being the main local clubs.

Billed as a C Short cat race with only 500ft of climb and a distance of just 4.5miles i knew this race would set off at a manic pace and it did.
Two laps of he playing field to string the runners out and we were soon on the main climb with everybody gasping for breath an wondering why oh why they had entered. This is where i had my first problem. I ran head first into a tree. OUCH
You would have thought an experienced fellrunner would know better but nope headbutt the tree i duly did.
The adrenalin soon kicked in as three runners came by me and i had to dig in deep to keep up with the pace. But i got my second wind and managed to keep with them. Experience told me that as soon as we hit the rough stuff i would come into my element. I had banked on one spot to push the pace. Padley Gorge was the only technical descent of the race and sure enough i duly gained back four places as some of the runners who couldnt descend as quickly slowed to traverse the boulders and rocks. Mometum was now with me and all I had to do was cross the river and run into the finish back on the cricket pitch.
I ploughed into the river and clambered up the muddy bank which was lined with spectators. A few hundred yards and I crossed the finish line.
After a cup of water and a chat with some of the other runners it was time to look for my other half who was waiting with badger. He had that look on his face to say why couldnt I have raced with you.
No time to see what position I had come as hunger had set in by then and it was a quick change of clothes in the back of the van and off to the pub for a meal.
Def a race to recommend. Very fast and probably not as much true fell as some would like but for a midweek summer race you would be hard pressed to find a better one.
With about 300 runners taking part I obviously wasnt the only one who enjoyed the race.

So a thumbs up for that race. The village sounds a bit like Grindelwald which is another story altogether.