Dou­ble suc­cess in clas­sic Lakes moun­tain chal­lenge

Macclesfield Express - - BUSINESS -

THE Bob Gra­ham Round is not a race, ex­cept against the clock. The chal­lenge is to com­plete a con­tin­u­ous cir­cuit of 42 Lake­land sum­mits within 24 hours, start­ing and fin­ish­ing in Keswick.

The iconic 66-mile chal­lenge is at­tempted by around 100 fell run­ners each year with around one in three be­ing suc­cess­ful.

Carl Hanaghan and Gra­ham Brown com­pleted their rounds over June 16 and 17.

Gra­ham summed up the ex­pe­ri­ence: “The Bob is by far the hard­est thing I’ve done both phys­i­cally and men­tally.”

For Carl, this was his sec­ond at­tempt. “Last year I had a cold set­ting in and in­jured my­self half­way round. This year was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence, both phys­i­cally and men­tally and I was so happy to have fin­ished. But the one con­stant is the sup­port I was given from my friends from Macc Har­ri­ers and from peo­ple I barely know from the wider fell run­ning com­mu­nity. With­out that sup­port, I would never have got around.”

Gra­ham agreed, adding: “None of it would have been pos­si­ble with­out the ca­ma­raderie and sup­port of the Har­ri­ers, and oth­ers, who made it to the Lakes, as well as those who sup­ported my train­ing or of­fered en­cour­age­ment along the way.” Carl and Gra­ham had sep­a­rate sup­port teams to im­prove the chances of them both get­ting round. Gra­ham ex­plained: “De­spite start­ing to­gether we al­ways knew that we’d split up on route (Carl is both much younger and faster than me), but in the end the last 10 miles was the only sec­tion we weren’t within shout­ing dis­tance.”

Nav­i­ga­tors and pac­ers sup­port the run­ners and wit­ness their ar­rival at each sum­mit. A road crew also pro­vides food and drink. Carl’s first words on ar­rival at Was­dale car park were: “Any­one got toe­nail clip­pers?” Some­one did! With 27,000ft of climb­ing the pace is not fast, but re­lent­less. A sched­ule is key. On the de­scent to Hon­is­ter be­fore the last sec­tion, Carl sud­denly be­came con­vinced he wouldn’t fin­ish in­side 24 hours, de­spite his nav­i­ga­tor’s re­as­sur­ances. “No pain, NO PAIN” shouted Carl, sprinting off.

Kath­leen asked: “Have you had the caf­feine gel?”

“NO PAIN,” replied Carl, con­tin­u­ing his hec­tic de­scent.

Gra­ham was suf­fer­ing too: “Each time I placed my foot I was get­ting pain on the out­side of my knee, so I was glad when we fi­nally got off Robin­son (sum­mit 42). I knew that it was mostly flat un­til the end.” Both man­aged a sprint fin­ish!

Gra­ham on Scafell Pike

Carl Hanaghan and Gra­ham Brown

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