Guided Bob Graham Rounds

We offer 1, 2 or 3 day rounds, depending on what your chosen time scale is.

A Bob Graham Round is one of the most coveted rounds in the UK still. There are 3 major rounds and the Bob Graham is one of the most accessible and possibly the easiest of the 3. 

We know 1st hand what it takes to get round this 66 mile and 27'000+ ft round, as Charlie has done it twice so far and help on many rounds for other folk. 

Lets be honest here, the traditional way to get round the BG is to train on the course for a year or more for some people, then contact the BG Club, enlist your local running club or your mates to help you achieve your goal. Its still the tried and tested method, but times change. 

Not everyone is set on getting round it in 24 hours and some folk aren't members of a running club, or just don't have the time to train on the course. 

On this basis we have decided to offer the service of a guided round to those who feel they would like to take advantage of this. 

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Jack Simpson on the summit of Dollywagon Pike on his successful sub 22 hour round in 2014 ©Mountain Run

Mountain Run have a pool of unique mountain runners all based in the Lake District and some further afield who know the route like the back of their hands, are able to navigate to a high level and are also experienced BGR club members, meaning most of them have also completed a round, either supported or sometimes unsupported in a multitude of times and styles. 

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Charlie, Damian Hall and Pup Harris on Dollywagon Pike during Damian's and Charlie's successful round in July this year ©Mountain Run

We are understanding that it takes more than just fitness and grit to get round the Bob Graham, it takes mental strength, physical agility, a complete desire to achieve this goal, mountain skills and an understanding of the mountains and the type of weather that might be experienced when running in them. Combined with all this, you need an experienced team of guides to navigate and hold your kit at the same time, whilst making sure you are on pace, fed and watered. 

24 hour rounds, the way it works: 

In order for us to deiced whether you are ready and capable of completing the round, we need to have an in depth phone conversation with you and then get a half days running in the Lakes to see your mountain skills and running form. This will enable us to be honest with you about timescale and completion of the round. 

Once this is ticked, we will then supply you a realistic training plan and set a date for your round. (We understand that the weather doesn't always play ball and that we need to build some flexibly into the system, so the set date can be moved, assuming all the guides are able to move as well, but there maybe some associated cost with this)

It is a good idea, but not 100% necessary, to half another half days run around 6 weeks prior to the round to assess your fitness again and make sure you are ready. 

On the day: 

We will plan to meet at Moot Hall about 45 minutes prior to setting off. This will give us time to get ready, make sure you have everything you need and give us 15 minutes slack to prepare mentally. 

Road support: 

We can also supply road support, but this will bump up the associated costs as the road supporter will need to be paid as well and the cost of the fuel and travel will need to be covered, so we encourage you to provide your own road support to keep the costs to a minimum. 

Road support can be very tiring, so if you provide your own we suggest you get 2 folk to help, rather than one, this will give them both a chance to sleep and make sure their driving is as safe as possible. 

What will it cost? 

Guiding: The guiding will cost £600 in total for the 24 hours. (This involves 24 hour guiding, navigation and kit carry by several guides, some travel expenses for each guide to get them to and from the location's each guide takes over at and back home again). 

Road Support: If you need is to supply road support then the cost will be £300. We know this must seem a little expensive to some, but the road support is a tough job and the folk looking after you here will get minimal sleep. This cost covers their travel and fuel at 30p per mile, plus their time. 

Half Day's Assessments: The half day assessments are crucial for us to be able to judge whether you are capable and then how the training is going. We can get by without the second half day assessment, but require the initial one to judge your skills, fitness, tenacity etc. Each of these half days assessments will be £100. We will be out on the fell for around 5 hours. 

Training Plan: We can supply you a bespoke training plan for the months running up to your round at a cost of £30

Deposit: We require a 'non-refundable' deposit of £100 at the time of the booking. We will then discuss your progression 3 months before the date and if we both feel the 'round; is still on, then we require another £100 'non-refundable' deposit of £100. 

6 weeks prior to your round we encourage you to take a visit to the Lakes for another half day assessment and on the agreement we will go for the round on the projected date we will require another £100 deposit to secure the guides and book the round in the diary 100% (it will already be saved and guides will be in place, this is just the final commitment between the 2 parties involved [this being you and Mountain Run]) 

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Charlie and Damian on the front cover of Outdoor Fitness ©Outdoor Fitness

FAQ's:

What if the weather is bad? Nobody really wants to set off in 'bad conditions', so we will try to build as much flexibility into the booked date as possible. We can't guarantee that we will be able to shift the date, as it does depend on available guides and often we won't know to shift the date until the week or even a few days before. However, if we decide not to 'go' on the booked date due to weather conditions, then we will look to move your date to a mutually agreeable 'new date'. This will means your 'non-refundable' deposit you have paid will still be in the system, but the date may need to be several weeks or more later. This will only give you more time to train and make yourself mentally and physically stronger. 

What if you don't complete? There is no guarantee that we can get you to complete in 24 hours, but you can bet your last £££ that we will do our very best to get you to achieve your goal, but please be under no illusions that the responsibility of your completion massively relies on your training. Don't train enough and you will not make it. Attempt the round with a niggling injury and you can expect to be spat out by it at some point. 

We can navigate, guide, feed and water you, keep your moral high and judge how you are doing on the way round, but we can't carry you over the fells. We know what its like to be in a 'black hole', we know how to get out of that black hole, we know how to bring you round from the brink of stopping and we know how to keep you moving, but you must invest the time training and you must invest the time in toughening your mind so you are prepared mentally and physically, as without both fitness and metal aptitude in place, you are likely to not complete. 

What if you get injured? This is something completely out of our control. If you get injured then we are afraid you will lose your £300 non-refundable deposit. This is to cover our time and the time of the guides. There might be some extra associated costs depending on where your round doesn't continue from. 

Poles or not Poles? This is THE question (apparently): Do you use poles or don't you? Its become increasingly popular to use poles, although the hard core will call you a cheat or say your using cheating sticks, but after doing a round without poles and then one 10 years later with poles, I don't mind what others think. 

Poles in my mind are a real bonus, but then its the use of the poles, for me, that is really important. Just using poles is good, this will take a vast percentage of weight off your legs (BONUS) and transfer to your upper body (can be tiring). Therefore, if your going to use poles, TRAIN with them! 

Using poles to their real advantage: Poles can be used in a trekking style, which as stated above removes some of the associated weight and transfers it to your upper body... but.. if you have poles, why not use them correctly and gain the benefits of forward propulsion as well. This requires some extra training, and of course we can help you with this, or send you in the right direction if your location isn't close to the Lakes. What we advise is to use Leki Micro Trail Pro trail running poles (used prolifically for Nordic Walking as well) and use them in the same way as a Nordic Walker for the sections you walk and then use them as a trail runner for when you run, but in the correct angle that gives forward propulsion on every push. The key to correct use is alway making sure the pole is planted behind the heal and at a 45 degree angle, like a XC skier. Use them like a downhill skier on the descents and turn around the pole on steep ground. 

Poles turn you from a Biped into a Quadruped, can't be bad really when you think about it! 

4th July 2006; Charlie completed a semi supported, mainly on-sight BGR, non ratified, with his dog Scratch. Charlie had been running since 2003 and been using poles since then as well. He'd won the B Class LAMM with his partner Lawrence Friell 2.5 weeks before, using nordic walking poles, and waited for the best weather for his attempt on the BGR. He didn't use poles on this round. The round was completed in 22:49, 1st attempt, Charlie ran 2.5 section with just him and Scratch, navigating on the move (without prior knowledge of the route)

11th July 2016; Charlie guided Damian Hall around a successful BGR in a time of 21:57. The pair set off at 20:00 and ran the first 2 section without the use of poles. Charlie then used poles from Dunmail Raise where to two of them strung sections 3 and 4 together as Mick Kenyon (Racing Snakes) was committed to photography and not road support. Mick offered road support at Threlkeld, Dunmail, Honister and Newlands Church. Charlie said "in 15 years of running my knees have taken a bit of a hammering (I ski and climb as well, so its not just the running) and the poles really helped my knees and quads, post completion, the stairs didn't conspire against me, as they had on the previous completion".

What time should I set off? There are no hard and fast rules here, but we have some thoughts of our own. 

2006 - Charlie set off at 02:00 on July the 4th, the plan was a sub 20 round, but he lost time operating solo across the Helvellyn Range and the Langdale Section. It was hard to sleep the night before and the lack of sleep took its toll on section 3, with a sit down on the ascent to Bowfell, that turned into a head nod (he'll never really know if it was just a close of the eyes or a half hour sleep!!)

2016 - Charlie and Damian set off at 20:00 on the 11th July, the plan was to complete and achieve the best time possible without trashing ourselves. Damian had set the SWC path record just 6 weeks before this attempt. It felt much easier running at 20:00 and worked like a trick of the mind, like we were just setting off for an evening run, the difference here was the evening run finished 21:57 minutes later, back in Keswick. 

There are many idea's. It really is personal preference, but thinking about the phycology of each start time, the evening start seems to fit much better into a completion, rather than a failure. Setting off and running through the night means you don't lack the sleep in the same way as setting off at 00:00 or later, unless you are heading for a 'fast' sub 20 hour round. Running through the night is easy and setting off at 20:00 means the first section is done in evening and dusk light, Clough Head is climbed with darkness falling fully and the Helvellyn Ridge (although can be slightly technical nav from Clough Head to Stybarrow Dodd) is easy underfoot at night and depending on the time of year, you will find by the time you get to Fairfield, dawn is breaking and good feelings and energy are being released, ready for the quick break at Dunmail, which should then be reached with a positive frame of mind. The break of day, then makes Steel Fell much more appealing, if you can use that terminology here, and the Langdale and Scafell sections are extremely quiet and tranquil, allowing you to soak up the fells. Arriving back in daylight, with the buzz of Keswick still happening around you is a great feeling, so is knowing that you can get fish and chips or a pub dinner makes it totally worthwhile. 

What food should I take? We advise a real mixture and to keep your choices fresh, as its so easy to get bored of the food you have. You need to use what works for you nutritionally. Only you know this. We have seen so much variety here, that its really hard to say what is the correct choice, but fell free to ask and we can supply ideas. 

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Richard Talbot descending Fairfield on a successful sub 19 hour round ©Mountain Run

We'll have details of 2 and 3 day rounds soon.... 

Check out this great little Salomon Film of Ricky Lightfoot on 'HIS' Bob Graham Round

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Contact

07989 697487 • enquiries@mountainrun.co.uk

Bell Cottage, Greenside Mines, ​Glenridding, ​Penrith. ​CA11 0QR

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