Famau’s five challenge

Steve took the day off work and ran up and down Moel Famau. And then again. And three more times. Famau’s Five, geddit? The idiot. Read the full horror here… https://helsbyrunningclub.wordpress.com/famaus-five-challenge/

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Weekly round-up 20-24th June 2012

Hi all

As your legs will probably attest this was a busy week for Helsby runners, with some doing a treble or more of races in less than a week. (We’ll have a look at the fixtures next year to make sure we don’t put a counter either side of the Tough Team Challenge again.)

Hot Foot up Famau Photos from Mick Charman are now available here. Looks like Jayne was making light work of the gully! Separate report of the Hot Foot is already on the blog for those who missed it.

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=183b84a4c9237fd4&Bsrc=SkyMail&Bpub=SDX.SkyDrive&sc=Photos&resid=183B84A4C9237FD4!1420&id=183B84A4C9237FD4%211420

Toysy

Thumbs Up for Uphill Fun

Although Wednesday was a fell counter, it was also the Warrington 10k which had three green vests on show. Geoff Shaw led them home and full results below.

89th      Geoff Shaw                44.44
113th    John Thompson          47.23
203rd    Janet Shaw                 54.02

http://www.ukresults.net/2012/warr10k.html

Friday night was the club favourite Tattenhall Tough Team Challenge event, and was a good night for Helsby runners as the Tattenhall report of the event shows, two Helsby teams picking up prizes.

http://www.tattenhallrunners.com/21.html

Although a poor day weather wise it wasn’t too bad on the night with some interesting running to be had and of course all of the fun to be had on the notorious railway.

Helsby ladies Jayne and Jane alongside Chester Tri’s Lisa Grantham scooped the ladies team prize (gonna have a go for the course record next year girls?) with a time close to the record on a muddy course. With a strong team out for the men, Jim, Chris and Adair were 3rd overall taking 2nd mens team. Thanks to Joe, Phil, Mike and other Helsby support on the night.

Tough team results here: http://tattenhallrunners.com/doc/2012_Tough_Team_Results.pdf

JAC IT UP                              2nd Men’s Team          (3rd)     Jim, Chris, Adair                     64.09
HELSBY TRIERS                   1st Ladies Team          (9th)     Jane, Lisa G, Jayne                69.40
SAGALOUTS                         4th Vets Team             (19th)   Andy Robinson +2                  76.55
DAVE DEE DOZY                  7th Male Vets               (30th)   Dave, Andy S, Albert              82.46
HELSBY OVER HILLERS     3rd Lady Vets               (31st)    Jackie, Janet, Vanessa          83.23
VR JAM                                  4th Lady Vets               (33rd)   Lesley +2                                83.28
ARDEN ELECTRIC               5th Mixed Team          (35th)   Karen J, Graham L +1            84.57
STAG + 2 DOES                    8th Mixed Vets             (43rd)   Nesta, Betty, Mike H              95.10

and photos of the TTT here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/timmyontour/sets/72157630248650546/

Saturdays running was the afternoon event of the Lymm 5k with 6 runners out for Helsby and led home by Ivan Davies. Full results available on the Spectrum Striders website as below.

57th      Ivan Davies                 20.13
89th      Dave Madders                        21.20
92nd     Geoff Shaw                21.42
120th    John Thompson          22.47
126th    Janet Robertson         23.01
160th    Janet Shaw                 26.12

http://www.spectrumstriders.org.uk/our-races/lymm-5k/2012-results

Sunday saw the ‘We Love Manchester 10k’, with Helsby’ s sole representative Roy Gaskill in the mix of near 1900 runners to secure a great 114th position and a chip time of 41.07. There is definitely some competition in the club now around that 40 minute marker. Full results for this race from TDL link below.

114th    Roy Gaskill                 41.14

http://www.tdl.ltd.uk/index.php

Elsewhere Colin and Tom ran the Penny lane 10k with Tom achieving a fantastic new PB. Over 300 runners took part on the day. Full results and photos available (in time) from the link below.

30th       Colin Thompson            40:16
106th     Tom De Jong                46:24 (PB)

http://www.pennylanestridersrunningclub.co.uk/Pages/default.aspx

Sunday was the 4th fell counter at Moel-y-Gamelin. No results yet so I will send these results separately once available with a brief race report.

Don’t forget track training Monday nights Helsby High School at 6.30pm

Cheers and thanks to everyone who sends me results and links as saves me some time!

Adair

2nd claim Helsby Runner English 1500m champ!

The England Athletics Championships took place last weekend and Stephen Mitchell is now the 1500m champion.

If you are interested you can see videos of his heat (heat 1) and final on the England Athletics website – englandathletics.org.

Click on the EATV button towards the top left, select championship action and choose the 2012 senior and Aviva parallel success champs. Stephen runs in the Bristol and West colours of white with a red band. There is also a video of an interview with him after the final on the Athleticos web site.

Richard

Hot foot up famau fell counter 3 results 20th June 2012

This week’s midweek sports special was at Moel Famau in the gorgeous Clwydians which was for our 3rd Fell Series Counter, the hotly anticipated Hotfoot up Famau.

Splendid turnout for Helsby, from the 96 runners in total, 16 wore the Green vest, although some Helsby runners were camouflaged in mud by the end of the race and were barely recognisable.

Tough race for such a short distance, with some steep descents through thistles (if you didn’t choose your line very well) and an early climb up Moel Y Gaer, contouring sheep trods and paths, steep descent to the valley floor, jumping over streams, running through ferns and then notorious stone gulley ascent, it’s enough to gurn even the most botoxed of faces. Hopefully there will be some photos from Mick Charman loitering with intent in the Gully (Cheers Mick!) and from Pete Douglas who was taking shots at the start and finish of the race. His photos should be available shortly here (although not at the time of writing ) http://www.prdouglas.co.uk/

Colin’s first foray onto the hills and he looked like he enjoyed the night, as did Helen Owens for a fantastic run for her first undulating outing. Will she talk to Paul again after this? With lots of individual battles going on it was definitely not a foregone conclusion for any position. Chris Baynham-Hughes has lost little speed even with his many ultra’s to keep the pressure on the men’s championship and we are all aware of Jimmy’s great potential so anything can still happen there.

Jayne Joy enjoying a steady run out in preparation for Friday’s Tough Team still managed her now traditional podium finish with 3rd lady overall and didn’t even choose any of the alcohol on offer, opting for kit instead. Tom de Jong did though, swooping on the four cans of premium lager taking the Under18 prize. Andy Smith took home a nice shiny bell for his bike whereas Andy Robinson had some perfumed soaps. The real Robbie Webster won his category prize with another stunning performance.

Joe was marshalling at the top of the gulley offering support as well as sending us the right way.

Helsby positions and times below but full results on attached spreadsheet. They should appear on the Welsh Fell Runners website soon along with a brief race report from organiser Martin so take a look here when possible http://www.wfra.org.uk

10th

Adair Broughton

39.41

14th

Chris BH

40.26

27th

Jim O’Hara

42.57

40th

Ian Landucci

45.32

42nd

Steve Riley

46.01

43rd

Jayne Joy

46.06

45th

Andy Robinson

46.18

52nd

Paul Porter

48.04

53rd

Colin Thompson

48.29

55th

David Feakes

48.42

63rd

Phil Gillard

51.13

64th

Adrian Jackson

51.23

88th

Tom de Jong

60.57

92nd

Helen Owens

63.45

94th

Andy Smith

66.29

95th

Robbie Webster

71.31

Please note our next fell counter is already upon us, Sunday’s longer Moel-y-Gamelin 11.00am

Details on the WFRA or look for race details on organisors website here http://www.wrexhamroadrunners.org.uk/

The race registration will be open from ten(ish) and is at the Ponderosa Café’ on the Horseshoe pass near Llangollen. Postcode for the café’ is LL20 8DR. Please note you will need kit for this race (camelbak or bumbag with waterproofs, whistle, compass as a minimum). This race is fairly tough at 9.5 miles and with 2380’ ascent in total.

As always, any questions just ask and most importantly enjoy your running

 

Adair

Helsby round-up 12-17th June 2012

Lots of racing this last week for Helsby runners, from Jimmy taming the beast on Tuesday to club members securing great PB’s at Llandudno on Sunday
 
Tuesday was not a fell counter but is the popular Trail up the Beast race at Maeshafn nr Loggerheads. This a great race through woodland trail leading to a scramble up the beast and was a warmer night than expected with the sun finally showing its face in what was a wet week. Helsby were led home by Jim O’Hara for a superb run knocking almost four minutes off his previous time. Jayne Joy is now used to picking up bottles of wine at fell races and Tuesday was no exception for a strong 2nd place behind her Tattenhall tough team teammate Lisa Grantham. Rumours are Jayne will be opening an off licence in Helsby within the next few months so get your orders in early.
 
Thanks to Joe and Mario for support on route.
 
Helsby positions and places
 
8th        Jim O’Hara                 38.40
9th        Adair Broughton          39.20
21st      Jayne Joy                   43.12 (2nd Lady)
26th      Andy Robinson           44.46
32nd     Paul Porter                  46.10
39th      Adrian Jackson           47.17
62nd     Tom DeJong               56.02  
 
Full results available from the wfra website http://www.wfra.me.uk/index.htm
 
Wednesday saw our club handicap and following on from his impressive run at the Mersey Tunnel 10k John Gallon stormed to victory for the much coveted prize of champagne and the much more important prize of respect. New member Tom De Jong was not too far behind for a 2nd place podium finish and fastest on the night was Jim O’Hara showing off his current brilliant form to finish in bronze medal position.
 
 
Position
Actual
Time
 
 
Mins
Seconds
John Gallon
1
26
5
Tom de Jong
2
23
3
Jimmy
3
17
41
Andy Robinson
4
21
29
Albert Berry
5
22
11
Dave Feakes
6
21
45
Paul Porter
7
21
18
Adrian Jackson
8
21
11
Ian Landucci
9
19
46
Jane Ashbrook
10
21
4
Chris Igoe
11
25
8
Graham Lloyd
12
25
50
Colin
13
20
28
Lesley Feakes
14
25
13
Mike Hallsworth
15
28
35
Vanessa
16
23
37
Mike McShane
17
29
57
Tim Igoe
18
24
46
Jackie
19
27
38
Andy Smith
20
25
18
Jayne Joy
21
23
5
Betty
22
29
14
 
 
Thursday saw three Helsby members run a 5k at Dunham Massey.
 
104th    Geoff Shaw                21.12
123rd    Janet Robertson         21.55
171st    Janet Shaw                 25.22
 
Full results here
 
 
Sunday saw ten Helsby members heading to the lively club 18-30 paradise of Llandudno for our 6th road counter of the season. This was a championship race which was clear when looking at the quality of the field and over 600 runners participated on the day. By no means were Helsby members intimidated with many securing new PB’s for this 10 miler and once again Jayne Joy continued her winning ways with 3rd in her category. At least four green vests secured PB’s with Ian Landucci looking strong as always and Colin chasing hard. Due to this being an open two lap course it was possible to see lots of the race from the different perspective of being able to watch, wave and even chat to other Helsby runners on the course. Lots of support on the course too.
 
Thanks to Joe and Mario for support.
 
Helsby position and times as follows
 
24th      Adair Broughton          59.37
53rd      Ian Landucci               1.03.21 (PB)
62nd     Colin Thompson          1.04.21 (PB)
84th      Jayne Joy                   1.05.54 (PB and 3rd in cat)
132nd   Ivan Davies                 1.09.46
172nd   Geoff Shaw                1.12.01
229th    Dave Madders             1.15.13
260th    Tom De Jong              1.16.56 (PB)
416th    John Thompson          1.26.55
472nd   Janet Shaw                 1.30.58
 
 
Link to some photos taken with a camera phone from Colin
 
 
 
And photos from Mick Hall at the Llandudno 10 Mile on his website http://www.mickhall-photos.com
 
Lots going on this week with Wednesday’s Hot Foot Up Famau club counter at Moel Famau. This is our third fell counter and sees a short but sharp race that utilises the hidden and infamous stone gulley as it contours steeply to the timely Jubilee Tower. Details on the Welsh Fell Runners website www.wfra.org.uk
 
Following on from that is Friday’s Tattenhall Tough Team, a great social event from a neighbouring running club. Teams of 3 required so apart from thinking of interesting and funny team names, please ask around at the club on Wednesday if you are short of a team.
 
This weekend then sees our fourth fell counter the longer Moel-y-Gamelin (please insure you have kit for this one). Details also on the WFRA

Regards

Adair

Jackie’s winning weekend

I’ve been running too!
 
Won Lady Vet 40 (getting younger by the minute!) at the Tansley Fell Race on Thursday in torrential rain and mud. See link for honours list!  Won a huge box of fruit to complement the giant pot of red begonias won at Mynydd Myfyr
 
 
Just returned from this weekends LAMM near Loch Awe, running around Ben Cruachan and Loch Etive with an overnight camp in one of scotlands remotest spots Glen Kinglass. Midges the worst yet but the weather was sunny and spectacular on Saturday. It clagged in and eventually started raining hard mid-day Sunday but all the hard running and the camping was nearly over by then! 
 
In the C class, Kate and I came in 84th on Saturday, but pulled back 21 places Sunday to finish 73rd overall (60th or so with age adjustment!) out of a field of 130. 30 either dropped out after the tough run on sat or mis-punched. So we were very happy finishing half way up/down the field. New for the event this year, Glen Fyne brewery were selling beer in the marque friday and sunday, the Hurricane Jack did me a load of good!  Heres a photo that was posted on the web of Fridays nights camp!   
 
 
 

 

Helsby weekend round-up 6th-10th june 2012

Hi all

Lots of the Helsby legs in action this last week

Phil and Jimmy were at the Boars Head Hill Race last Wednesday, their escapade also caught on video here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDlHlvvV-UQ

Results for Boars Head Hill Race here

http://www.fellrunner.org.uk/results.php?id=1310

18th      Jim O’Hara     52.38
105th    Phil Gillard       65.16

Geoff, Janet Shaw and Janet Robertson were at the Bowden 5k on Thursday night, full results here

http://www.ukresults.net/2012/bowdon5k.html

103rd    Geoff Shaw                21.46
125th    Janet Robertson         22.38
167th    Janet Shaw                 26.25

Also on Thursday was the approx 5 mile Deeside Multi-terrain race with lots of rain and mud to make things interesting. Sixty nine runners out so the weather did deter a few. This was the first race in a series of four with Jayne Joy running brilliantly for her 3rd win in her last three races! Adair was 3rd.

Full results should appear here shortly

http://www.deestridersrunningclub.net/Results/offroadResults.aspx

3rd        Adair Broughton          32.24
12th      Jayne Joy                   35.57 (1st Lady)

Saturday saw Jane Ashbrook swoop to a category position win in the Abersoch 10k, results available from TDL. Also out in a rare Helsby outing was Trevor Murphy (whose daughter was 3rd lady overall). Good effort on what is a hilly course and a windy day and the final mile along the beach.

http://www.abersoch10k.com/

http://www.tdl.ltd.uk/race-results.php?event=1165

68th      Jane Ashbrook            41.06
209th    Trevor Murphy             48.30  

Chris Baynham-Hughes put a shift in on Saturday for the shortened Welsh 1000m’s with a brilliant 20th place in just over 4 hours

Chris in action here:

Full Results here: http://www.welsh1000m.org/Results%202012.pdf

You don’t need a ferry to cross the Mersey

Sunday saw our 5th Road Counter of the season with Helsby runners meeting for the start in Liverpool City Centre to run through the Wallasey tunnel to Birkenhead then along the promenade to New Brighton.

This was a big event with over 2600 runners but weather was kind on the day to help steer Helsby runners to many impressive performances, none more so than Colin Thompson smashing the 40 (and 39) minute barrier and knocking over a minute off his PB. Adrian, as determined as ever, knocked four minutes from his time last year to achieve a PB. John Thompson also gained a PB with nearly 20 seconds from his and Roy Gaskill also! Alison ran a stormer for 1st in her category as did John Gallon for 2nd in his, impressive stuff.

Let me know if I have missed your PB’s as I can always update the blog article at a later date.

Full Results here

http://www.tdl.ltd.uk/race-results.php?event=1161

Helsby positions and times as below, chip time used. (A couple of names I don’t recognise!)

17th                  Adair Broughton          36.28
42nd                 Colin Thompson          38.57 (PB)
90th                  Roy Gaskill                 40.44 (PB)
190th                Adrian Jackson           42.45 (PB)
226th                Geoff Shaw                44.21
438th                John Thompson          48.21 (PB)
450th                Tom De Jong              48.41
616th                Chris Igoe                    49.37
690th                Peter Causton             50.11
864th                Alison Meakin             52.59 (1st in category)
943rd                John Gallon                 53.02 (2nd in category)
1118th              Janet Shaw                 55.59
2521st              Nichola Evans             1.18.48

 
Phil Gillard also did the Knowl Hill Fell race on Sunday. Results and photos here

http://www.rochdaleharriers.co.uk/gallery12/tde/tde/threedayevent2012.htm

83rd      Phil Gillard       1.06.27

Track training tonight at Helsby High School for those who need some light relief after watching (or instead of) England against France. Session starts 6.30pm

Tuesday night is a great race at Maeshafn (near Loggerheads) called ‘Trail Race up the Beast’. Don’t let the name put you off. The beast is just a mound of earth really. It’s less than 5 miles but does include 1500ft climb (ok so it’s a decent size mound of earth). Race starts near the Miners Arms, heads through some woods, round a quarry, back through the woods. Good race for those wanting to test their hill legs or experience what hill/fell running is about. Always a nice laid back atmosphere at this one. Start time is 7.15pm so I’d suggest leaving the club 6.00pm at the latest although if you are car sharing please make sure someone else will be there as I’ll be heading from work or home to this one

Other details here http://www.wfra.me.uk/index.htm

If I don’t see you at track or out beasting then good luck at the club handicap!

Adair

Jubilee weekend round-up June 2012

Hi all

Some results from the weekend

Four Members of Helsby were out for Hollins Green 5k Cheshire Grand Prix event on Saturday 2nd June led by Geoff Shaw. Full results below

http://www.spectrumstriders.org.uk/our-races/hollins-green-5k/2012-results

Helsby positions and times as follows:

137th    Geoff Shaw                21.20
153rd    Carol Shaw                 21.49
199th    John Thompson          23.28
228th    Janet Shaw                 25.59

Following the Mynyd Mwfr hill race Monday morning, by 1.00pm we were pleasantly informed that Andy Robinson has followed in Chris’s footsteps and successfully completed the Bob Graham round in 23 hours 37 minutes. Magnificent achievement by Andy and he’ll be doing report for the Helsby blog shortly. Congratulations to Andy from all at Helsby!

Blog article here: https://helsbyrunningclub.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/warning-may-contain-nuts/

Monday morning saw our yearly pilgrimage to quiet Trefonen near Oswestry for the 4 mile Mynydd Myfyr.hill run. Helsby ladies were able to steal the show with 1st and 2nd places from Jayne and Jane but not to be outdone in the prizegiving was Helen Moss for first in her age category and Jackie Keasley also. Great to see Betty testing her hill legs too. Although there were some lovely flowers on display it seemed like the Welsh whiskey was a better choice for the ladies winner.

Adair, Phil and Robbie were the male contingent.

Many thanks to Joe, Mario and Rachel for support during the run with Rachel out supporting her son who had a stunning run to pick up a cash prize as first Junior.

Full results now available for Mynydd Myfyr with Helsby position and times below
 
 
6th        Adair Broughton          23.18
23rd      Jayne Joy                   26.04 (1st lady)
29th      Jane Ashbrook            27.22 (2nd lady)
58th      Jackie Keasley           32.23 (1st in category)
71st      Betty Grieve                34.55
81st      Robbie Webster          38.24
83rd      Helen Moss                 41.41 (1st in category)
85th      Phil Gillard                   41.43

Having a look at the Oswestry Olympians site I’ve just noticed that the Lake Vyrnwy race September 9th, which is one of our club counters is already full. I’ve missed the boat on this particular race but fortunately some Helsby members were a bit more on the ball!
 

Joe also surprised everyone by bringing his torch in honour of his good friend Doug Morris and luckily Mick Charman was on hand to capture some photos.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/helsby/sets/72157630047448200/

Tuesday night saw the Thurstaston Multi-terrain challenge now run by Pensby Runners. Over 70 people were out for this event that has been in early May in previous years. We didn’t have a delightful sunset like in previous years but did miss the worst of the rain during the run. Jayne Joy doubled up on two wins in two days showing that form is temporary but class is permanent. Adair, Colin and Adrian and Albert were also out to enjoy the night. (I’ve picked up a Helsby vest btw, presumably Albert’s?). Many thanks to Joe out on course, on the beach and on the Wirray Way for the run in.

Full Results , video and Photos from Pete Douglas here

5th        Adair Broughton          37.56
15th      Colin Thompson          40.58
17th      Jayne Joy                   41.22 (1st Female)
31st      Adrian Jackson           44.56
33rd      Albert Berry                 45.38

http://www.pensbyrunners.co.uk/page38.html

http://www.prdouglas.co.uk/

If I’ve missed anything out please let me know

Next club counter is this Sunday 10th June, Mersey Tunnel 10k starting Liverpool city centre and finishing New Brighton. Details here:

www.runliverpool.org.uk

Regards

Adair

Warning, may contain nuts

As some of you may know, our distance specialist Andy Robinson has been building up to a Bob Graham Round this year. For anyone that doesn’t know (can there be any left?) the BGR is the pinnacle of many fell runner’s ambitions, covering almost all the major tops of the Lakes, over a distance of some 65 miles and an almost Everest-like 26,000′ of climbing. It’s a long way. All to be done in 24 hours. Read on…

Andy Robinson’s Bob Graham Round, 3 June 2012

Or… Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam

Andy Robinson's Bob Graham Round

Andy Robinson’s Bob Graham Round

If someone had told me when I turned 50 that I’d be doing the Bob Graham Round in eight years time I’d have laughed in their face. Now look what’s happened.

Setting off

Last summer Chris Baynham-Hughes and I started talking about doing the Bob Graham this year. That’s 42 Lake District Peaks in under 24 hours, including all the big ones: 65 miles and 26000 feet of climbing. Both of us were up for it, so we started planning recces, and talking to people who might help. I thought I was in with a chance given good conditions and the right training beforehand, and I was sure Chris could do it, provided his ankles didn’t give way. And then in April Chris got the chance at the last minute to join Caz Phillips on his round, and Chris put in a brilliant performance. So, no pressure on me then! Last Saturday night saw me in bed early in a tent in Borrowdale, with my alarm set for 11:30.

Andy outside Moot Hall looking fresh!

Andy outside Moot Hall looking fresh!

By ten to one in the morning Chris Vardy had delivered me and Chris Baynham-Hughes to the Moot Hall in Keswick to meet up with assorted drunks and my other pacer for Leg 1, Lee Wilkinson, of Stockport Harriers. Peter McNulty and his wife Sheila also turned up to see us off – they paced for me on the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge last year. Lee was someone I’d never met before, a member of the same club as a work colleague of my wife, Nicola. He was preparing for his own BG attempt, and had offered to help out – the BG is pretty much a big family. 1am and we set off, along with another runner (Jonny) and his pacer for Leg 1.

Leg 1

Well we kept Jonny in sight as far as the top of Skiddaw, but they disappeared off into the mist. It was dark, cold and windy, and we were in the cloud. Balmy June. I had a thermal top on, a t-shirt, a hat, gloves and a waterproof jacket on, and that’s the way it stayed all the way round. Crossing the River Caldew, Chris went across the stones to keep his feet drier. Not something I’d done on recces: I’d waded across as a safer option. So, what did I do? Yes, I tried to follow Chris, and of course I fell off the stones and into the Caldew. Wet up to my waist, and gloves soaked as well. I got a bit cold on Blencathra, with all my fingers going numb, but it’s not supposed to be easy is it? And my headtorch packed up on the way. Anyway, we got down to Threlkeld ahead of schedule, and Peter McNulty joined us there for Leg 2.

Leg 2

There’s not much to say about Leg 2. We were in the cloud and wind the whole time, and it was a bit monotonous as a result. I finished my round of the Wainwrights on Clough Head, and we plugged our way south. The descents at the end of the leg were good fun, as they always are, but then I like descending. Navigation was a doddle, with two GPS units and pacers with recent experience of both legs. I was going pretty well on Leg 2.

Leg 3

Powering through the leg 2/3 changeover

Powering through the leg 2/3 changeover

I ran straight through Dunmail Raise without stopping, and headed off up Steel Fell 30 minutes up on schedule. By this time the clouds were starting to lift, and we could actually see the tops ahead although these aren’t really very high. New pacers now: Bryan Carr of Congleton Harriers (and his collie Holly), and Simon Martland. Simon had been all ready at Dunmail last year to pace me on my abortive first attempt at the JNLC, and Bryan paced me for the second half on my second (successful) attempt, on much of the same ground we were about to cover. They both know the ground really well, so it’s a bit of a pity that the wheels started to come off at this point. Nothing dramatic, but my legs had tired, and I couldn’t keep up the schedule I’d set myself. From here on it would be the old “ultra shuffle”. I didn’t do much more talking, just plodded along, jogging the downhill sections (there aren’t any flat bits). The views were good now, no sun (probably just as well), cold and windy, but dry. And conditions underfoot were really good all day: the dry weather in the past couple of weeks had made a big difference to the soggy bits. So the Langdale Pikes came and went, then Bowfell, Great End and the Scafells, now clear of cloud, and the long run down to Wasdale.

Leg 4

I ran straight through Wasdale without stopping, now 6 minutes down on my 22:19 schedule, pretty sure I was going to be losing time all the way from here to the finish. Robin Mitton joined us here with his two dogs: another runner I’d not met before, he’d joined in through the Fell Runners Association forum, having his own attempt planned for the end of June. He’d already been a pacer for another runner in the early hours, so helping me as well was definitely above and beyond the call of duty. Once you’re into Leg 4 the end is at least something you can start thinking about: you really can’t on Leg 3. Only 12 of the 42 summits left by Wasdale though – you can do it! But Leg 4 starts cruelly, with two long steep ascents of Yewbarrow and Red Pike, and stoicism has to be the name of the game here. I just kept plodding on. Red Pike gone, and Bryan was telling me “only two more big climbs to go”. And the climb up Pillar isn’t really too bad. A long but easy descent on trods led to Black Sail Pass, then we scrambled up the rocks to Kirk Fell. More easy trods took us down to Beck Head for the last big slog up Great Gable. It looked absolutely huge: Himalayan in size and absolutely vertical. But then, it always looks like that, and I’ve climbed it plenty of times before. Plod up the scree and rocks, and the top’s right there. In the bag now…providing I can keep going fast enough to meet the 24 hour deadline. It never crossed my mind I’d not be able to finish, but I was moving slower all the time. Down to Green Gable, and on along the ridge down to Honister, Bryan, Simon and Robin gently guided me. “Was I talking much?” Nicola asked Simon. “No – he’s in the zone” replied Simon. I was – the Twilight Zone.

Leg 5

I had a great Formula One style tyre change at Honister: out of my Mudclaws and into Roclites. All I had to do was sit there like Lewis Hamilton. My pacers for Leg 5 were two good friends: Chris Vardy, who was an old work colleague and is my mountain marathon partner, and Karen Nash, who I knew from many races and our joint JNLC attempt last year. Route-finding isn’t much of an issue on Leg 5 as long as you know the way off Robinson, and Chris and I had recced this the previous weekend. What I needed on Leg 5 were nursemaids, and I couldn’t have ended up with better nursemaids. It was easy now. Simon had lent me his trekking poles part way through Leg 4, and I hung onto them for Leg 5. They made it so much easier. I could use my arms to help push me uphill – really useful as my legs weren’t doing much by this stage. It’s easy going from the top of Dale Head to Hindscarth, then you contour round for the last climb up to Robinson. Under two and a half hours to get to Keswick, so no time to lose. The way off Robinson is along the ridge then down a series of rock steps, and it must have been pitiful watching me struggling down those rocks. My balance had gone, I was really unsteady on my feet, and my brain wasn’t really functioning well: the drops looked much longer and steeper than they really were. Chris and Karen got me down them, but I’m glad there was nobody there with a video camera. A last steep grassy descent off the ridge took us down to the valley track, then the road to Portinscale. Road signs on the way: the first one told me we were so close to Portinscale that I knew it was in the bag. And I’d be able to stop soon. Into Portinscale, hang a right down to the suspension bridge, right through the little gate, and across the fields to Keswick. Onto the road, up the road, cross by the roundabout, only a few yards to go. The Moot Hall in sight. Big cheers from my pacers, assorted late night drinkers, and a reception party including my daughters Flossie and Esther, 11 and 14, and the puppy, despite it being after midnight. At last I could stop. Job done, 23 hours 37 minutes, now take me to my tent and put me to bed.

This Bob Graham run was powered entirely by Kendal Mint Cake and water. No artificial additives were used. No animals or runners were harmed in this production. May contain nuts.

Andy