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Holme Moss Fell Race
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David Wright investiture...
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Andy Innes The OMM
Lewis Snowdon Marathon2010
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Sunday Long Run 29/3/09
Wirksworth Incline 09
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Sheffield 1/2m Report
Andy Innes - Bob Graham Round Report 2013
I was told about the Bob Graham round in conversation by one of
my teammates in an adventure racing team back in 2006.  At the
time it just passed me by and I hardly gave it a thought.  As I
learnt more about the round over time I was hooked in.  A far off
challenge that was a big a test as you could get all based in my
favorite place - the hills!!  A book came onto the scene called “feet
in the clouds” which I read numerous times learning more about
the challenge and the unsung characters of time gone by who were
unrivaled athletes with many records in races that still hold today.  

So to the challenge - a circular course of 72 miles covering 42
peaks with an accent of 27000ft (2000ft shy of the accent to
Everest summit I am told).  There are 4 road crossings where road
support are able to meet you to provide food and kit as you pass

Myself – I have been endurance training for around 15 years to
compete in adventure races and mountain marathons.  A car
accident in 2008 put me out of action for a while but luckily I have
been training consistently now (thanks Jaki) for a year and back to
a good solid level of fitness.

The build up training for this challenge started in June for me this
year.  I had a 2 week holiday booked in Keswick and with the
exception of a couple of days I covered the course (which is
broken up into 5 legs by the road crossings) two legs one day and
one leg the following and so on.  The weather was great (most of
the time) and I made the most of it.  Most weekends after that I
would be back in the lakes running the two’s and 1’s or in the peak
district covering the High Peak Marathon, Mors and Tors and
skyline courses or making up my own long routes or hill reps at
Yorkshire bridge heading up to Winn Hill.  As the big day got
nearer I covered the course over 3 days mountain marathon style
carrying my tent sleeping bag food etc for overnight camps in the
hills.  My plans for the final 4 weeks were knocked out of the
water by picking up a cold so a 2 day hike around the route
mountain marathon style was cancelled along with a another 2 day
session of 30 miles each day was called off due to poor weather
forecasted.  One week to go and I was back in the peaks doing the
hill reps where I had told myself I wasn’t allowed to go home until
I had done 10!  The little man on my shoulder was arguing the
point from the word go but was wasting his time.  A steady 18
miles on Sunday saw me finish with the training and it was time to
relax into the carb loading stage.

My regime for any endurance event is to cut out alcohol for at
least a week before the day.  For the final 3 days prior to the event
I have an extra 3 litres of water per day and a bottle of energy
drink as well.  Wholemeal pasta meals as well in the evening and I
have a pot of chia in the fridge that I have about 8 spoonful’s a day.

The day came closer rapidly this final week and partly due to
getting kit ready and finalising the logistics, which were
considerable.   The campsite was set up and a trip was made down
into Keswick for cannelloni at one of the nicest Italian restaurants
3hrs before the off.    

Back at the campsite with a desire to go to sleep after the
cannelloni I started to put my kit on and get ready for the
rendezvous at Moot Hall in the main street of Keswick town
center with my first leg support runners who I have met only
recently while supporting other BG contenders.  The drive across
boded well as what I had planned was starting to take shape.  I
chose this date in particular as there was to be almost a full moon,
which rose around 6pm and was with us for company all night.  It
was lighting up the hillside brilliantly.  

I reached Keswick for 930pm and the deadline came slowly from
this point. 1000 finally came and I touched the green door of Moot
Hall as so many have done before as they set of on my schedule
for a 22hr round with the same hope in mind.  A steady run across
Keswick to the first climb up to Skiddaw saw the start of the
attempt.  At the top I was 5 minutes up on schedule and I felt it
had been a breeze.  On to the next peak with energy levels to
spare this was looking good so far.  The following peak was to be
Blencathra and I was going so well I dropped one of the support
runners off the back so another dropped off with him for safety.  
This left two of us to tackle the climb onto Blencathra summit,
which was now covered in thick mist.  Onto the summit with no
problems all of the recceing had come into play really well and I
was still under schedule.  The drop down into the first road
crossing at Threlkeld was a long descent but again covered
comfortably in the darkness with no issues.  

A quick stop to change shoes and to take on board some food and
drink (Mexican bean soup and Bovril and milk for me).  I set off
again at 0145 with Lewis and Simon alongside me along with 2
more support runners on this leg.  Simon was champing at the bit
and was leading the pack from the off.   I had the map so I knew
that this would soon change.  The climb on to the first summit is an
hour long and a long hour it is as the climb is over tough terrain.  
Clough head finally came into view and this then opens up a nice
section for a runner along to Helvellyn.  On the way to Helvellyn
however the mist was back and set in firmly on the ridge.  
Headtorches were becoming less effective and a hindrance at
times with the glare back in the thick mist.  We picked up all of the
peaks along to Helvellyn with little problem but at this point it was
becoming harder to pick a track from the rocks due to the dense
mist.  We overshot the next peak and had to backtrack and head
on a bearing to find the eastern edge of the ridge to then follow it
northerly to find the peak.  One of the support group had dropped
back and told the next person to carry on and he would catch up.  
In the thick mist with visibility at 4 metres we couldn’t see his light
in any direction.  He had found it the same problem and made the
decision to drop directly back down to the next road crossing.  We
decided to carry on after a short time of calling for him with a
whistle and hoped he had made a way down.  We were three peaks
away from the end of this leg so if he wasn’t there at the road
crossing we could call in help when we got there.  Back to task
again and a newfound focus to get to the end of the leg we hit the
following peak a mile away went without problem.  Down to the
tarn and up the steep scree for a mile onto Fairfield again in thick
mist. I had spotted a flashing cycle light on the back of Lewis’s
rucksack so I had a cunning plan.  To place said flashing light on
the final cairn up to the summit to then head to the peak and turn
around and use it as a beacon to home in on back to the hard to
pick out path.  It worked perfectly!  Back down the Zig Zagging
scree with a smile firmly planted on Simon’s face who was loving it
saw the leg almost to an end with just one more short steep climb
onto seat sandal and then the long steep descent down into
Dunmail Raise as the sunrise was starting.  There at the stile was
our missing man who had done what we hoped and had headed
down steadily.  I was just outside the scheduled time by 20 minutes
at the second pit stop.

Another round of Bovril and a big bowl of porridge later with fresh
socks on I was heading up the steep climb onto steel fell with 3
more support runners who had arrived here at 0500 to help on the
round.  Simon and Lewis were heading off to get some sleep ready
for leg 5, which was still some way off in the distance.  The mist
was still locked in firmly so navigation was difficult over the whole
of leg three which is intricate and rocky.  Unfortunately a couple of
errors for the navigator on this leg along with wet slippery rocks
saw us lose time on this leg with us coming out of the clouds and
down into Wasdale after 8hrs instead of the intended 6.  This now
put me over time at this point for the 24hr deadline to become a
club member.

A quick bowl of bananas and custard and customary Bovril I was
heading off with 3 different support runners again after a 5 minute
stop and with map and compass in hand we all headed up the steep
climb of Yewbarrow onto Red Pike.  The mist was still holding its
ground but there was a determination to keep going planted just as
firmly.  The peaks came and went without any issues and time was
being gained steadily.  The long climb onto kirk fell came and went
with ease.  Unfortunately we were zipping along too quickly for one
of the support who said to keep going he had a map and compass
and he would make his way back to the next road support station
at Honister.   Great gable was next on the list and it loomed strong
and tall.  This was taken I would like to say without any bother
coming my way …… But!!  Come it did from an unexpected angle.  
An overhanging rock that I couldn’t see due to my peaked cap was
there in the way as I pushed myself up the boulders.  Three cuts to
my head later saw me climbing up to the summit still with a sense
of purpose.  4 more peaks to go before the drop into Honister to
meet up with Simon and Lewis again went without issues and
gaining time along the way saw me back in the running.

As we dropped into Honister to an awaiting crowd that were
cheering me in the emotions were kicking in big time as I also
knew we were back in the game.  Lack of sleep does that to people
I told myself!  I had made time but didn’t want to take any chances
so straight through with Simon and Adnan joining for the final leg
support after picking up a coffee to drink on the way up to Dale
Head.  Lewis was going to meet us the other side of the hills for
the final run in on the road section.  When I said just a coffee I
would have liked to have said coffee and head torch because half
way across the hills it was clear we weren’t going to get all the way
across and down onto the road before darkness took the place of
the hill mist!  That’s where Simon came to the rescue once again.  
Three people – Simon’s headtorch.  Adnan wasn’t phased at all as
he ran ahead of us off the final peak which is Robinson in pitch
darkness without one.   We headed down onto the road and along
to Newlands to where we would meet the road support to change to
road shoes and change kit ect.  Or so we thought – the support
runner who dropped off leg 4 to make a steady descent down to
Honister had not turned up.  The support crew had now turned to
rescuers and were liaising with the authorities to locate him.  He
was quickly found to be safe and sound at the Inn in Wasdale.  So
onwards we went with just 5 miles to go all on the road and an hour
and a half to cover the distance.   Simon was leading the charge
once more and in what seemed like a flash we were 4 miles up the
road and crossing the suspension bridge from Porthinscale, which
brought the lights of Keswick into view.  There did seem to be a
couple of extra ones tonight as we crossed the fields towards town
and they were coming towards us.  Lewis and Mark had run out to
meet us as they had missed getting across to Newlands earlier.  

The final minutes were terrific as I ran into Keswick with great
friends alongside and that moon glowing more brightly than the
night before.  The final charge down the high street of Keswick to
cheers from the support group and the crowd to the green door of
Moot Hall in 23hrs 13 with smiles on faces and Champagne all
Thanks guys this is something I won’t forget!!