Bob and Billy
If you’ve not heard of the Bob Graham Round then you’re probably not a fell runner. But in brief it’s a 66 mile run round a total of 42 peaks in the Lake District. Anyone wishing to participate has 24 hours to do so and it is a formidable challenge for even the toughest of runners. For every three who attempt only one succeeds – you have better odds of making it up Everest (although admittedly, far fewer actually die whilst attempting the Bob Graham Round).
It’s called the Bob Graham round because it was first run by a man of that name, that was back in 1932. It seems that no-one else managed to repeat the feat until 1960 since when it has become a rite of passage for any fell runner who takes things a bit too seriously. Nearly 2000 have now managed it.
As with any challenge like this, some do better than others. Best of all was Billy Bland who in 1982 ran round the route in 13 hours 53 minutes. He went so quickly that his team of pacers couldn’t keep up and since then no-one has come close to his record.
The Billy Bland Challenge was set up to commemorate this formidable display of athleticism and the premise is simple – a team of five pairs each run a section of the route as a relay team and try and beat that 13 hours 53 minutes. Again no-one has got close but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. People like the Heptonstall Hurriers…