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There been a couple of summers that I’ve wanted to get my self around the Bob Graham Round route. The closest I’ve got is supporting a friend on her attempt to get the round complete in under 24 hours. Needless to say that it was an amazing experience and utterly inspirational to be involved. Seeing the camaraderie and the focus on Clare’s well being and her progress from the people supporting her, and also the positivity of everyone was incredible (read more here).
So, why haven’t I done it already?
First time, I took on a charity school trip, taking 25 school students who all raised £2000, to a school in Ghana to improve the conditions at the school and give them clean water. We needed some extra funds so I decided to cultivate a little stupidity! I sold raffle tickets at £1 each and for every ticket sold I planned to complete one hill rep. A 0.1 mile loop with 18′ of ascent. On its own, it sounds easy, but I ended up doing 652 laps, one after the other, all in one day.
During this act of sheer stupidity, I ended up thinking about running from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the summer of 2015. Compared to the disorientating experience of running round in circles, struggling to manage hydration and nutrition, it seems like heaven. Thats why I ran the route in summer and since it made sense to simplify the equipment as much as I could, I ran it barefoot.
But the thing is, the want to complete the BGR was still there. It was like a splinter that you just don’t seem to be able to get out, or an itch you can’t scratch. It’s this constant mental itch that made me think about doing the round, solo and with no support. I’m not interested in the prestige of doing something this challenging, so I was planning on not telling anyone other than my emergency backup. That way, failure didn’t matter as it was private, there was no need to get anyone else involved and it could be my own private little test, answering the simple question of was I capable of completing it with my current level of fitness?
Then the horrendous weather smashed into Cumbria!! I found out about an event called Grand Day Out in Cumbria and the fund raising being done by the Cumbrian Foundation to help those that need the help and fix the problems cause by the extreme weather. This is why I shouldn’t make decision whilst running or after running!! I get over excited…
I suddenly decided that I would announce the BGR attempt and use it to raise funds for the Cumbrian Foundation. So, being as I don’t run or explore in anything other than my Luna sandals, and the fact I’m planning on doing the same round in the summer months barefoot, it makes perfect sense to do a winter round in my Lunas, with my Luna Tabu socks as an extra bit of protection against the potential cold.
There’s two questions that come to my mind with this challenge just 5 weeks away…
Am I fit enough to be able to move at the pace needed to complete the round in 24 hours? There’s no way of finding this out without doing the round.
Do I have the right mentality to take this thing on? The answer to that is yes. The hill rep challenge, running LeJog and knowledge of my family history have all given me a mentality that seems to be suited to these challenges.
To get more prepared, I’m going to be taking part in the Tour de Helvellyn race on the 19th of December, and hiking the entire BGR route over 3 days starting on the 27th of December. Hiking it unsupported is going to be a completely different challenge to running the route. I’ll be accompanied by a new found friend, people will know the route and when we should be at different locations and the kit we will carry will be on the excessive side, but it will be great training and more about learning the route and having fun than pushing my limits.
So, on the 16th of January 2016, wearing my sandals, a trusty bobble hat, carrying some Tailwind nutrition and other essential kit I will touch the door of Moot Hall in Keswick and I’ll take the first steps towards answering the question about my fitness.
Alternatively, go along to the Grand Day Out in Cumbria event or just go visit Cumbria. It’s a beautiful part of the world and deserved a little attention and love.