3 Out Of 5 On The Bob Graham Round

Yesterday, along with several others, I supported Clare Holdcroft, a buxton runner, on her attempt to conquer the Bob Graham Round, a 65 miles circular route that takes in 42 of the highest points in the Lake District.  In total it has approximately  the same amount of accumulative height gain as Mount Everest, and is mostly off-road.

It was an absolute privilege to witness Clare running and be part of her tremendous journey, al be it for 3 out of the 5 sections, and I have to say that I am truly inspired by the whole experience.  Apart from he obvious display of super human endurance, everyone in the support team (whether running or checkpoint support) where totally focused on Clare and her well being, carrying her food, equipment, water and making sure that she didn’t have to worry about navigation.

There’s 4 weeks to go till the start of Barefoot Le Jog, and to have this as training and experience, is priceless, but I’m going to stop spoiling the whole thing through my clumsy use of words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

If you have ever wandered why I, or anyone else, would choose to run for hours on end through the wilderness, then look no further than these images.

Clare after the first leg of the BGR, having a quick break.

Clare after the first leg of the BGR, having a quick break.

Break over and it was time to set off.

Break over and it was time to set off.

The first climb of leg 2 begins.

The first climb of leg 2 begins.

The sun shortly after sunset.

The sun shortly after sunset.

First big climb done and en route to the next peak

First big climb done and en route to the next peak

Several peaks later and as we approached the first peak of leg 3 the sun began its rise.

Several peaks later and as we approached the first peak of leg 3 the sun began its rise.

Pre sunrise light.

Pre sunrise light.

Temperature inversion in the valley bellow.

Temperature inversion in the valley bellow.

Almost time to remove the head torches.  The sun had a little surprise for us.

Almost time to remove the head torches. The sun had a little surprise for us.

The sky beginning to catch fire.

The sky beginning to catch fire.

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Sunrise and the sky over the Lake District explodes into colour.

Sunrise and the sky over the Lake District explodes into colour.

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A brief respite from climbing and just enough time to enjoy this.

A brief respite from climbing and just enough time to enjoy this.

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Another peak bagged

Another peak bagged

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hiding the seriously suspicious looking zip-lock bag of Tailwind Nutrition

hiding the seriously suspicious looking zip-lock bag of Tailwind Nutrition

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Navigation cairns.  Although, with Kirsty and Mandy at the helm, these weren't really of any use.

Navigation cairns. Although, with Kirsty and Mandy at the helm, these weren’t really of any use.

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Lord's Rake, AKA "really?!  After 40 miles this is the best route?"

Lord’s Rake, AKA “really?! After 40 miles this is the best route?”

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getting ready for his second leg of support by drying out socks and shoes.

getting ready for his second leg of support by drying out socks and shoes.

Final leg.

Final leg.

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The Reason Tailwind Is More Than Just Some Energy Drinks Company!

I’ve contacted several companies and asked for their support and the few replies I’ve had, amongst the electronic version of tumble weed, have all been a distinctive shade of ‘no’.

Then Mike from Tailwind got in touch, and if I’m honest (putting aside the scepticism of Tailwind since I’d not ever tried it) I wasn’t really sure what he was offering.  Then we had a conversation or two via email and a video call and I was blown away.  A huge wait lifted from my backpack.  

That weight was the concern that food and nutrition would be an issue, as well as water.  Now, training seems to be getting more effective and I’m feeling more confident every time I train with Tailwind that file on the run isn’t going to be a problem.

I guess at this point the title should be explained.  The guy is an inspiration, especially knowing this small part of his story.  This Mike’s story and an explanation of why he chose to support BareFoot LeJog.  

” In March 2012 I was struck by a car and sustained a fractured skull which restricted blood flow to my brain causing a stroke. I spent the Summer losing use of my left limbs with my head in a cognitive stew

In November of that year I was seen by an occupational therapist who said her aim was to get me to be able to walk 100 yards to the local shop unaided, buy a newspaper and walk back, unaided.

As an experienced endurance athlete, with 5 Ironman triathlons under my belt, I said that wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

After several visits to physiotherapists who gave me exercises to get the muscles in my legs firing, countless numbers of falls the same occupational therapist sent me messages of support whilst I was in the Sahara Desert taking on the iconic 150 mile Marathon des Sables. I may have been bloodied from tumbles over rocks but made it to the end to prove to myself that a stroke does not necessitate a complete change in lifestyle.

I was very fortunate to have a supportive family endowed with masses of patience and a neurologist who was able to explain to the good half of my brain what was happening with my grey matter.
I appreciate that not everyone will have access to the same levels of support I did so when I heard what Aleks was proposing to do for other survivors with his epic LeJog run for the Stroke Association I’m tempted to say the decision to help him out was a “no brainer”for me. ”

Mike Julien @ Tailwind Nutrition UK