Record for Solo, Unsupported Winter Bob Graham Round Broken Twice in a Day

Two fell runners moving in opposite directions each broke the solo, unsupported winter Bob Graham Round record within 24 hours of each other, according to UK Hillwalking.

The outlet reported Paul Wilson set a time of 22 hours, 54 minutes on Thursday, Dec. 15. Shortly after that, on Friday, Dec. 16, James Gibson set a new record of 21 hours, 12 minutes.

“What a day! The conditions were perfect for winter running with lots of hard frosted ground. I didn’t have a schedule; I just went with the flow and enjoyed it,” Gibson told UK Hillwalking. “I ran strongly and passed Paul [Wilson] on Yewbarrow, stopping for a selfie before both pushing on in our opposite directions.”

“Temperatures fell to about -10˚C, and my bottles froze in the night. With all the high becks frozen over too, it made getting water pretty hard. My legs tired over the last section, but I was happy to keep going and get back to Keswick in the time I did,” he went on.

For the purposes of the record, “winter” refers to any time between Dec. 1 and the last day of February, UK Hillwalking reports.

a lake district winter landscape

Winter conditions in the Lake District. Easy running? Hardly. Photo: Shutterstock

 

Shane Ohly, the founder of Ourea Events, set the previous solo unsupported winter record at 23 hours, 26 minutes on Dec. 2020.

A famously grueling route

The Bob Graham Round is a Lake District fell running challenge which traverses 42 fells over 106km, with 8,230m of elevation gain thrown in for good measure. The challenge is named after Bob Graham, the runner who completed the route in under 24 hours back in 1932.

According to Fastest Known Time (FKT), runners traditionally tackle the Bob Graham Round supported and with the assistance of pacers. A solo, unsupported winter attempt is another beast entirely. Only four runners have completed it: Martin Stone, Shane Ohly, and now Paul Wilson and James Gibson.

FKT lists the current supported male Bob Graham Round record holder as Jack Kuenzle with a time of 12 hours, 23 minutes and the supported female record holder as Beth Pascall at 14 hours, 34 minutes.

Here’s a short film about the Bob Graham Round Saloman put out a few years ago.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew's essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals. You can find more of his work at www.andrewmarshallimages.com, @andrewmarshallimages on Instagram and Facebook, and @pawn_andrew on Twitter (for as long as that lasts).