‘Shirtless’ Jack Kuenzle Breaks Bob Graham Round Speed Record

A man with no shirt on set the Bob Graham Round speed record on September 2, shaving almost a half hour off the mark in the process.


This article was originally published on iRunFar.


Kuenzle finished the 100km loop and all of its 42 fells and 8,200m of elevation gain in England’s Lake District in a to-be-confirmed 12 hours, 23 minutes, and 48 seconds, according to the website Open Tracking.

Mountain running icon Kilian Jornet previously held the speed record at 12 hours, 52 minutes, setting it in 2018.

Finishing at around 6:30 p.m. local time, Kuenzle broke Jornet’s four-year-old record. The English circuit’s namesake first ran it under 24 hours in 1932 to establish the challenge.

 

An American who lives in California, Kuenzle is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, a mountain running coach, and an athlete whose focus seems to be on setting speed records around the world. His Bob Graham Round effort certainly launches him into international status as a mountain athlete.

The Bob Graham Round’s fame stems principally from its rugged, technical terrain. Steep scrambles punctuate boggy, wet tracks. And because the weather on the course can change rapidly, speed attempts can become dangerous in a hurry. Among the 42 fells, or mountains, along its route, the Bob Graham Round tackles Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England at 3,209 feet in elevation.

Jack Kuenzle along with fell running legend and longtime Bob Graham Round record holder Billy Bland at Moot Hall in Keswick, England, after Kuenzle set a new Bob Graham Round speed record. Photo: Paul Wilson

 

Kuenzle didn’t take long to outstrip Jornet’s 2018 pace. And by the time he secured his lead in the splits, he wouldn’t relinquish it. Four hours into the effort at the 873m summit of Fairfield fell, he was faster than Jornet by a minute and three seconds. From there, he steadily pried the gap open wider until he checked in at the start/finish line at Moot Hall in Keswick.

A screenshot from Open Tracking of Jack Kuenzle’s Bob Graham Round speed record tracking. In this image, Jack is depicted at the red 1 approaching the finish line in Keswick, England, while Kilian Jornet’s record pace is depicted in a red trophy.

 

Comments poured in via social media after Kuenzle’s reported time finalized. ​​Everything from congratulations to flippant comments on fell running speed records showed up — some toed the line articulately.

“I think the lack of heavy t-shirt made the difference. Next person to try will forgo shorts as well I’d imagine,” one commenter said.

Jack Kuenzle before starting his Bob Graham Round speed record attempt. Photo: Victoria Miller/inov-8