Kilian Jornet smashes Bob Graham Round record
Catalan runner Kilian Jornet yesterday broke the record for the Bob Graham round by more than an hour.
Kilian completed the 74-mile route over 42 Lake District peaks in 12 hours 52 minutes. The total ascent is around 28,500ft, which is 500ft shy of the height of Everest.
The previous record of 13 hours and 53 minutes had been held by Billy Bland for an incredible 36 years.
After Kilian reached the finished point at Keswick, he said: “It has been hard, but very exciting. This Bob Graham Round was an amazing experience.”
He added: “I had the Bob Graham Round in mind for a while and finally I could give it a try and realise how amazing was the time that Billy did in 1982.
“It has been a beautiful day out in the mountains together with all those runners that came and paced me.
“You can really feel here the love for fell running, and I couldn’t be happier to complete this round.”
Poignantly, he gave thanks to Billy Bland. The former record holder turned out to support Kilian.
Killian said: “I would like to thank Billy who came to cheer me. Thanks Billy, I had better conditions than you, the best pacers and your inspiration to give everything! And even like that it was sooo sooo hard!”
He added his thanks to his support team and pacers: “Thanks to Carl, Chris, Martin, Josh, Jebby, Steve, Paul, Andrew, Neil, Paul and all the guys who have been helping out, without you guys it wouldn’t been possible.
“Big big thanks to Martin for making it real and such an organisation last minute. Thanks Shane. Thanks Jordi and thanks all the people cheering on the route.”
Kilian’s Bob Graham Round attempt had been last minute, according to reports. Only last weekend he was in the French Alps, where he won the Mont Blanc Marathon in 35:54:54. 42k.
It was his comeback race after breaking his fibula just three months ago.
Kilian’s Bob Graham record
In the middle of last week, rumours started in the running scene that Kilian might just have the right support crew to attempt a Bob Graham Round. The weather has also continued to be warm and dry, which made a record attempt more feasible.
To complete the Bob Graham he needed a team of top runners as pacers and also to verify his attempt.
He was accompanied by 10 pacemakers who also helped him comply with the club’s rules. Numerous other runners encouraged him along the way, among them Billy Bland himself, who said he was inspired by Kilian’s achievement.
Martin Stone, Steve Birkinshaw, Paul Cornthwaite and Rob Jebb were among the running pacers. Shane Ohly had assisted with organisation.
Kilian started at Kewsick early on Sunday morning and covered the 42 peaks at a fast and constant speed. On the first leg he reached Threlkeld six minutes ahead of the record.
He started the second leg to Dunmail Raise, where Billy Bland was waiting to cheer on him.
The third leg was the longest and the most challenging. Kilian had climbed 15 summits to reach Wasdale at 1pm, 8 hours and 9 minutes after starting.
He had by then completed half of the round, and was 30 minutes ahead of Billy Bland’s time.
The remainder of the run includes peaks that are not very high with with lots of loose rock which tests a runner’s stamina.
He was reportedly feeling tired, but still pushing. He finally arrived back in Keswick and stopped the watch with a time of 12hours 52 mins.
With it looking likely that Kilian would break the record, a large crowd began to gather in Keswick.
The buzz on social media was amazing and there was a huge wave of delight for Killian’s impressive record breaker.
What is the Bob Graham Round?
The Bob Graham Round is named after the person who first completed the route. The round was established in 1932 when the Bob Graham ran the 42 fells in less than 24 hours.
The challenge became a part of the local culture with the founding of the Bob Graham Round Club, whose membership is made up of those who have matched the founder’s achievement.
It wasn’t until 1960 that anyone tried it again and since then many have sought to joined the club.
In 1982, Billy Bland, a local runner, completed the course in 13 hours 53 mins, a record that has held for the past 36 years.
The fastest female is Jasmin Paris who finished in 15 hours 24 minutes in 2016.
Over the years, the Bob Graham Round has become one of England’s most popular races.
See Kilian Jornet.