Beth Pascall has set a new female fastest time on the Bob Graham Round – and recorded the fifth fastest time ever.
The 32-year-old Salomon athlete from the Peak District finished the traverse of 42 Lake District peaks, starting and finishing in Kewsick, on Friday in 14:34:26. That is 50 minutes faster than the previous female record of 15:24 set by Jasmin Paris in 2016.
The 106km route with 8600m of ascent is named after Bob Graham, who became the first person to do the route in less than 24 hours in 1932. His record stood until 1960.
Beth revealed that she has never enjoyed a race or a round as much. She said: “I was on a high for most of the day. There were times early on when I worried I’d gone off too hard and I couldn’t relax, but from leg four onwards it was a dreamy blur.
“I only had a couple of very minor low points. Ascending Calf Crag (leg 3) seemed hard. It was the first time I realised my legs weren’t quite as fresh as they had been. We only just made the split here and I wondered if it might be a gradual deterioration from there. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
“I got some cramps in my quads on the climbs later on, but it was very manageable. That’s my only real physical complaint.”
Beth believes that a solid period of training during Covid-19 lockdown has contributed to her record time on the Bob Graham Round. She said: “I have probably just had the best training block of my life.
“I haven’t had a period of consistent, high volume training like that before. Certainly the absence of any races since February made a big difference. “
She said that a Bob Graham Round had always been a plan although she had nothing in the diary pre-Covid-19. She said: “When it became clear there would be no races for a while, the Bob Graham was the obvious thing to do.”
Killian Jornet holds the men’s Bob Graham Round record, which is only an hour and 42 minutes faster than Beth. Killian set his record of 12:52 in July 2018.
Beth’s other notable successes include fourth at UTMB in 2018, fourth at Western States in 2019 and she holds the FKT for the Cape Wrath Trail in four days, nine hours and 43 minutes.