International trail runner Holly Page decided, despite various small injuries and niggles, to scratch a long-term itch and attempt the infamous Bob Graham Round. Not for the faint of heart, the BGR – as it is affectionally known in the running community – is a challenge in the Lake District, starting and finishing at Keswick Moot Hall, and taking in a staggering 42 fells, 66 miles/106km and an eye-watering 26,900ft/8,200m of climb along the way. Runners have 24 hours to attempt the route and normally organise a team of pacers to keep them on target, carry kit and help with navigation.
However, as Holly was unsure physically that she was up to it, she didn’t want to ask other people to give up of their time. Consequently, and rather unusually, she set off on with just Tom Owens – the two of them carrying all the food and clothes they might need – with the mindset that it was simply “a lovely (albeit long!) day out in the mountains”. Holly recalls how navigating in the dark, and clambering over wet rocks at night in the pouring rain & thick mist was far from easy – even with a good headtorch visibility was often. down to less than two meters. As expected, Holly’s various injuries niggled; a further fall plus an incident with a barbed wire fence compounded these. But spurred on by the promise of her mother’s sticky toffee pudding and a desire to see if she could beat her father’s time on the same round, she gritted he teeth and kept going.
There were obviously ups and downs – both metaphorical and physical – but in the end, despite a badly swollen knee, Holly (and Tom) still found it enjoyable and were glad they had taken it on. In fact, they appreciated the little glimpses of the valley and the rays of sunshine/breaks in the rain all the more for the sub-optimal conditions: “it was all the more special and felt exciting to be just Tom and I on the hill battling the elements and munching sandwiches and sipping @activelifeenergy. Holly is loving comparing notes and photos with her Dad of his successful attempt many years previously (also wearing Adidas – and only an hour slower– despite his additional challenge of running in leggings), but is sensibly taking a week’s break from running, before seeing where her legs will take her next.