Bowland runner Ellis Bland goes after the Double Bob Graham record this weekend.
This weekend Ellis Bland of Bowland Fell Runners will be going after the record. Following a very strong attempt in 2020, only to be thwarted by a foot injury, Ellis Bland is returning this weekend to take on this monster of challenge.
The Bob Graham has become a rite of passage for many fell runners, over the past 18 months, the 89 year old route has likely seen a record number of attempts; successful or otherwise. However, very few of those who take on the 66 mile route, over 42 Lakeland summits, with 27,000ft of ascent, think to themselves “well that was nice, let’s do it again”, only to turn around at Moot Hall and go back around it all again.
“The second lap on Sunday is the real test, lap 1 is basically the world’s longest warmup” – Ellis Bland
The first to do a double Bob Graham round was Boyd Millen in 1977 (52hrs 30min), followed by Roger Baumeister in 1979 (46hrs 34min) whose record stood for 36 years until Nicky Spinks took on the challenge and completed in 45hrs 30min.
In the 44 years since Boyd’s first successful attempt, only a handful of runners have successfully completed this mammoth undertaking.
The Double Bob Graham in numbers:
84 Lakeland summits
52,000ft+ of ascent
Target time: 45hrs (Record is 45:30hrs)
Ellis is supported by an army of clubmates, friends & homebaking to help him keep going.
With a sub 17hr 47min round comfortably under his waistbelt in 2019, Ellis is no slouch on the route. Under the guidance of coach Rowan Wood, Ellis has taken advantage of the break in racing to focus on building strength and that much needed mileage to ensure his body has the resilience to face such a battering.
But Ellis remains adamant that the completion of the Double is much more than just a personal challenge.
“I want this Double to be a celebration of the Bob Graham, of what it means to those that complete it, try it and support on it. It is such an important part of our sport, the people it pulls together and the stories told on the fell at 3am. I’m just a small part in what is really just a big day out with friends” – Ellis Bland
The big plan.
Unlike previous records, Ellis plans to complete a full anticlockwise round back to the moot hall before turning around and completing a full clockwise round back again. His schedule allows for a 20-hour first lap and a 23hr 30 second lap.
Both Roger and Nicky opted to run clockwise from Keswick as far as Yewbarrow summit, before then reversing back to Keswick and then anticlockwise as far as Yewbarrow before returning to Keswick to cover all 42 fells.
Ellis is setting off at 00:00 Saturday morning. You can follow his progress on the OMM social channels.
Ellis would also like to thank OMM – Original Mountain Marathon, Våga and Norman Walsh for their help and support.