Written by Steve Birkinshaw - http://stevebirkinshaw-wainwright2014.blogspot.com/

HEADER

If it wasn’t exciting enough to have one record-breaking runner to blog about, try having two. That’s right, Wainwright round record-holder Steve Birkinshaw tells us about his experience of running as support on a leg of Kilian Jornet’s record-breaking Bob Graham Round. Beware: this news and it’s associated stats will make your mind boggle. I’ll let Steve pick up from here.

I received the email from Martin Stone on the Thursday.

Kilian Jornet, the world’s greatest mountain runner, was in Keswick and was going to attempt to break Billy Bland’s thirty-six-year-old Bob Graham Round record that Sunday.

KJ on his BG round

This record for the 106 kilometre/sixty-three-mile round, with 8,200 metres/28,000 feet of ascent of forty-two Lake District peaks, had been thought by many to be unbreakable. Martin was organising the logistics, and wondered if I could run with Kilian on a leg. I was delighted to be asked, but very worried about whether or not I could keep up: although I have recovered from Wainwrights round – which is now four years ago – I am still five to ten per cent slower than I was then.

I looked at the schedule and reckoned I could just about keep on legs four or five, so I offered to help on one of these. Martin put me down on leg four with Paul Tierney and Scoffer. With the ground the driest it has been for years, and warm, but not unbearably hot weather, conditions were nearly perfect for a record-breaking round.

Kilian’s plan was to keep the record attempt low key, so we were asked to keep the details private. However, by the Saturday night details were leaking out on social media. After two legs Kilian was thirty minutes up on his record-breaking schedule, and the excitement was building up on social media.

Steve on BG round for KJ

We took the long drive to Wasdale and waited for Kilian to arrive after leg three. He had picked up more time and his pacers on that leg came in looking very tired. I was even more worried about keeping up so I set off straight away while Kilian had some food and drink. We were scheduled to do thirty-three minutes to the top of Yewbarrow; working hard I managed to do it in twenty-nine minutes but was caught by Kilian, Paul and Scoffer who did it in twenty-seven minutes. I was getting dropped going up Red Pike, so I missed the summit of this and the summit of Steeple.

Kilian was loving running down the rocks, it was his recovery time, while I needed to concentrate really hard to keep with him. On the flatter sections I was finally at a relaxed enough pace to have a chat with Kilian. He was really enjoying running in the fells and the commented on the beautiful views. He was very grateful for the support team coming out and helping him. He was great to run with and checked I was OK when I fell over while running behind him.

A very small bit of rubbish blew out of his bum bag when he was getting some food out while climbing Kirk Fell. As a support runner I should be running after it and picking it up while he continues, but he immediately ran after it and picked it up before I could grab it. With my experience from doing the Wainwrights I warned him that excitement was building on social media and there would be a lot of people waiting in Keswick to see him finish.

scenery

His speed up and down Great Gable was so quick than I had to contour round to keep up but then he suddenly seemed to slow down. Instead of having to work hard to keep up, it was easy. Dropping off Grey Knotts down into Honister at the end of the leg he was struggling badly. Neil Talbott was there with his food and he stopped for a minute and ate some before continuing his descent into Honister. He had completed the leg in two hours and fifty minutes: fourteen minutes faster than his schedule. Interestingly this was the same place where Billy had a really bad patch thirty-six years earlier, and Billy had to sit down at this point to recover.

Kilian had about five minutes’ refuelling at Honister before setting off on the final leg. There were about fifty people there watching. It would have been great to see Kilian finish but I could not face the crowds. So I went home and watched a live feed as Kilian ran in to set a new record of twelve hours and fifty-two minutes; amazingly just over a whole hour faster than Billy’s previous, standing record.

It was really nice to be involved in the record and great that it has gone to someone with a genuine love and respect for the mountains.

If this sort of feat tickles your fancy, you should check out Steve’s own tale of his record-breaking Wainwright round: over 300 miles – plus many thousands of metres of ascent – in only six days and thirteen hours.

There is no Map in Hell by Steve Birkinshaw (Great book!)  

For more trail running guides and narratives from Vertebrate, click here.

Words by Camilla Barnard, editor at Vertebrate Publishing, and Steve Birkinshaw.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

South Downs Way 100 - Martin Bell

South Downs Way 100 - Martin Bell

Written by Martin Bell - https://thedeterminedrunner.wordpress.com Well where to start? Chris, John & myself were all to make the journey down south from Aviemore to take on our 1st 100 miler in...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 60 and Subsequent Finding…

2018 Hardmoors 60 and Subsequent Findings

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com Background My 2018 Hardmoors 60 Race Report is conspicuous by its absence from these pages. Usually, it’s a case of “James runs a race, race report appears...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 110

2018 Hardmoors 110

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com I came into the third race of the Hardmoors Superslam feeling really strong, which in a way is a good thing since it involved running further...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 30 Race Report

2018 Hardmoors 30 Race Report

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com It’s genuinely scary how quickly this race seems to have come around.  It feels like only a couple of weeks ago that I was embarking on...

Read more

Robin Hood 100 - 2018 ‘The Road To Spart…

Robin Hood 100 - 2018 ‘The Road To Sparta’

Written by Andy Day I’ve done a few of Hobo Pace events before & I’ve got to know the organiser Ronnie. He’s a genuine guy with a clear passion for running...

Read more

361˚ Sensation 3 Shoe Review

361˚ Sensation 3 Shoe Review

Written by Sim Benson www.jenandsimbenson.co.uk Price: £119.99 Weight per shoe: men’s UK11 335g women’s UK6.5 265g Find out more www.361europe.com/en Overview: The Sensation 3 is designed as a high mileage trainer with a good blend...

Read more

Don’t Stop Me Now: My Grand Slam Finish …

Don’t Stop Me Now: My Grand Slam Finish at Wasatch

Written by Katrin Silva - http://runkat.com “Hug me. Time to get comfortable getting uncomfortable.” My favorite aid station sign, and sound advice for finishing Wasatch The Wasatch 100 is the last race of...

Read more

La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

Written by Richard Stillion - https://richyla.wordpress.com Pure Outdoors Events 1st September 2018 http://www.pureoutdoorsevents.co.uk/index.php/the-grand-tour-of-skiddaw Race Director Gaynor Prior Event HQ Chris Preston Event Manager Clare Shannon Race Winners: Andy Swift 6.35.40 and Sabrina Verjee 8.07.00 1976 – the drought year!  That was...

Read more

a long mARCh

a long mARCh

Written by Richard Stillion - https://richyla.wordpress.com Mud Crew Arc of Attrition http://mudcrew.co.uk/event/the-arc-of-attrition/ RD Andrew Ferguson 1st Female   Maryann Devally 32.26.32 1st Male       Steven Wyatt 23.44.18 *Some photos were taken in situ, some in more clement weather. Short version:  Up.  Down. Bog...

Read more

Mozart 100 - Ross Hay

Mozart 100 - Ross Hay

Written by Ross Hay Last weekend at 5am in the morning I was at the start line of the Mozart 100. How did I end up here for my longest race...

Read more

Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race – 130 mile…

Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race – 130 miles – 2018 and thoughts on the Canalslam

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com This was the final race in the Canal Slam series – which includes the legendary Grand Union Canal race and the Kennet & Avon Canal Race – which are both...

Read more

The 2018 Kennet and Avon Canal Race 145 …

The 2018 Kennet and Avon Canal Race 145 miles

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com With 7 weeks between Grand Union Canal Race and the second race in the Canalslam series – Kennet and Avon Canal Race – it was always...

Read more

Race Report: Jurassic Coast 100 Miler

Race Report: Jurassic Coast 100 Miler

Written by Jamie Chaffey - https://mountaintrailrunning.com The Jurassic Coast 100 follows the historic clifftop trails along England’s southwest coast. I’m in the process of accumulating points to eventually enter the UTMB one year...

Read more

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 100 – RACE REPORT

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 100 – RACE REPORT

Written by Luke Latimer - https://jurarunner.com I was expecting to find you hunched over your poles, headphones in, grinding through the dark miles with gritted teeth. Are you sure you’ve just run 85...

Read more

Spartathlon 2018

Spartathlon 2018

Written by Will Rivera - https://willrivera-ultra.tumblr.com “Pushing your body past what you thought it was capable of is easy; the hard part is pushing yourself even further … past what your mind...

Read more

The Arc of Attrition 2018

The Arc of Attrition 2018

Written by Jean Baptiste Rouvelin - http://jbrouvelin.blogspot.com Kit checked and got my number Well, where to start.  The Arc of Attrition is a point to point race which forms an arc following the South...

Read more

Love and Hate on the Lavaredo Ultra Trai…

Love and Hate on the Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Written by Tom Wright - http://life.tomwright.me.uk No medal, no finishers photo but I did complete the Lavaredo Ultra Trail. No really I did… I have my coveted bin bag to prove it!  (Note Lavaredo has a...

Read more

MB90k 2018

MB90k 2018

Written by Paul Baldwin - http://pbracereports.blogspot.com Let’s start with the finish I finished the 90km du Mont Blanc in 22 hours and 29 minutes, ranking 564th out of 1,142 entrants (49th percentile), and...

Read more

Share This

Follow Us