Nina Mason’s Bob Graham Round 2022

Lake District, Friday, June 24, 2022

66 miles, 27,000 feet

Nina Mason

There is lots out there about the ‘BGR’ – books, short films, blogs, and some really excellent Strider reports. To join the Bob Graham Club you need to complete the circuit of 42 Lakeland fells in under 24 hours (clockwise or anticlockwise). There is no set route you must take, though most stick to the accepted trods with a couple of variations.

The very short version of this report is that I made it round in under 24 hours, with 13 minutes to spare.

The longer version is that my final 66 miles in June 2022 were part of a long running journey.

Before

Over my 20-odd years of running, I have done quite a few local fell races, and some longer races, such as Swaledale. But before 2018 I had never run on the high fells in the Lakes, and not really done a lot of walking there, just a bit as a kid and the odd weekend.

4 years to go…

In 2018 my running was picking up again after a bit of a hiatus. I felt like I was moving towards the hills more. I ran Sedbergh Hills in August – the longest, toughest fell race I had done up to that point.

After that, I bought the Harvey BGR map. I had no plans to attempt the Round, it was way beyond me. But I had seen a couple of Strider reports about their completions, and I wanted to see what it was all about, give some of the legs a go. I did my first run on the route in September 2018 with Mum (leg 1 – Skiddaw, Great Calva, Blencathra, then back to Keswick). We didn’t find the best lines, and ended up being out all day.

I was back 2 weeks later to do the same route alone. This time it took me 5hr20, with a terrifying descent of Halls Fell. How the hell could anyone do that leg in 4hrs (or less!) and continue on to do 4 more legs and another 50-plus miles?? But with no thought of the BGR in my mind the fells had me hooked.

3 years to go…

My fitness improved during 2019. I was getting PBs in lots of races, and in XC I moved up to medium pack, something that I had always believed was well out of my reach. Surely that was for ‘real’ runners, not for people like me who ate too much pizza and enjoyed a glass (or 2) of wine! I was running regularly on the Cleveland Hills, and in April I did my first race in the Lake District, the Coledale Horseshoe. This was new, racing territory for me. I loved it – tough, middle-ish of the field, felt great.

In May Elaine asked me to pair up with her for the Old County Tops race. After a few anxiety-filled hours looking at the map and cut-off times, I said yes. Little did I know at the time, but Elaine and Geoff had discussed whether or not I would be a good ‘bet’ for this – I get the feeling they both put their money down, and then looked away as the dice rolled! Those 10hrs and 14mins in May 2019 were pretty tough for me, but it was an amazing day I will never forget, and I learned a lot (especially about eating).

Two weeks later, I paced Mark Davinson on a leg of his BGR. I’m sure it was Geoff who suggested it, I didn’t know Mark at the time. 4 hours, half of it in the dark, from Dunmail to Threlkeld. As Mark continued on up Halls Fell just after midnight, I remember watching the headtorches and being inspired, but also thinking – no way. You must be superhuman to be able to do this.

In July 2019 I ran the Old Crown Round. Geoff and Susan were there (Geoff racing, Susan supporting on route). At the end Geoff said something about me attempting the BGR. At first I laughed it off, but he looked serious. I wouldn’t have listened to anyone else, but Geoff and Susan are… well, Geoff and Susan. They know their stuff, and then some. If they thought I could have a crack at it… and so the seed was planted.

A couple of weeks later Geoff took me on a ‘taster’ day out, doing an out and back from Dunmail Raise to Rossett Pike. It felt OK, but after this and other runs, I just kept thinking – but that’s only 15-20% of the distance/elevation/time on feet needed. Who are you kidding?

The second half of 2019 I was in the hills (often the Lakes) nearly every week. I started recording my total weekly mileage and elevation. In November 2019 I set a (first) date for my BGR attempt, for May 2020, and sent out THAT email.

2 years to go…

Training was going well over the winter, and into 2020. Geoff had written a brilliant plan, and I was sticking to it. I had decided on an anti-clockwise attempt for May 2020. On 17th March, Mark, James and I had a wintry training day out over the Scafells. We had travelled separately because of the advice about Covid. It was wet, cold, claggy. It felt hard work, but good.

Then lockdown hit and everyone’s world turned upside down. I ran from home. Nearly every day. I found new footpaths in the fields. I bagged 11 local trigs that I could reach from home on foot. I tried to find hills that would maintain my ‘fell fitness’, but couldn’t. I postponed my May 2020 BGR, without setting another date.

In July 2020 we were ‘released’ for a while, and I got back to the Lakes. I had a few good weeks of 50+ miles, and plenty of climb. In August I supported Tim Grimwood on his BGR. I had never met Tim before the day, Fiona had got me involved. I volunteered to nav leg 2 (Threlkeld to Dunmail) in the dark, but only because Geoff was there as support. It was terrifying – so misty I couldn’t even see my feet at times, and we were over schedule. Thank goodness Tim was fit enough to pull back the lost time.

Although still reasonably fit, I just didn’t feel ready, and wasn’t confident about setting a date for my own attempt that year.

And then in autumn 2020 we went into another lockdown. More local running, no real hill climbing, all the way through to April 2021.

1 year to go…

April 2021. I’d felt rubbish for the last 3 months, physically and mentally, probably like a lot of people. I was finally doing some weekly/fortnightly runs on the moors from Guisborough, but I needed a lot more. I was desperate to get back on the Lakeland fells.

After feeling a bit sorry for myself, I took the bull by the horns, did a couple of training runs, and in June I ran the Great Lakes race. I started to feel more positive. I felt the BGR was out of reach for 2021 because I wouldn’t have enough time to train for a late summer attempt, so decided instead to focus on days out on the hills, and the Fell Runners Association 50@50 challenge. The FRA celebrated 50 years in 2020, and they created a ‘challenge’ of 50 races, which they had to postpone until 2021. You earned points from each race (and could check your progress on a leader board), and got a t-shirt for 12 races, a hoodie for 18. I got completely hooked on racing, and in the last 6 months of 2021 I did 20 fell races (plus 6 XCs). I ran old favourites, and visited new places and routes. It was brilliant. I was first lady in the Old Crown Round in July, and won a fair number of bottles of wine as a V45. And at the end of 2021 I had not only got my t-shirt and hoodie, I also finished top of the FRA 50@50 leader board for FV40.

So in November 2021 I plucked up courage and set my second BGR date – 29th April 2022. Clockwise. I had decided on clockwise, because of the way my body clock works – it basically shuts down during the dark/night. Thank goodness I did. THAT email was sent again to all my fell-running friends and road support crew. I rewrote my training plan for the next 5 months, for a CW attempt. I scrapped racing at the end of 2021 (except for XC). The BGR became my total focus.

4 months to go…

January to March 2022. Averaging 50 miles and exceeding 10000ft of climb on the fells every week. Nearly every week I had a day off work to go training in the Lakes, a lot of it alone. Some of the weather was OK, a lot of it was sh*tty. The wind became my number one enemy and the subject of a lot of cursing. I was putting sections together, and counting Wainwrights when I crashed exhausted into bed.

Early in April 2022 I did my longest day out, covering 2 and a bit legs. 32 miles and 15000 feet, loved every minute, ate well, ran well, hit every peak within schedule. I started writing up my schedule and support plan for my attempt. I actually felt like I might be able to do this.

15th April, 2 weeks to go to my BGR date of 29th April. I had felt pretty rough for a couple of days, and then tested positive for Covid. I was gutted. I shed a few tears, and sent out ANOTHER postponement email. My amazing fell-running friends said don’t worry – we’ll be here when you set another date. Just get well. More tears from me.

6 weeks to go…

Early May. I set my third, final date of 24th June. Email sent. Nothing, NOTHING, was going to stop this happening.

Friends helped organise support, because naturally some of my original team could no longer make it.

14th May, I supported Penny on her Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge. She was super fast, and I found it very hard.

4 weeks to go…

The last few long training runs. They were tough, tougher than they should be, and I only managed to string 2 legs together (not the 3 I had planned). Had I recovered from Covid? I didn’t really talk about it with anyone, and told myself to just get on with it.

12th June, I supported Geoff on his JNLC. A short leg, then my own run back to my van. Susan offered her running support for my BGR – I was over the moon. I had a good day out with friends, and felt encouraged.

Support runners contacted. Cover for each leg sorted. Then shuffled a little, and sorted again.

Schedule written up and sent out. Road support organised.

Cottage booked.

1 week to go…

Support boxes start to be filled. Food and kit for me. Tea and snacks for runners.

Minor panic when Max, who was going to nav on leg 3, came down with Covid. Paul (who I had never met, except for sharing some bog water on a hot day in a race the year before) helped me find someone else to cover the leg.

Daily, then hourly, checking of the weather forecast. Pointless really, it was happening, unless a tornado hit.

1 day to go…

Adrian and I (with Belle) drove to our cottage near Threlkeld. I packed sweets into bags and started cooking pasta. Weather forecast didn’t look too bad, but not great either, especially during the night of my attempt. I was relatively calm, I just wanted to get on with it.

1 hour to go…

Leigh, Connah and Ched arrive; Mum in the van. Heavy downpour, which then stops. We collect my leg 1 support runners (Tricia, Mark and Dave) at Threlkeld.

5 minutes to go…

I am at the Moot Hall door. Terrified by this point, but trying (I think unsuccessfully) to look calm. I take Susan to one side and ask her if I’m going to be OK, can I do this? There is a music festival on, and I worry about having a Queen earworm all the way round as a Freddie Mercury tribute singer entertains the crowd. I have my own small crowd, friends and family to see me off. Heather and Sally Hughes are there too and so lovely to see them both. I am sure Mike would have joined me on a leg.

9pm approaches, and I get a 10-second countdown….

My leg 1 team, and a nervous wait

During

Leg 1: Keswick to Threlkeld

Schedule: 4hrs, plus 5mins rest
Actual time: 3hrs 41mins, plus 9mins rest
Support runners: Tricia Everett (nav), Dave Berry (timings), Mark Davinson
Road support at Threlkeld: Adrian and Leigh

I felt amazing during leg 1. The novelty of not carrying any kit lasted the entire time. I ate and drank well. My legs felt fresh. Dave entertained me with his rendition of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ to rid my ear of the worm that is Queen. Headtorches on, on Skiddaw. Everyone (including me) laughed when I fell in a bog near the Caldew. My brilliant team led me safely down Halls Fell (though both Dave and Tricia fell, Tricia ending up with a black eye, and Dave sliding for about 5 yards). It felt easy, and I was up on schedule – though I knew it was early days.

The rain started on the way down Halls, and continued as I scoffed a load of pasta and slurped coffee in the cricket club car park. I left 15mins up on schedule.

Leg 2: Threlkeld to Dunmail Raise

Schedule: 4hrs 29mins, plus 10mins rest
Actual time: 4hrs 36mins, plus 14mins rest
Support runners: Elaine Bisson (nav), Stuart Scott (timings), Dawn Hosking
Road support at Dunmail: Leigh and Mum

Leg 2 team waiting for me, far too cheerful in the dark and rain just after midnight

The rain continued as Elaine led us, in the dark, up towards Clough Head. I have always found the pull up to the Old Coach Road a bit of a trudge, and the rain and dark didn’t help this time. Clough Head is not a favourite, the climb is hard, and I started to feel a little nauseous. I asked to stop about two thirds of the way up to put my waterproof trousers on. I was soaked, and I knew when I hit the wind at the summit I would be cold without them.

I think this was the last sensible, rational thought I had for the next 3 and a bit hours. All I remember was Elaine’s headtorch ahead (always ahead, too far ahead, I couldn’t keep up), Stuart just ahead, and Dawn right behind me. It was dark, we were running into the wind, and the rain seemed constant. The sickness I was feeling culminated in me on hands and knees bringing everything up, somewhere between Clough Head and Great Dodd. Stuart thoughtfully turning my back to the wind so I didn’t get covered, and his disembodied voice cheerfully telling me “it isn’t a BG unless you are sick”. I just kept thinking how can I carry on? Killer cramps in my thighs. How can I now get enough food and liquid inside me to keep going? At every summit and saddle I kept thinking how do we get down to Dunmail from here? How do I quit and get off this hill? How do I get a message to Adrian, who is already on his way to Wasdale? How do I face people if I can’t even get round 2 legs? 2 legs I have done together, fairly comfortably, a few times in training. I am an utter failure, as I sank in my own black hole of despair.

We all stopped at the top of Great Dodd, in the wind shelter, to put on extra kit. Thank goodness I had packed my warm, padded top in my kit bag Stuart was carrying. It had been a last minute thought, and so glad I did.

It was a nightmare few hours for me, despite the excellent support from Elaine, Stuart and Dawn. As those quitting thoughts bounced around my brain, I just kept moving from top to top. There was no other option really. If I had spoken I don’t think anyone would have heard anything, because of the wind and rain. I kept trying to force food and liquid down.

Leg 2. Looking back, some might call it ‘character building’

As we dropped off Dollywaggon, the sky was lightening. I told Stuart I didn’t think I would get up Fairfield, I felt so bad. I think he probably said something very sensible like – yes you can, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As we came back off Fairfield I think he made reference to my earlier comment, and I dramatically wailed “but I just want to quit” and ran off down the hill. I think saying those words (and hearing myself acting like such a drama queen) did something – once they were out there, in the wind, I mentally told myself to get a grip. Seat Sandal wasn’t too bad, and I looked forward to seeing my crew at Dunmail. I was amazed (and somewhat heartened) to see I was still just ahead of schedule when we crossed the dual carriageway – I expected to be well over.

I climbed into Mum’s van with Leigh. I was soaked to the skin, every layer was wet, but I was warm enough, so I didn’t attempt to try and change any clothes. It was still raining, so there was no point anyway. I couldn’t face pasta, but by foresight, or luck, I had also packed baked beans. Cold, out the pot. Perfect. Leigh was calm and practical, but with hindsight I think she was worried about me. I looked like shit and was pretty disheartened.

I had eaten into my leg 1 gain, but still managed to leave 4mins up on my schedule.

My timing card got a bit wet
Leg 3: Dunmail Raise to Wasdale

Schedule: 6hrs 15mins, plus 15mins rest
Actual time: 6hrs 38mins, plus 13mins rest
Support runners: Graham Thomas (nav), Paul Hodgson (timings), Penny Browell, James Garland
Road support at Wasdale: Adrian (and Belle)

I set off on leg 3 with the single thought – well, I’m not quitting at Dunmail, not after only 2 legs. There was no possibility of me coming back in a couple of weeks, just because the weather was bad and I was finding it tough. Not when people had turned out for me at the roadside at 5am in the pouring rain. Let’s just keep going, peak by peak, and see how far I get before time runs out. I had no thought at this point that I could really make it.

For the first half of this leg I kept bleeding time. I just couldn’t keep up with Graham and Paul, who did an excellent job at keeping me on the right path, pointing out the summit cairns. Penny was great at offering her company and verbal support, and James fed and watered me. He seemed to constantly be asking (telling) me – sweet or savoury? Try this. Drink this. It’s been 20mins, what do you want next?

James making me eat, somewhere near Great End

I was grateful for their conversation too, but I offered none myself. The rain came and went. As we got to Bowfell and I struggled up the climb, all I could think about was a quote I remembered reading about the BGR, about a “complete and graceless death on Bowfell”.

As I had planned my Round, I had seen Bowfell as a major focus point. I think it is a bit more than half way (and it is peak 23 of 42) but here the landscape changes to rock, and I felt if I could make it here, roughly on time and still able to walk and run, I might be OK. I decided then and there I would not have that ‘graceless death’. I forced down more food, started to try and move a little more easily. I think the weather may also have improved from here (or was that just my mood?). I remember looking forward to the Scafells, and starting to get a little chatty. I also asked about my times, and Graham was honest that I was behind schedule, but he didn’t seem completely pessimistic.

I really enjoyed Lord’s Rake, and I rambled on about the day me and Mum were here in March, when we had an amazing cloud inversion. That day was one of the best recce days I had – it was an easy pace, we had fantastic weather, I was with Mum, and we had a lot of fun, especially as we ran out of daylight with one headtorch between us.

Lord’s Rake. Don’t look down
Keep looking up!

As we summited Scafell I was physically tired, but mentally felt good, as I jogged slowly down into a sunny Wasdale. I could see the van in the car park, and knew Adrian and Belle were there. I was desperate to see them.

As we hit the ‘tourist’ path to the NT car park there were lots of walkers in summer gear heading up the path towards Scafell Pike. I was jogging down in pretty much full winter kit which I had worn since the wind shelter on Great Dodd (10 hours earlier), still soaked through, though I had ditched my hat and gloves by this point. It made me chuckle inside that the people around me were in shorts and t-shirts. Even better, my watch said it was 12:18. Whatever my schedule said, I know I could still make it if I left Wasdale at around 12:30. I knew I could do the last 2 legs in about 8 hours.

Adrian was brilliant – he had all my kit laid out in the van, along with food, drink and coffee. He helped me in, removed my shoes, and shut the door. Quiet and solitude. I put on completely fresh kit which felt wonderful. I ate more cold beans (thank you Heinz, thank you!) and fruit salad. I emerged fresh and determined (in my mind at least – I probably looked terrible).

I left 17mins down on schedule, but in dry clothes, with a happy stomach, and a feeling of this is doable!

I also left behind my tracker, which will have recorded an extremely fast 100 yards segment, as Graham chased after me to hand it over.

Leg 4: Wasdale to Honister

Schedule: 5hrs 16mins, plus 5mins rest
Actual time: 4hrs 59mins, plus 7mins rest
Support runners: Geoff Davis (nav), Ian Oldham (timings), Tamsin Imber
Road support at Honister: Leigh

I guess some BGR contenders don’t need to worry too much about strategy, but I knew I needed every trick in the bag. When Geoff offered to nav leg 4 I jumped at his offer. I knew if I left Wasdale roughly on time, then if anyone could get me up Yewbarrow and round leg 4 on time, it was Geoff.

As we left I confessed I had slowed on the climbs – Geoff told me not to worry. He said it again as we ascended Yewbarrow, telling me not to worry if he got ahead, just to go my own pace. Lots of people see Yewbarrow as one of the worst climbs on a CW round – 2000 feet straight out of Wasdale, after descending 3000 feet and sitting down for 10mins. But I felt OK – I just plodded up as I did on my recces. And Geoff’s calm, positive words worked a treat. I got to the summit 4 minutes under my scheduled time for that peak.

Following Geoff on the climb up to Red Pike

My memories of leg 4 are all good. I got the occasional flutter of cramp in my thighs, and I was fatigued, but I felt OK. Maybe I was a bit ‘out of it’, but I remember conversations and enjoying each summit I ticked off. After Pillar, I even started working out timings for the rest of the Round (or trying to) in my head. Geoff led perfectly. Tamsin offered welcome, quiet words of encouragement for those ‘small achievements’ like the big steps I needed up the rocks of Kirk Fell and Great Gable. And Ian was constantly feeding me. He produced my food, plus a range of other items (I remember date flapjack, jelly ‘power cubes’, and electrolyte gels), and coaxed me – without me realising – to eat and drink them all.

Ian, my constant food source

The weather was fine on this leg (did it rain? if it did, I don’t remember). The sun shone quite a bit I think. It was windy, but nothing I couldn’t manage. The views were amazing when I looked up, but to be honest, my eyes were focussed on my feet or the food in my hand.

As we descended to Honister the sun was shining and I started to truly believe I could do this, I just needed to keep doing what I was doing. Leigh was there, all prepared. She sat me in her car, and showed me food (more beans!) and drink. I remember feeling lucid – I had conversations with my dad, and Connah. Geoff told me I looked better than Stuart did at this point, which made me laugh given my vomiting incident in leg 2.

Thanks to Geoff’s flawless nav, Tamsin’s encouragement, and Ian’s constant care, I had clawed back some time, and I left Honister only 2 minutes down on schedule.

A hug at Honister

Leg 5: Honister to Keswick

Schedule: 3hrs (scheduled finish time 23:35)
Actual time: 3hrs 10mins
Support runners: Fiona Brannan (nav), Aaron Gourley (timings), Susan Davis, Caroline Graham, Tamsin Imber
Shoe (and Fiona’s bike) support at Newlands Church: Mum

Ian’s partner Caroline, who had been at Wasdale, asked to join me on leg 5, and I was very happy to agree. Tamsin also decided to do a second leg, so a party of 6 left the car park and headed up Dale Head.

I knew all I needed to do was keep moving at a steady rate, and I would make it.

Climbing up Dale Head

There was lots of chat, and I remember I joined in – Susan’s ballet shoes (black, not pink, no ribbons); the apparent availability of used socks on the internet (for those that ‘enjoy’ that type of thing); I even shared with the group that I was wearing my special lucky pants, donned at Wasdale.

Two peaks to go

Fiona kept pointing me to the best line on the trod, where to step to avoid the biggest rocky steps down Robinson (my thighs were pretty sore), and feeding me fizzy fish (pretty much all I could get down, but good and sugary). We had sunshine, a hail shower, a rainbow.

Robinson, the last peak, and a brief moment of celebration

Mum was at Newlands with Fiona’s bike and my road shoes; Caroline expertly removing my fell shoes and helping me into them, kneeling at my feet tying my laces.

The road section felt so long, and because my watch had died I was constantly asking the time. It felt hard to maintain a shuffling run, and every so often I needed to walk for a few yards.

As we hit the footpath at Portinscale I was in a delightful haze. My support group politely got everyone out of my way as I jogged (shuffled) along – one group of guys, probably heading for the pub, clapping and cheering me as I went past. I felt amazing. Geoff was waiting at the end of the path (probably really anxiously checking his watch!)

I cannot describe my feelings as I saw the market place and Moot Hall, and friends and family. I don’t know if elation is the right word – but I felt utterly happy, thankful and grateful. I climbed those last few steps and touched the door, closing my eyes for a few seconds, 23 hours and 47 minutes after I had left it. I had done it.

Afterwards

In the last 12 months before my attempt, every single run became about the BGR, even my hour running round the local fields. When I felt tired, I would try and imagine how I would feel after 60-odd miles and 42 fells, and will myself to keep running. I pictured myself running into Keswick and up the steps of the Moot Hall.

Every training run or race on the fells, I calculated the elevation per mile, my mile speed, and compared this to the BG legs. I tried to get on the BGR route as much as possible, because I felt I needed the experience on the right terrain (grass, bog, scree, stone, boulder), with the climb/descent/climb/descent repeated over and over. Of the 42 peaks in the Round, 40 are Wainwrights. Since 2019 I had done those 40 fells collectively 513 times – I had been up Helvellyn alone 29 times (running, racing or walking). To many this may seem excessive or just not needed – but for me, I needed it as part of my ‘apprenticeship’. I have always preferred to recce events, and this was just an extension of that.

In lots of ways my life had balance – I was still working my full week (even if over 4 days for the weeks in early 2022 when I had a running day off). I continued to eat more pizza than is probably good for me, and enjoy wine. I sometimes vegged on the couch on rest days. But the BGR was in my mind constantly. I thought of all this non-running activity as part of my ‘training’ – it was my recovery, or build up to the next big day out. Everything orbited around my BGR attempt.

The BGR is unique, in its own way, to everyone that attempts it. Even though I do OK in some races, I am not the fastest, fittest, or strongest. I found the ‘runnable’ sections much harder than the steady climb up steep slopes, or the scrambling over rocks, and this is borne out in my times between peaks, and why I managed to claw time back in leg 4. And I am so pleased I went clockwise, and I got that dreadful night out of the way while mind and body could (just!) cope. I feel sure my feelings of sickness and despair in leg 2 were linked to the fact my body was feeling it should be asleep. I am very glad the second half of my Round was all in daylight, during a time my body would expect to be awake and working.

For my BGR I needed the training days of squeezing in as much elevation as possible, and the experiences of years running – some with friends, much of it alone. I needed those beautiful, sunny days out when the views of the hills are to die for, and you don’t want the day to end.

But I think most of all I needed those days out alone, when it was wet, cold, windy, claggy, and the best part of the day was crawling into the warmth and safety of my van, tired, freezing, soaked, and hungry. I needed gale-force winds, and snow drifts that made wading difficult (forget running). Trying to navigate when tears blurred my vision and I couldn’t even get my map the right way up. When I could barely get my gloves on because my hands were too cold. When seeing a trig point summit created such a feeling of thankfulness, because for 10 seconds I knew exactly where I was, even if it was the second time I had found it because I had run in a circle. When squashed, wet jelly-babies kept me moving. When I wanted to stop and lie down in my bivvy bag, but I couldn’t, because I knew I’d be in serious trouble and Mountain Rescue would never find me.

It was all those days (months, years, planning and training) that I thought about in my slight daze, floating along, into the sunny, breathtakingly beautiful Newlands valley on the Saturday evening, just about on schedule, surrounded by good friends. As I think about the descent off Robinson, writing this, it brings tears to my eyes. It was everything I had imagined, and yet much, much more. I want to remember those moments for the rest of my life.

When I finally touched the door of the Moot Hall it felt like the end of a long journey. My first words to Adrian were “it’s over”.

Complementary pint from The Round (the pub), with Mum and Leigh

I don’t think my BGR would have meant as much to me if it wasn’t years in the making. In some ways, I am glad of the postponements (though obviously not the reasons for them). It taught me a lot, and gave me the opportunity for some unforgettable experiences. And it made those 24 hours, and especially those final moments, very, very precious.

As I run round my local fields now, instead of dreaming about that feeling of reaching the Moot Hall, I think of my memories of it. And right now, a few weeks later, every time I think of the day (which is quite often!) it makes me feel wonderful – happy, calm, fulfilled even. It was quite simply the best day of my life.

Adrian has had to put up with a lot from me, not just a sweaty hug

I could not have done this without the amazing, selfless support of family and friends:

Adrian, and my family, putting up with me being tired (sometimes even grumpy!), and often absent.
Mum dragging me to the hills as an unwilling child, and accompanying me as a very willing adult.
Geoff and Susan – friends, coach, constantly motivating and inspiring, and for telling me the BGR could be achievable.
My Strider running friends (all of them, not just fell runners) who constantly motivate me with their own achievements.
My boss, Dan, for allowing, and trusting me to manage all that work stuff around many random days off for training (‘oh, it’s a Mason XXXday’).

And of course, all of my brilliant support runners – Dave, Tricia, Mark, Elaine, Stuart, Dawn, Graham, Paul, Penny, James, Geoff, Ian, Tamsin, Fiona, Aaron, Susan, Caroline.
My superb calm, controlled and organised road support crew – Adrian and Belle, Leigh, Connah, and Ched, Mum.
And my Dad for being there to see me off, at Honister, and at the finish.

Thank you, everyone. I know I would not have managed to achieve this without you.

Susan and Geoff – it was all their doing!

Nina’s Schedule

Below is Nina’s schedule, with actuals, showing times of day and splits.

Location or Summit
Sched Split
Sched Time
Actual Split
Actual Time
Keswick – Moot Hall21:0021:00
1 Skiddaw (3054′)1:2522:251:2022:20
2 Great Calva (2265′)0:5023:150:4023:00
3 Blencathra (2847′)1:1500:301:0500:05
Threlkeld – arrive0:3001:000:3600:41
Leg Total (14 miles, 5500′ ascent)
4:00
3:41
Rest0:050:09
Threlkeld – depart 01:0500:50
4 Clough Head (2382′)0:5001:550:5301:43
5 Great Dodd (2807′)0:3002:250:3702:20
6 Watson’s Dodd (2584′)0:1002:350:1302:33
7 Stybarrow Dodd (2756′)0:1002:450:1102:44
8 Raise (2889′)0:1803:030:1803:02
9 White Side (2832′)0:1003:130:1003:12
10 Helvellyn Lower Man (3033′)0:1603:290:1703:29
11 Helvellyn (3116′)0:0803:370:0803:37
12 Nethermost Pike (2910′)0:1003:470:0903:46
13 Dollywaggon Pike (2810′)0:1203:590:1604:02
14 Fairfield (2864′)0:4504:440:4104:43
15 Seat Sandal (2863′)0:2505:090:2405:07
Dunmail Raise – arr0:2505:340:1905:26
Leg Total (14 miles, 6000′ ascent)
4:29
4:36
Rest0:100:14
Dunmail Raise – depart05:4405:40
16 Steel Fell (1811′)0:2506:090:2406:04
17 Calf Crag (1762′)0:2006:290:2406:28
18 Sergeant Man (2414′)0:3006:590:3807:06
19 High Raise (2500′)0:1007:090:1007:16
20 Thunacar Knott (2351′)0:1507:240:1507:31
21 Harrison Stickle (2415′)0:1007:340:0907:40
22 Pike O’Stickle (2323′)0:1507:490:1507:55
23 Rosset Pike (2106′)0:4508:340:4608:41
24 Bow Fell (2960′)0:3509:090:3909:20
25 Esk Pike (2903′)0:2509:340:2909:49
26 Great End (2984′)0:3010:040:2510:14
27 Ill Crag (3025′)0:1510:190:1510:29
28 Broad Crag (3054′)0:1010:290:1310:42
29 Scafell Pike (3205′)0:1510:440:1510:57
30 Scafell (3162′)0:4011:240:4111:38
Wasdale Head – arr0:3511:590:4012:18
Leg Total (16 miles, 6500′ ascent)
6:15
6:38
Rest0:150:13
Wasdale Head- depart12:1412:31
31 Yewbarrow (2058′)0:5013:040:4713:18
32 Red Pike (2629′)0:5013:540:4414:02
33 Steeple (2687′)0:3014:240:1914:21
34 Pillar (2927′)0:3014:540:3114:52
35 Kirk Fell (2630′)0:5015:440:5415:46
36 Great Gable (2949′)0:5016:340:4016:26
37 Green Gable (2628′)0:1516:490:1916:45
38 Brandreth (2344′)0:1617:050:1617:01
39 Grey Knotts (2287′)0:1017:150:1117:12
Honister Pass – arrive0:1517:300:1817:30
Leg Total (11 Miles, 6500′ ascent)
5:16
4:59
Rest0:050:07
Honister Pass – depart 17:3517:37
40 Dalehead (2473′)0:3518:100:3818:15
41 Hindscarth (2385′)0:2118:310:1918:34
42 Robinson (2417′)0:2919:000:2619:00
Keswick – Moot Hall1:3520:351:4720:47
Leg Total (11 Miles, 2500′ ascent)
3:00
3:10
Running Time23:0023:04
Rest Time0:350:43
Overall (66 miles, 27000′ ascent)
23:35
23:47

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