No sponsors, no problem — for these fell runners, it’s all about breaking records under your own steam (and sometimes by accident)
Throughout its history, British fell-running has been mired with determinedly amateur heroes: hardcore folk with little interest in the trappings of fame, like ‘King of the Fells’ Joss Naylor, who bagged a ‘round’ of 72 Lakeland peaks in under 24 hours (roughly a 100-mile circuit) back in 1975, and who once ran through pain for two weeks before finding out he had two broken feet.
Jasmin Paris in action |credit: Shane Ohly
It’s inspiring to see the latest generation staunchly upholding the tradition. The Paddy Buckley Round, Bob Graham Round, and Ramsay Round are the three big classic British fell running challenges. Last year, training around her day job as a small animal vet, Jasmin Paris managed to break the female records for all of them within six months. Jasmin’s total time for running up and down 42 Lakeland peaks, 24 Scottish peaks and 47 Welsh ones was 50 hours and 10 minutes. Phew!
Sprinting up and down 113 mountains in one summer is incredible enough, now imagine doing that in gales with snow under foot. Last February, entrepreneur Jim Mann, who fits in enough training by running at night and doing exercises while brushing his teeth, ‘accidentally’ became the first person to run all three rounds within one winter season. In fact, showing incredible recovery times, he ran them all within one month. Apparently it all started when he was wondering what to do one January weekend. He ended up running the Ramsay Round at the last minute – and broke the record for running it in winter. It all sort of snowballed from a whim, as the best adventures often do.
Jim Mann takes on the Ramsay Round | Credit: Shane Ohly
The big three UK fell running rounds
Could you take on one of the classic British fell running rounds this summer? The traditional aim is to complete one in under 24 hours. Disclaimer: it’s not easy. One of the world’s greatest mountain runners, Scott Jurek (admittedly not on peak form), completed the Bob Graham Round with just 16 minutes to spare. And that’s probably the softest one.
☛ Ramsay Round, Scotland
60-mile round of 24 peaks including Ben Nevis, the Aonachs and the whole Mamores ridge. First completed in just under 24 hours by Charlie Ramsay in 1978.
☛ Paddy Buckley Round, Wales
A 62-mile circuit of 47 summits including the Snowdon range, Carneddau and Glyderau. Dreamt up by Paddy Buckley and rst achieved in under 24 hours by Martin Stone in 1985.
☛ Bob Graham Round, Lake District
42 Lakeland peaks including the four 3000ers. Bob Graham was the rst to run it in under 24 hours back in 1932 (wearing tennis shoes and with bread and butter sarnies in his pocket). His record stood for 28 years.