Double Bob Graham Round
14th/15th May 2016
One week later and I'm ready to remember and reveal!
Background - Within Dark Peak most people know of Roger Baumister's Double Bob Graham. He is still a very active member of the club and at 73 is still looking for the next big challenge which usually involved very long days, little sleep and battered feet. When I first looked at the Bob Graham in 2005, as a member of Penistone Footpath Runners - I saw the list of Double BG's on the Bob Graham Club website As with all the other records listed there this to me sounded incredulous.
I completed the Bob Graham in June 2005 in 23.32 hours then looked at the Paddy Buckley round for 2006. I made the worst mistake of my "round career" since and attempted in bad weather in May 2006. I got very cold and wet early on, couldn't eat and ran out of energy but sure doggedness kept me going to finish in 25.45. My body was wrecked - my legs swelled up like balloons and it would have taken me all summer to recover anyway. But also one month later I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I remember clearly being stood next to people while they discussed "Why do you think you got Breast Cancer?" and then they happily went on to talk about "Well it could be that you're a beef farmer? Well it could be that you do all these long distance running things?" etc etc. Absolutely so insensitive it's incredulous. But it happened. So - please "jo public" if someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer (or any other disease) do not discuss in front of them why they got it (and you didn't).
But - on the other hand - I cannot ignore the fact that I was in the worst state, mentally and physically than I had ever been after my 2006 Paddy Buckley. The co-incidence is too great. So - I made a vow never to let myself get like that again. But while eating less beef is easy - do I also stop doing something that means so much to me? Running in the mountains? Challenging myself? Pushing the boundaries? No - I couldn't stop.
Another thing I did when I got breast cancer is google it. Not the best idea really but hard to resist. I found very little positive but an extraordinary amount of negative. There was a lady called Joan Williams who was a trustee of a charity and in her profile it said she'd had breast cancer in 1996 so she had lived 10 years. There was a little headshot of her. When I was feeling low I used to look at that photo and it gave me hope. So during my treatment I started a diary, recording my progress, appointments, reconstruction etc. I also recorded when I started running as again there was only bad news on this from the NHS and the internet. NHS leaflets talked about "After 3 weeks you can carry washing upstairs" What ???? The NHS stretches I was given I could complete almost the day after the operation. Fit people are not normal people and recover so much quicker. I started this website just so I could publish the diary and hoped I would help future cancer patients. This is my diary RunBG.co.uk Breast Cancer
Fast forward Ten years to 2016
So I continued doing rounds and a few Ultra races and celebrating the small milestones - Christmas 2006, my 40th birthday in 2007, the five year anniversary of cancer survival. Then along came the Ten Years anniversary. After attempting the BG record twice (2012 & 2015) and getting in around 18 hours both times I wanted something different, something longer and slower. Something that would need an element of "off the wall" and uncontrollable elements. I had read the full account of Roger's round in the "Ten Year's of Dark Peak" booklet and also here Double Bob Graham I knew straight away that it was something I wanted to try. To celebrate my anniversary what could be better especially if I could go at a pace that was sustainable and actually enjoy it. I told Roger I was going to attempt about July 2015 and he replied "How exciting, you must go for it". But over the summer I backtracked as I just thought it was too impossible. It was actually meeting Roger at Dungworth Dash in September that convinced me again. He just seemed so sure of my success. So I made plans, sent out supporter emails and when everybody had confirmed by Christmas I put it on the backburner and spent the winter farming.
One of my best rounds was the Paddy record - I really didn't know it was achievable and so I just said to myself "Get as far as you can". On the record attempt I only started to believe it might happen 7 hours from the finish. The weather and my support all came out trumps. I did 19.02 and couldn't give a hoot about the two minutes. I had done it!! You can't plan and create these days; they just happen. But I could help for the Double by not overcomplicating it. By making supporters double up, by keeping my schedule quiet (so no one knows if I'm up or down - it's a schedule; it can be wrong), by just setting off and seeing what happens. "It's going to be interesting" my brother Charlie said on the phone on Friday afternoon; just hours before I started. And yes that's just what I thought !!!
On the weekend
Pre round it was the best kept secret - although most of Dark Peak knew as Roger Baumiester seemed so very excited! Actually on the attempt I do like the pressure of knowing people are watching; it keeps me moving so I allowed Inov-8.com to publish a blog which included the link to a tracker on Thursday night. The Inov-8 blog explains why I followed Roger's example of doing half a BG clockwise, turning round and doing a full BG back to Yewbarrow anticlockwise then turning round again and completing clockwise to the Moot Hall so I won't duplicate here. I also wanted publicity to raise money for Odyssey a very small charity that provides outdoor holidays for people recovering from cancer so increased my target to £6500 on my Just Giving page and published that (the target has since been increased again).
The weather was looking perfect which made clothes decisions easier - I went for the usual option of Inov-8 shorts with 3/4's on top as setting off at midnight and both have pockets that will fit the tracker and my laminated schedule in. Then an Inov-8 long sleeved Merino with a short sleeved top over the top. Shoes were obviously the Mudclaw 300 although I did put the Inov-8 Roadclaw 275 in as spares. I would have chosen the Inov-8 Ultra 290's but I got my Ultra 290's for the UTMB and they are a size 7.5. I'm usually a 6.5 Mudclaws but like a bigger fit for Ultras. Had I known it was going to be so dry underfoot in May I would have got a size 7 pair of Ultra 290's ready. As it was I did have a size 7 pair of RoadClaws which I got for the Ningbo marathon in China - where it was 50/50 road/trail, dry and hot. They had performed brilliantly off road there. My worry was that when I was tired; swopping from a 6.5 Mudclaw to a size 7.5 Ultra 290 would result in me tripping myself up with such a larger and different shoe size swop. So I chose the Roadclaw as my second shoe instead.
Food - I packed the usual for the hills in my supporters bags - Tunnocks, Brunchs, sweets, rice pudding, banana, fruit salads, a couple of gels per leg, cheddars, hula hoops and crisps. Water and energy drink (1 scoop High5 Extreme with a Zero tablet in each 300ml bottle). I also packed a lot of Longley Farm Yogurts as I had eaten 3 in a row after Calderdale Hike and they tasted so good! Road stops I had spicy pasta, sausage casserole, beans and then Charmian Heaton was going to make me some dishes such as pie, pizza, eggs. It was really the unknown.
Another consideration was the 2006 vow I had made to "look after myself". With this round being so unknown I was worried about getting into a very bad state. Ultra runners have been known to have mental breakdowns and tiredness disorders for years after a massive challenge. I couldn't afford to let that happen. It was a scary thought and one that I hoped would make me stop if the going got too tough.
And then there was Wisp and my Lucky Leprechaun.. On my first BG Steve (my husband) scoured the fields until he found a 4 leaf clover which I carried all the way round. He doesn't come on my rounds usually; I'm not nice to him and the farm needs looking after. But this doesn't mean he isn't there routing for me. He showed me this Leprechaun (pictured next to the Double Horseshoes) and then gave it to me. I fastened it to my shorts and changed it over about 4 times during the round. It helped when I was feeling low as I gave it a little rub and thought of Steve. Wisp - my dog has been with me on so many reccies and initially I didn't think it was logistically possible for me to bring her. But then Helen Elmore offered to look after her and so I asked for her on Legs 2, 7 and 10 (see below photo on Raise with us).
Leg 1 - Keswick to Threlkeld Schedule 4.10 hrs Actual 3.34 hrs Cumulative 3.34 hours
Setting off at 00.01 on 14th May with Jasmin Paris and Steve Sanders was very surreal. The pace up Skiddaw was kept easy; I made myself talk to slow everyone down. We got to the top six minutes up on schedule which was fine. My plan was to get 1 to 2 hours up on schedule in the first 30 hours. That would then allow for a sleep and also it was so hard to predict how much I would slow down after that so I knew the schedule would likely be incorrect there. It was bitterly cold at the summit though with a strong NE wind which went straight through me. We were careful descending but found the stile easily. Running through the bogs I told the story of when I was leading the Inov-8 German visitors down there and they had no idea what a bog was and ran straight into the middle of it going up to their waists which luckily they found hilarious! The bogs were dry as a bone which was very encouraging and what weren't dry were actually frozen! We made more time to Calva and on route to Blencathra getting our feet wet in the river. As it was still dark I made the decision to descend Halls Fell rather than direct as a) I didn't know it that well and b) it would avoid the falling on the hand again! Halls Fell was dry and fine. It was good to get one leg done. I was worried about the cold - especially for the on coming night and told Jasmin where she could find more clothes in my van as she was on Leg 5 on Saturday night.
Leg 2 - Threlkeld to Dunmail Schedule 4.35 Actual 4.03 Cumulative 7.48 hours
I tucked into beans on toast followed by rice pudding. Jean Brown, Kirsty Hewitson and Mark Harvey were ready along with Wisp my dog who was absolutely bouncing!! I don't like Clough Head but at least being ahead of schedule I couldn't see it! We went up the "Helvellyn and the Dodds" race route which dropped us onto a little trod that I remembered from 2015 and straight to the top. I was discussing our return descent option and we agreed this route would be good if we could find it. It was very odd to be talking of returning in roughly 20 hours time and I had to keep stopping myself from getting too overwhelmed by the thought. I was eating well; it wasn't that I was hungry but I just had to eat. So choosing bars, bananas, rice puds and it all just kept going down without a fuss. And I was drinking a lot too; the air was dry and dusty. Again it was a lot colder than I imagined with a frost. Approaching Raise the sun was coming up and we could see a figure running up and down. "That looks like a person trying to keep warm" said Kirsty. Yep we all knew it was, I hadn't expected anyone out so it was a real surprise and a pleasure. He leapt about taking photos; we thanked him and went on our way. He said "See you later, probably Bowfell". I couldn't get my head round the tops; I just haven't spent enough time up there to learn it that well without a map and my hands were cold. In fact I had them in my pockets a lot of the time. Kirsty took charge while Jean and Mark fed me and Wisp ran around! I felt privileged to be there in such great weather with such good company and a promise of a long day ahead.
Fairfield was the usual tough climb but I was wondering when my legs might start complaining; it all felt too easy. Was this because I was taking it steady? Lee Proctor was at the top and ran off. We followed and ended up in rocks - first timely reminder that we might meet a lot of people during the day that probably aren't running the direction we want to go. So Don't follow them!! We corrected ourselves and headed to Seat Sandal. This is so different to last year when I was already too hot and worrying about the cut on my hand. I was eating well, I couldn't complain about the cold, Wisp was loving it and I just had another 40 hours to go "No, Stop It - you're not allowed to think that far ahead - you've just got to get to Wasdale next!". "Oh OK - that's fine then". I asked my supporters that if possible I would like Wisp on the return leg (Leg 5) as well. But it was up to them as logistically I didn't know their plans. So more time made up and I was happy.
Leg 3 Dunmail to Wasdale Schedule 6.15 hours Actual 5.16 Cumulative 13.05
The road stop was a little chaotic as many people were trying to help me asking various questions. But it was fine and I tucked into food (can't remember what) and gave my supporters some yoghurts and more rice puds and fruit salads to carry. I didn't change any clothes but was wondering about having to take my shorts off as the double combination was starting to rub. I set off though in the company of Joe Mann, Dave Lund and Glen Borril - all three very strong runners who had elected to do the leg both ways. I could hear Wisp howling all the way up Steel Fell but she doesn't like the rocks and I was ascending and descending Broad Stand too so it was for the best that she missed this leg out. I was making time on the schedule but the conditions were perfect and as I'd used a standard schedule but added in time on the long splits this wasn't surprising. These guys were great company; not too chatty but cheerful and attentive. Raise I hate but it came and went. Across the langdales we caught sight of Jeff Harrison and Alan Yates rushing to get into position with tea and coffee. I had some weird tea from Alan before opting for Jeff's coffee. They were so funny vying for what I wanted to eat and drink. That's one thing I love about Dark Peak; we're competitive about everything! It's how I learnt how to put up a traditional tent so fast - having been up against a Quecha! Stuart Smith was there too marshalling a walking event - so we had a hug and a beard brustle (it's a tussle with a beard) before I carried on my way. Somewhere across the Langdales my left knee started hurting; having been kicked a few times by cows over winter I've had some knee pain. Jeff Cole at Injury Scene did some one finger massage on the knee cap which got rid of it - so I tried that on the uphills as it was way too early to be getting knee pain. That would definitely finish off my attempt. The photographer was indeed on Bowfell and I asked him his name; it was Dan Bailey from http://www.ukclimbing.com/ . It was so nice seeing him again and I felt honored at his effort to photo me. Finding the lines was easy and all along we discussed the return route - how not to get benighted on Great End, the route to Esk Pike and Broad Crag. Lee Proctor was out and learning some sneaky Old County Tops lines off us. It was all very chatty and fun but below I was continually making sure I was eating swopping from one food to another, getting a packet of crisps down quite often to keep the salt intake up. Broad Stand has been my nemesis on both record attempts; and losing supporters there also. So it was such a relief to see Steve Wathall had set up all the ropes and he expertly guided me up. Running across the plateau I saw Max and Lynda Howard so I ran over to give them both a hug. It was fantastic to reach the summit of Scafell with all supporters intact. I was worried about my knee on the long descent but it wasn't too bad. I took my 3/4's and long top off as it was getting warm and Yewbarrow looked menacing and hot!
Leg 3a Schedule 1.20 Actual 1.20 Cummulative 14.24
I didn't stop for long at Wasdale as I wanted to get Yewbarrow done. Setting off with Tim Rippon it was lovely to change company and chat all the way to the top and back. This was a pinnacle moment for me and I took a deep breath thinking it would be 24 hours before I returned to the summit. But things were going well. The legs had only just started to ask questions about "How many hills are we doing today?" and the stomach was good. I purposely avoided looking at Great Gable, Kirkfell, Pillar on my left as we descended. The re-ascent of Scafell was daunting enough.
Running into the car park I was astounded to see Joss Naylor there. Of course he is a hero of mine; not only for his previous running exploits but also that he keeps going and now in his 80th year wants to celebrate it by running 30 miles. I first met Joss on my first Wasdale Fell race in 2007; he was at Greendale handing out water. I ran up so pleased to be meeting him and he said to me "Are you last?" I said very indignantly "No, I'm not, I'm just pacing it". I finished in 6.12 hours, 86th /105 finishers and think I even won a prize which Joss presented me. Ever since then when I see him there on the Wasdale race I say "I've just warmed up"! He once signed his book for a present for my dad, after a very wet Wasdale race and spent ages writing such a lovely inscription inside it. I think a lot of him but we hardly ever talk but to pass a few words on the weather or how to get rid of bracken - as a farmer to a farmer. So it meant so very much to me that he thought so much of my running that he would come out to meet me. He handed me some fudge, we chatted and he looked me in the eye and said "You'll do this".
I had cheese and onion pie but passed on the potatoes, and couldn't manage the crumble. The yoghurts and milk shakes were refreshing as was a lot of tea or was it coffee?
Leg 4 Wasdale to Dunmail Schedule 6.15 hours Actual 5.37 Cumulative 20.11
Climbing Scafell was tough; it was hot and the start of a very long return leg. We were all quiet - that was the nice thing about tired supporters; we all climbed in companionable silence. On the plus side this was the 1st return hill, never to be climbed again. I'd put in little milestones to aim at - 12 hours had passed and I felt ok. This was the next and I was still feeling relatively ok. The cold wind kept returning and my clothes weren't right. Long sleeves were too hot, short sleeved too cold - every change I had to remove my huge watch which was a faff. I pushed on a little at the top, trying to make the split even though I knew I shouldn't. But I did make it! One of my favourite summits but it was still good to see it go. Down Broad Stand - another milestone over, and across to the busy Scafell again. The hills were getting quiet though as the evening drew on. My knee pain had gone away - hoorah! But I had sore spots on the bottom of my feet which were worrying. Eating was still good; the food was a little boring now. Crisps began to hurt the inside of my mouth and the salt made them sting. But I was finding food to eat and eating it. I introduced a gel or two now as the legs were starting to get tired. Lee popped up again and we ran to Esk Pike together. It just seemed a very long way to Dunmail but I was looking forward to seeing Alan and Jeff in the Langdales again. I was ready for their tea and coffee! Running through the Langdales is also great as it's one area where ACW is nicer than CW. We were making time still but we were all tired and I was contemplating the long night ahead. The Langdales were indeed lovely running; it just seems so nice running down Raise instead of slogging up it. So to Steel Fell and down to Dunmail. I really hoped Wisp would be there and was looking for her while I ran down. I thought I spotted her and then I was sure I did. My heart lifted. She has done so many trips to the Lakes with me and I really wanted to see her again. I was very grateful to the support for sorting that out.
The pit stop was less chaotic this time and there was fish and chips!! And curry sauce!! I tried the fish; that tasted good but the cold chips were less appealing. I finished off all the fish though dipping it in the curry sauce. I wanted to change clothes but it was too busy on the side of the road so sorting out a change of clothes I gave them to Kirsty, Jean and Jasmin; my supporters for that leg! Jasmin had my thick waterproof which I was glad of; the temperature was dropping. I also got Kirsty to check my feet and we changed my socks and put some vaseline on them. She couldn't find any hotspots so that was good news.
Leg 5 Dunmail to Threlkeld Schedule 5.35 Actual 5.09 Cumulative 25.14 hours
Off up Seat Sandal which from our recce we all knew to be a tough climb. My feet felt very sore and I worried about them. Wisp was bouncing round along with Jasmin! We went out of sight of the road and I stopped to change but the drone could be heard and so we postponed it!! All day the film makers - from Slackjaw Films had been popping up; some of them I knew - Nick Brown, Dom Bush and Rich Heap and others I didn't. It was nice to see them and say a few words. I imagine they got a lot of lovely footage and look forward to the film developing over the summer as a celebration of my life - ten years after cancer. I stopped on the descent of Seat Sandal and changed to 3/4's and long sleeved tops. We ran chatting about Jasmin's Bob Graham round and her supporters. I am so pleased that we support each other and that she is really pushing the limits in terms of what women can achieve. It was now getting dark and we stopped up Dollywaggon to get the torchs out and to put more clothes on as it was cold. I was faffing with my torch as the extension lead was missing so the battery was pulling the torch off my head. Eventually I decided to stop again, find the spare torch and get the lead off that. It was all faffy but when sorted was better especially as now we had our hoods up and so leads needed to be long enough to get round that. I started to feel very tired now; the legs a bit heavy, the hands got cold, the stomach not working very well. It felt like we were losing time but we weren't as I had actually added lots to this leg to make up for any clag that would hinder our navigation. The girls were great but the stomach was being difficult. Eventually Jean suggested nuts and raisins which went down well and I was so grateful to her for bringing other stuff. This was always going to be the problem; eventually you go off everything you have. I wasn't forced to eat and I know I was eating enough but it was cold and we just kept going. Heading off Clough Head we searched for the direct line; eventually we found it and that was good news. Descending I realised that my feet weren't sore anymore so that was good advice and treatment from Kirsty and I took heed later on.
I dived into the campervan ready for some proper food and instantly felt awful. Maybe it was too hot, maybe I ran too quickly to get there. I don't know but I felt sick and lightheaded. I lay down till it passed then sat up again. Charmian had made beans on toast. I ate well; not much toast though as I was lacking in saliva now. I had to lie down again and even shut my eyes. In hindsight I don't know why I didn't have a nap then; I think no-one had suggested it and I wasn't thinking straight as I should have done. Instead I sat up, collected my support and trudged on out of Threlkeld.
Leg 6 Threlkeld to Keswick Schedule 5.05 Actual 5.23 Cumulative 31.03 hours
Blencathra was awful - it just went on and on. Dave Pickering stayed with me while Jasmin, Adam Perry and his friend went ahead picking the best route. Adam was hassling me to eat; I tried crisps, a bar, and some sweets. I got a whole bag of jelly babies down and had a few gels hoping they would sustain me until I could get more down. Because I was ahead of schedule we were in the dark on this leg; instead of in daylight so we lost time route finding. Adam made the call to go via the fence line to Great Calva as it would be impossible to find the path through the heather on the direct line. This was a good call and I appreciated someone making it as I wasn't capable. I enjoyed the descent through the rough grass; it was lightly frozen and soft underfoot. I managed a yogurt in the valley and more sweets on the climb - using my old technique of having to "finish the bag by such and such place - this time it was the fence". I felt happier by the summit of Skiddaw - over halfway and new hills to come. We had a funny photo bomb moment on the summit and started the long run down. Adam had kept mentioning a power nap all through the leg and now I considered it. I would lose time but it might help. I've never had a nap before on a race but knew people who had. It was worth a try. I was feeling so rough and the thought of another day was too much. It was when Jasmin said "Well you've just got a Fellsman to do now" that the enormousity of it all hit me. I couldn't do it - I couldn't do another 12 hours (my Fellsman time) never mind 16 hours. I just couldn't. I was quiet all the way down to Keswick. Well it's got to be a power nap then; last chance saloon.
Running to the Moot Hall I was ok but as I passed it I wanted to run back and touch it and for it all to be over there and then. But I hadn't even done one Bob Graham so I couldn't stop. But I didn't want to carry on. The film man appeared and ran alongside me so I ran on. Tears were welling in my eyes but I didn't want to cry. Dave noticed what I was going through and smiled in sympathy. I reached the campervan at Portinscale and dived in needing peace. Charmian was fantastic - I told her what I wanted - change of clothes, food and sleep; in that order. She got it all sorted for me. I sat down and tears just poured silently down my face. I think I was so scared that the power nap wouldn't work. That I would have to stumble out and try to do another 16 hours feeling as bad as I did. That I might not be able to. That I might lose everything I had gained. Charmian looked up from untying my laces and saw my tears. She shook my knees in sympathy and carried on untying my laces. With me in tears we just carried on - getting me out of old clothes and into clean clothes, changing my shoes for the Inov-8 RoadClaws, getting my fried eggs (which thankfully tasted fantastic) and tea down then making room for me to lie down. I said 10 minutes. I lay down and my mind was whizzing. Then I thought "What was that?" as I woke. I realised where I was and what was happening. Charmian said "you said 10 minutes - it's up". I sat up. I felt better. In fact I felt great .. and more importantly I wanted to get on. "Let's do this" I thought!!
Leg 7 Schedule 2.55 Actual 3.02 Cumulative 34.07
It was daunting setting off on the road. I tried to push it a bit but was breathless and thought "It's too early - Wait till Yewbarrow then see how you feel". My support were what I call My Elite Last Leg - Helen Elmore, Simon Rippon, Keith Holmes and Wisp joined us too. They were jolly and chatting along which made the road pass quicker although we were all surprised how much uphill there is in it going ACW. I really started to worry about timings as in the schedule I had used ACW times -and added time as on an ACW attempt this would be their first and second leg. It was impossible to know how much slower than them I would be. But I was moving, feeling stronger and thought it was possible. It was so much fun to listen to Helen, Simon and Keith talking about the pub banter on Saturday night; lots of beer had been consumed and many discussions had taken place. Everyone had enjoyed spending time with Roger Baumiester and learning all about his Double. Climbing Robinson was a pig, but I plodded up and onwards. We made it 5 mins down on schedule. After I lost the same time to Hindscarth I started to try and work out if I lost 5 mins per split could I still do it in under 48 hours. These calculations are not the easiest at the best of times - but after 35 hours virtually impossible. Anyway it kept me occupied while Keith ran about finding the good lines. The weather was fantastic and I couldn't believe I was running into another great day in the Lakes. I was eating again - back on rice puds and fruit salads. We made it to Honister down on schedule so I had a shorter stop.
Leg 8 Schedule 3.50 Actual 4.19 Cumulative 38.26
Setting off with Willy Kitchen, Laurence Piercy, Matt Bennett and Beth Pascall I explained that I thought the Leg 8 splits would be hard to achieve and why. Willy was relieved as also being a schedule expert he had studied them and was wondering how to break it to me when we started to lose time! So we climbed well - the legs still going well, and the breathing ok except when it got hot. Again the layers weren't right - but even in hindsight I'm not sure what would have worked better. Since my hysterectomy in 2012 my thermostat doesn't work very well; so I get cold, start to warm up, then overheat. And I can't run when I'm too hot; it makes me feel sick. So the layers went on and came off; along with the watch! I was using the watch to record the splits but had also told my support to use "Time of Day" since the debacle on my 2015 record round when I broke my watch and that totally screwed me as I had no idea how I was doing on the schedule. Beth was quiet and I was concentrating so couldn't chat but I was looking forward to catching up with her after her Highland Fling win and record.
The summits came and went. I love Laurence as a supporter - he is quiet, attentive and funny. Willy was organisor and navigator, also telling me straight whether I was up or down. I ate a rice pudding and struggled to keep it down. Oh well, it had to happen sometime. I was amazed that I hadn't been sick already. I tried a fruit salad and then a yoghurt. All were a struggle but stayed down. I'll try a Tunnock next I said. And a gel. We were generally losing a few minutes on every split so once again I tried the "Is it possible?" calculation. Willy noticed me watch and schedule studying and asked what I was doing so I told him. "Spinks, you'd have to lose 10 minutes on every split not do it now" he said. I didn't quite believe him but knew he wouldn't con me so gave up and concentrated on running and eating. I was desperate to go to the loo but couldn't so at Steeple we decided to have our stop and get some spicy pasta out. It tasted good and I hoped it would get the system working. The feeling of being bloated was getting very uncomfortable. Steeple is a nice mountain and I joked can't I just run out and back again. But no- we swopped trackers over, ate some food, got cold and moved onto Red Pike. Running down to Dore Head we heard a shout and there was Yiannis Tridimas. I was overjoyed to see him. He has been such a cruicial part of my rounds but somehow had got missed off the circulation list and I was sad he might not know. He shouted words of encouragement and we went on.
Leg 9 Schedule 4.02 Actual 4.00 Cummulative 42.26
At Dore Head col we were met by Joss Naylor. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. He looked frozen and said he would see us on our way back. Running across to Yewbarrow I had a new lease of life, seeing Joss, running this familiar path that I had run with Wisp at Easter. I liked it ACW. I even ran some uphills to the summit. I had made it! I could turn round and head for home. It was such a pinnacle moment but again I didn't know what to do. Willy took a photo and the film man was there. I think I will go back soon and celebrate on the summit. I have been there so many times and it's a special place for me now. We ran back to Joss and he handed me a "rock cake". Amazingly it tasted very good. Joss followed on behind as we climbed Red Pike. I ate the rock cake bit by bit. Joss said knowingly "You don't have to eat it if you don't want - these lads will finish it off" But No it was actually going down very well and I enjoyed it. I wanted to push on but didn't want to lose Joss. We both puffed our way up until he said "I'm going to take some clothes off" and stopped. We looked back a few minutes later and he had gone. Back to Steeple we went, making time. Across Pillar to Kirkfell. I tried really pushing up Red Gully but paid for it. Out of breath and dizzy I had a quick stop before the summit. "It's not worth it" I thought. "Keep what you have, go as fast as you can, but you've too far to go"
We were joined by Kirsty and Jean who had the flask of reheated proper coffee that I had brewed on Friday afternoon (another campsite tale). Nothing tasted so good and gave me such a kick. They proceeded to meet me at every col and drip feed me it. "Oh nectar". They also told us that Beth (who had stopped on Pillar on our outward leg) had descended as she wasn't feeling well. Matt (her boyfriend) stayed with us and proved to be a very useful supporter.
On the way back life was good, we were gaining more time than we were losing and once we had gained the 20 minutes that we had lost on the way out all of us were satisfied. It was great. Joss kept popping up obviously knowing secret sheep trods everywhere but it was fantastic to spot him and then wonder how on earth had he managed that? I really relaxed and started to enjoy it. The combination of Tunnocks, brunchs and gels were working well. Off Green Gable I spotted a figure on my right; it was Steve Cliff. He ran down and spoke to me. Bouncing round and being so happy. I loved having him join us. Down to Honister we flew with only one leg to go!
I sat outside the campervan and tucked into sausage and beans splosh (Steve's word for all concoctions I make). Another change of socks and a special Kirsty foot massage with Vaseline. Then apologizing and joking with Lee Proctor about wearing the Roadclaws for a Bob Graham - but they had been fantastic. I think there was a couple of occasions I'd wished I had better grip but for comfort and cushioning on the rocks I couldn't fault them.
Leg 10 Schedule 2.48 Actual 3.04 Cummulative 45.30
So I was off again with my "Last Leg Crew" of Helen Elmore, Simon Rippon, Keith Holmes and joined by Steve Wathall and Wisp. I joked about pretending to projectile vomit for the camera (watch the 2015 Bob Graham film!) and off we went. Wisp now on her 4th leg was slightly less bouncy and Helen had obviously grown very attached to her. Everyone was so happy; joking and regaling tales of Keith's confessions of his youth. We climbed well, made the summit on time and ran on. It was a small select group that came along but I was given space to run and think which is important to me. It's a funny time where I can be very happy one moment, then for no reason feel very sad and unsure. Helen reads my mind and looks after me. On Robinson Keith Holmes spoke up like he was addressing his Assembly (he is a Headmaster and very bossy). I didn't quite get it but looked about as I was told to; never one to argue with Keith! This summit moment wasn't as important to me as Yewbarrow. I don't know why not. I just wanted to get the horrid road over with and to the finish. "It's not over till the fat lady sings" is one of my mottos! We ran off and down the way we had come, not exactly finding the best route but who cares. Along the road the atmosphere was carnival - we joked about stopping off at the pub. I wanted to push on but didn't want to collapse at the Moot Hall so made sure I was eating something and drinking.
With 2 miles to go I made the inevitable decision that I wanted to do 45.30 hours so started to push on. The 2 miles then seemed like 3 miles as the minutes went faster than my legs would. But eventually there was the Moot Hall, traffic was stopped and my watch said 45.29. I ran as hard as I could thinking "how do I get through all the people?", I weaved left but there was no gap, then someone (thank you!) said "Make way for her" and the crowd parted and there was the Moot Hall. Round a bench (who put that there?) and I reached the door and touched it. Pressing my watch I looked down and it said 00.00. Bloody watch! But the time of day was 9.30pm so that was that! 45.30 hours. I turned round and grinned. I just didn't really know what to do. So many people, so many cameras. I almost didn't want to leave - just to savor the moment for as long as possible.
After a few minutes I knew I needed to move. This is the uncertain bit; how will the body and mind react to stopping. Usually within 10 minutes I'm useless. I looked for Charmian and my support. We had hugs and congratulations. I was hungry and Willy went to get me chips and curry sauce. It was lovely to spend time with Joss, Roger and all the well wishers but I knew I had to get going fairly soon. I do wish I could have gone and celebrated in the pub; but it's just not going to happen. Now I wish we'd had a group photo there and then at the Moot Hall - they all mean so much to me. My wish was to spend the whole weekend in the company of my friends on the hills I love and I'd done that. The record was extra and I know exactly how Roger is feeling as I felt it when Jasmin broke my record. It means a lot to me that he was there.
We went back to the campsite. I unlocked the van; put the keys inside and collected my shower stuff. Shutting the sliding door I couldn't believe it when I heard that horrible sound of the central locking clunking. I was gobsmaked. After checking the doors I went to Charmian and explained. I then rang my husband Steve who was very happy to hear from me and then I had to explain what I needed. He was fantastic and rang Brittania Rescue and sorted it out while I went for a shower. In the shower I started to feel awful; I needed to sleep. So Charmian wrapped me up and put me in her van. I went out like a light. I woke to her phone ringing so took it outside. A man from Keswick Egertons Recovery had prized the door open an inch and had this long wire inside. There was Richard Hakes, Roger, Steve Wathall and Charmian helping out. It was freezing cold. "Where are the keys?" they asked. At least I had put them on the wheel arch inside the back on the van in sight. "I can see them" said Steve. I was going to faint so I left them, headed back to the van and lay down again. It was after midnight when they eventually fished the keys out and opened the van. I rang Steve and he was relieved.
So that's it. Just one of the many celebrations I'm going to have this year to celebrate the fact that I'm still alive and living life to the full ten years after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I'm raising money for the cancer charity Odyssey because they do just that; they help cancer patients regain their confidence and help them look towards the future. This is my Just Giving page where the total is now £15,000 - very ambitious but then again so am I! So please share and donate if you can.
All the photos that I have - in Leg Order are now in the Gallery - Bob Graham Double photos
I'll add / change the photos etc as I get them from my supporters. And also add links to various articles and press stuff below. The watch did actually record the whole round and all the splits - so although the above is a little sketchy I will update it more accurately when I have time.
Dan Baileys report with photos UKClimbing.com - News
Charmian Heaton's write - up Nicky Double BG
Me and Roger Baumiester - on Monday morning after my Double Bob Graham Round