Jack Kuenzle has broken Kilian Jornet's record on the Bob Graham Round, with a provisional time of 12:23:48.
The visiting American runner made the headlines last month after setting a new Tranter Round record in Lochaber, barely 24 after local legend Finlay Wild had established a new fastest time:
Starting from Keswick at 6am Friday morning, Kuenzle started slower than Jornet's Bob Graham record pace, but began closing the gap throughout Leg 2 and eventually went ahead at the start of Leg 3. He managed to maintain this lead throughout Leg 4, pushing his pace - and his pacers - so hard that he ended up dropping at one (and possibly more - exact details tbc). When asked about his pace, one of his supporters response was simply 'aye, he's quick'.
However, it was on Leg 5 that he truly asserted his dominance, notching up the speed - and the distance he had on the record - to another level. Aside from his blistering pace, another time saving tactic he adopted was to run straight through the various road crossings without stopping, relying on his pacers to collect food and catch-up. Pacers had to be similarly tacticical just to keep up, including some alternating summits simply to give each other a rest, whilst simultaneously ensuring that there was a witness with him at all times.
In order to give himself a further advantage on the final five mile road run into Keswick, Kuenzle had invested/wasted* £250 on a pair of carbon plated road running shoes - just to give him that extra edge going into town.
*delete as appropriate
Jack kuenzle descending Halls fell ridge , Blencathra at the end of Leg 1 on his Bob Graham round. pic.twitter.com/2OL6Q4Vm2S— paul wilson (@UltrPaul) September 2, 2022
In July 2018, Kilian Jornet's time of 12 hours 52 was the first to break Billy Bland's 13hr 53m record, which had stood since way back in 1982.
Named after its originator, the Bob Graham Round climbs 42 Lake District fells (most of the biggies) inside a 24-hour period. Covering a distance of roughly 66 miles and 28,500 feet of ascent, it's one of the classic big three UK mountain challenges, along with the Paddy Buckley and Ramsay Rounds.
Super tough morning out but helped to get Jack down leg 2 successfully, 10 mins up on his schedule at Dunmail and absolutely flying.— Andy (@adjberry) September 2, 2022
Making Bob Great Again#bobgrahamround #fellrunning #recordpace #smileforthewin pic.twitter.com/djeQ7G3ZV3
Over 2000 people have completed a BGR to date. The current female record is 14hrs 34 minutes, set by Beth Pascal in July 2020.
Fancy giving it a go? We have broken the round into more manageable stages in these UKHillwalking Route Cards: