Big news from the world of extreme fell running, where Jim Mann continues to push the boundaries. Today (21st February) he completed a winter Bob Graham Round in a very healthy time of 20hrs 26mins, netting himself a winter triple - all of the UK's big three fell running rounds inside a single season.
In fact, showing remarkable resilience and fast recovery times, he's done them all within one month:
On 22nd January Jim set a new record for the winter Ramsay Round, finishing the circuit of 24 Lochaber peaks in 22:23 (see the full report here).
On 11th February he followed up with a winter Paddy Buckley (that's 47 Welsh summits, if you're counting) in 21:37.
Sealing the triple with the classic Lakeland challenge, Jim's winter Bob Graham time of 20:26 is not a record - his own 18:18 still stands from 2013 - but it's still one of the fastest winter times ever recorded.
Shane Ohly, one of Jim's support runners on the Bob Graham, takes up the story:
'Jim only decided to have a go at the Bob Graham on Saturday evening, when I got the following cryptic message, "Are you in the lakes this week?” at 4pm. Jim was watching the weather and was convinced there would be a small window starting around 6pm on Monday… I knew exactly what was coming next, “Can you support BG on Monday/Tuesday?'
'Foolishly I offered to run whatever leg he needed the help with, and I got the graveyard shift supporting leg 3 starting at 01:38 Tuesday morning! I didn’t know the leg, so would be navigate onsight in dark, which I love, but knew would be challenging. At the last minute Jeff Powell Davis was able to join us, and as another strong navigator that made our life much easier.'
'The weather and conditions were initially kind, but as we climbed Harrison Stickle the clag dropped around us, and the rocky terrain quickly become extremely slippery. In fact it was some of the worst underfoot conditions I’ve experienced for a long time, and we couldn’t do anything other than pick our way through the rocky ground at walking pace for much of the evening. The poor visibility also made for tricky navigation, but this was balanced by the slow pace. We completed the leg in 6:27, which felt really slow! '
'Jim and I will be back in action with Adam Perry and Nic Barber at the High Peak Marathon on Friday 3rd of March… Jim has promised to not to run any more rounds before then!'
It's worth noting that in order to qualify as a 'winter' round, the Bob Graham club simply stipulate that it should be completed between 1st December and 1st March. Conditions on the ground may be wintry - or not - at practically any time of year, so as with received thinking on the Ramsay Round, it's the calendar that decides.