Archive | August 2016

Peak performance – Jasmin Paris’ new Bob Graham record

FellrunnercoverShockwaves went through the fell running world earlier this year when the women’s record for the Bob Graham Round as absolutely smashed.

The Summer 2016 issue of The Fellrunner has a fabulous picture of Jasmin Paris, taken on the last summit of her 15 hrs 24 mins Round.

It also has an article by me on the performance and its implications. A version of the article was originally submitted to another publication, but was not accepted.

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Photos: Jon Gay

When compiling the piece I contacted Jasmin and she kindly allowed me to see a preview of her account of the day (also in the same Fellrunner issue), and also supplied a couple of photos from the day, with an OK to use them at my talk at Keswick Mountain Festival.

The Fellrunner policy is that ‘copyright of material published in this magazine remains with the authors or photographers who produced them’, so I have reproduced the full article here. [The scan is in two parts, click on each to enlarge to a more readable size]

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Footnote: this amazing record, plus Nicky Spinks’ double BGR, and Rob Jebb’s 2nd fastest BGR will all be added in a new chapter when my book ‘The Round: in Bob Graham’s footsteps’ goes to paperback in January  2017.

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Running hard, writing harder

BookspineAnother milestone is reached with submission of the manuscript of my third book to the publisher. The title is now fixed as: Running Hard: the story of a rivalry. It is now going through the editorial process and approval of photographs, design of the cover (first version below), incorporation of cover quotes, indexing, proofing, and eventually printing. It is set for publication, by Sandstone Press, in February or March 2017 – which seems such a long time away.

Running_Hard_Front_smallRight now I want to see the finished book, but have to be patient. Looking back I find that this has taken less time to write than either of the first two books for Sandstone Press. I am not sure exactly what to make of this, perhaps I have more confidence in my writing ability (which hasn’t always been the case). What is certain is that I have once again thoroughly enjoyed the processing of researching the material, and also the fascinating times I have spent interviewing the two athletes that are the rivals in the story.

I have also interviewed several of the significant athletes who were their contemporaries. I was absolutely made up to at one point be sitting in Joss Naylor’s front room discussing some of his achievements, and later to be chewing the fat with Billy Bland in his back garden. Absolute heroes both.

So, just a reminder of the storyline (this from the publicity blurb):

JohnKen (CompassSport)_smallerRunning Hard: the story of a rivalry describes the lives of two very different athletes and covers in-depth the 1983 Fell Running Championships season, when they were the two top runners, battling to win the championship. John Wild was an international steeplechaser from the Midlands who had moved to the fells to go head-to-head with the Cumbrian-born fell runner Kenny Stuart. Stuart later became a 2-11 marathon runner, as their running careers began to diverge, but they remained firm friends. The championship at that time was much tougher than it is now. After fifteen races the title was decided by just twenty seconds at the final race. The events are illuminated by interviews and analysis from several of their main contemporaries.

As I was compiling the manuscript from the interviews, and other sources, I soon realised that I was getting more material than I could possibly use in the book, and that some of it was very interesting but way off topic. So, I decided to re-think some of it for some spinoff writing. A profile of fell runner and orienteer Jack Maitland was accepted for publication in The Fellrunner, and buoyed by this I also submitted two further articles (on the Fell Legends eveningwhich I have already blogged on, and on Jasmin Paris’ amazing BGR record). They were both accepted, and I am really pleased that all three are in the current edition of The Fellrunner. My next three blog posts will concentrate on this writing, and include the resulting articles.