My Bob Graham Round attempt is almost upon me. In around 52 hours, at 1am on Sunday, I will set off from Moot Hall in Keswick, before proceeding up the moonlit (hopefully) slopes of Skiddaw. And thereafter? Some 60-plus miles, 42 summits, 27,000ft of ascent and descent, returning to Keswick by dusk that evening. The prospect is tremendously exciting.
There are umpteen variables that will ultimately lead to success or failure, a swift round or a pedestrian one. But there are two key variables in my mind: one, the elements; two, injury. The former looks a safe bet: no rain, high clouds, not too warm, negligible wind. Conditions don’t get more ideal.
And so to injury. My final visit to a physio was on Wednesday. I told her my left ankle was tight after just 20 minutes of running, with the surrounding tendons then becoming disconcertingly crunchy. She dismissed my concerns, saying that 20 minutes was scarcely time to get into a run, let alone adequately warm up. Her gung-ho attitude was a revelation. She massaged the ankle area, then the calf. ‘You’re fine,’ she said. After weeks of mithering, it was impossible to accept her words without grave doubt. My brain has now, finally, processed her vital information: it really is going to be fine.