Running in the boot marks of Wainwright

‘The face of Place Fell overlooking Patterdale is unremittingly and uncompromisingly steep,’ wrote Alfred Wainwright in his pictorial guide to the Far Eastern Fells of the Lake District. Wainwright recommends any ascent of the 657-metre peak that rises above Ullswater but this. And that is where I find myself, trudging upwards on pathless mountainside, the…

The 100th Ramsay’s Round?

It has taken 39 years, but very soon the number of completions of Ramsay’s Round will reach 100. Successes 98 and 99 came last week, as Damian Hall and Charlie Sproson got round in the allotted 24 hours. Someone has to be number 100. It could be me. In the early hours of Saturday –…

Running. What’s the point? Strava, of course.

Iain Whiteside was running. What was Whiteside thinking about when he was running? Strava, of course. ‘I realised I had spent the previous 30 minutes thinking about what I was going to name this run,’ he admitted. Whiteside stopped running. He was on Braid Hill in Edinburgh. Inspiration came to him: ‘At a standstill on…

The daddy of all compromises: trying to be a father and a runner

The essence of Nick Hornby’s biographical Fever Pitch is that Arsenal is the author’s constant in life. Amid the flux of education, work and relationships, happiness, sadness and indifference, Arsenal and football remain resilient to the vagaries of life. Come what may, for Hornby, it is Arsenal yesterday, Arsenal today and Arsenal tomorrow. The love…

The unpredictable art of running blogging

I have been blogging for some years. I was a writer and journalist first. My original purpose was to support the publication of my first book, Heights of Madness, and my second and third books thereafter. Over time, heightsofmadness.com graduated into a running blog – a blog that last week pleasingly surpassed 50,000 visits. Writing…

The Bob Graham Round: as seen from the water-carrier’s corner

High above, the jagged, dark silhouette of Blencathra decorated an oppressive sky. There were no stars. An incessant rain pounded the car roof. We fretted. Marc and Nayth (and their water-carriers) had left Moot Hall at midnight. Time was winning. Blundering off Skiddaw, the fivesome had been bamboozled by what is elemental in daylight. Time…

Running in London: where are the hills?

The run from Keswick town centre to the summit of Skiddaw sees the runner gain around 900 metres in altitude. The only time I have set my watch to this run was during my Bob Graham Round in 2012; Skiddaw was hill number one and not the place – or the time (1am) – for…

Ultrarunning: eliminating the ‘poison’ of doubt

Not a day has elapsed since June 3, 2012, when I haven’t reflected on the events of those 24 hours: a successful Bob Graham Round, all 42 peaks, 66 miles and some 27,000ft of it. I am continually inspired by what happened that day, imbuing a (so far) life-long sense of if-I-can-do-the-Bob-Graham, I can do…

I am the 1739th member of the Bob Graham Club

It is official. I am a member of the Bob Graham Club. Member number 1739, sandwiched between Martin Spooner (1738) and Andrew Kirkup (1740). This is a reward (one of many) for 19 hours and 33 minutes of toil on an endless June day when possibilities seemed limitless. Happily, the updated list, including those who successfully completed the Bob…

What is Alan Hinkes up to at the moment? … and other questions

Traffic – is that the right way to describe people? – to this blog arrives via a plethora of web searches. Handily, WordPress lists these terms. Many are questions: some are perfectly logical, others make me question the sanity of the human race. However, according to the web search questions, people do not want much….

Bob Graham blues?

Bob Graham blues? Is there such a thing? If there is, I think I have developed a bout. I feel rather empty; my Bob Graham Round, successfully completed a fortnight ago, has left a mental and physical void yet to be filled by other distractions. I am running my first mountain marathon, the Saunders, in…