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…

Bob Graham Round – SUCCESS!

Moot Hall, Keswick, 1am. We were off, darting through a ginnel, away from town, destined for the invisible summit of Skiddaw. No fanfare, no cheering crowds, no fuss. Only a handful of late-night revellers enjoying the dying embers of a Jubilee night-out. Low-key, yes, but as the well-worn proverb goes: from humble beginnings come great…

Bob Graham – 52 hours and counting

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….

Shedding demons courtesy of the Fellsman

Close to three weeks ago, I felt what I took to be my left Achilles tweak at an evening race at Beckenham. I thought little of it. Running the next night, the  Achilles became increasingly sore. It was one of those runs that, in hindsight, I simply shouldn’t have done. An inexplicable, wholly avoidable error of judgement. I took the…

Bob Graham: 16 days to go – if there was ever a time NOT to be injured…

‘I have never heard anyone scream so loud…’ That was the physio talking. ‘Your legs are very stiff,’ she said, stressing the very, as she played a piano of wretchedly painful tendons behind my knee. I bellowed again, caught my breath and, ironically, couldn’t help but laugh at the torture. I have been living in fear all week,…

Midweek racing at the Beckenham relays

There’s something about a midweek race. There’s a certain pleasure, I feel, to finishing a day of work, then heading off, not simply to run, but to race. On my way to the Beckenham 2.6-mile relays, I mulled over the midweek races I’d taken part in: the Bugatti 10k over a couple of years in…

Surviving the Fellsman

The Fellsman has redefined what I understand about running. I have run ‘properly’ since I was a teenager, from the middle distance races I ran as a schoolboy and the road half-marathons and marathons of my 20s, to the gradual transition to fell, hill, mountain and trail, and now, ultras. Over the years, I’ve often…

The psychology of the long-distance run

I ran 33 miles on Monday. I have never walked or ran further on a single day before. The run was three miles longer than my Winter Tanners in January, but – taking 5 hours and 20 minutes – lasted an hour longer. My transition to ultra-running hasn’t been seamless; it has required a whole…