It’s time for a comeback challenge…
On the 5th of August I’m attempting the Frog Graham Round – a classic swimrun challenge with almost 40 miles of running with 15,000ft of ascent and 2 miles of swimming across 4 lakes (Bassenthwaite, Crummock Water, Buttermere & Derwentwater) in one go. There is no time limit. The only criteria is that you must visit all the numbered summits, islands and other features, including the mandated water entry/exit points. It was adapted from the famous ‘Bob Graham Round’ yet has only 152 registered completions so far.
You can see the route here on OS Maps:
In the spirit of the round I’ll be entirely self-sufficient, carrying everything I need for the duration, but I need 1-2 people on each leg for safety. If you’re keen to join a run or swim (or have a paddleboard/private yacht) please apply within!
I only started swimming properly last summer to keep my head above water through Long Covid, quite literally. Losing the ability to run or train properly, indefinitely, was undoubtedly the darkest and most difficult period of my life. But I couldn’t sit around waiting for the lights to turn green. I had to find the opportunity and what I could control in the moment.
In January a cardiologist told me that there was no guarantee I’d get back to where I was – but that hopefully things will improve – in time.
I didn’t have time to find out. There simply had to be a way back.
With the guidance and patience of my coach Sophie, a sports and exercise medicine consultant Rebecca Robinson, and the experience of a small handful of recovered Covid Long Haulers, I started with Couch to 5k to gradually re-train my body to cope with exercise.
Back in March I was only running 4 x 30 seconds at a time! Luckily, my exercise tolerance has continued to improve. I recently ran 28 miles for my 28th birthday. I’m not out of the woods yet, but if you’re going to make a comeback, well you might as well throw yourself in the deep end… This might not be my hardest challenge but sometimes the challenge is finding something that meets you where you are. Combining old and new felt like the perfect story, and one that can hopefully help other athletes in a similar position.
As always I’ll be fundraising for our charity, Mind Over Mountains, to help people get time outside with the professional mental health support they need. The last 12 months have been a vivid reminder of why we need that toolkit in the dark times. Swimming has become part of mine, and I want other people to discover theirs. If you can help me hit the target, PLEASE donate what you can. It really means a huge amount.
My challenge will have a live-tracker for all the avid dot-watchers, and it will also be part of a film project coming later this year – so you can see the action brought to life!