The Frog Graham [by Alison Smith]
Alison Smith has provided an excellent report on the recent Poly ‘Frog Graham’ round. Photos courtesy of Kerry Swindon. But what’s this Frog Graham business, you ask? Fill your teapot up with tea, and read on.
August Bank Holiday Saturday at 3.45 am. An intrepid and adventurous group of Poly peeps meet at the Moot Hall in Keswick. Another Poly post race night out? A Bob Graham attempt? This time we were attempting a Frog Graham Relay. The Frog Graham is the ultimate swim run challenge involving 40 miles of fell running and around 6k of open water swimming across the fells and lakes of the beautiful, and for this weekend only, hot and sunny Lake District. Richard Hanley, Andrew Phillips and Mark Smith were our fell runners and Fiona Barras, Kerry Swindon and I were the swimmers. The challenge is divided into 4 fell runs and 4 swims over Bassenthwaite, Crummock Water, Buttermere and Derwentwater. The swimmers were fantastically supported by canoe and motorboat by John from Platty Plus on Derwentwater.
Mark and Richard set off on their run over Skiddaw and a couple of other fells at 4am. Fiona, Kerry and I had an hour’s shut eye before heading over to Bassenthwaite to meet the runners and Platty Plus in time to start swim one at 6.30 am. Bassenthwaite was quiet and relatively warm (compared to the North Sea) so we had a lovely swim with of course the odd Lakestand (hand stand in a lake) and many photos and selfies (all credit to Kerry and her underwater camera)! Mark and Richard were waiting for us on the shore of Bassenthwaite. We tagged them in and off they trotted onto leg 2. And so the run swim fun continued over Lords Seat, Grizedale Pike, Earl Crag and some more lovely mountains and we had a beautiful, sunny swim over Crummock Water and back. As we were doing a relay due to logistics we had to swim there and back across Crummock water.
Andrew Phillips joined the fell running team at leg 3. Unfortunately part way through this leg Mark’s knee popped and he had to hobble down to Buttermere. Mark did brilliantly, completing 31 miles of fell running and 11000 feet of climbing, just a couple of months after finishing his 268 mile Pennine Way Ultra. Undeterred we swimmers carried on and enjoyed 2 wonderful swims across Buttermere and lastly Derwentwater, where we ran across the islands and emerged from the mangroves in a swallows and Amazons style.
Of course this includes much parking around, lakestands, selfies, mermaid underwater swimming and of course some ‘very fast swimmming’ – a real comment from a passing tourist!! Mark met us after the final swim and we went to Keswick to join in the celebrations with Danny J Richardson and co. Danny has just completed the Bob Graham Round in an amazing 21 hours and 11 minutes. Well done Danny! In summary we will be back to conquer the Frog! Respect to the Froggers who were attempting the whole challenge in hot conditions this weekend. We had loads of fun and did 6.72k of fantastic lake swimming. Thank you to Kerry and Fiona for being brilliant swimming buddies and to all of the fell runners especially Richard and Andrew. It was great to have so much Poly support from the roadside too – thank you all, it was great to see you all!