Bob Graham record smashed by Kilian Jornet

Lee Barratt final peak Bob Graham

The off-road running community was gripped at the weekend as they followed the progress of Kilian Jornet Burgada as he tackled one of the most demanding of  running challenges - the Bob Graham Round.

Over the last decade, Kilian Jornet's fame and following has become more widespread as he executed his intrepid "Summits of My Life" project, where he set records for climbing and descending some of the most indomitable mountains in the world. The project finished last year with a double, solo ascent of Everest without oxygen but he continues to seek out the people and places that inspire his love of the mountains.

On Sunday morning, Kilian set off from Moot Hall, in Keswick to see what he could do on the Bob Graham Round - a 66 mile run over 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake District. This route is regularly tackled by runners set on joining the Bob Graham 24 Hour Club, to run the route in 24 hours. This is no mean feat with only the fittest and strongest achieving success whilst many others fail to make it back to Moot Hall within the time limit. However, this Sunday evening, a huge welcome party greeted Kilian as he arrived back in just 12 hours 52 minutes to smash the previous record of 13:53, set by Billy Bland in 1982. He then spent another 30 minutes signing autographs and chatting to a crowd of admirers from the trail, adventure, mountain and orienteering communities.

Amongst the crowd was local legend, Kenny Stuart, who greeted Kilian at the finish and congratulated him on his achievement. In the 1980s, Kenny inspired the previous generation as he set records over the UKs most formidable peaks including Skiddaw, which is on the Bob Graham Round, Ben Nevis and Snowdon. Both men are inspired by the mountains in which they live and run. Kenny has spent his entire life in the North Lakes and Kilian grew up in the Pyrenees, where his father was a mountain guide.

During Sunday, Kilian's progress was followed by thousands of runners who clicked onto footage that was being streamed by supporters along the route. Neil Thompson from Dark Peak/Stockport Harriers attempted the same route just three weeks prior and  put a message on facebook, "Been following this since he went off at 6am...Killian Jornet is smashing it! Rob Jebb is on Leg 3 with him now. Billy Bland [previous record holder] has cycled to meet him at Dunmail. He went over Helvellyn in 3:30 - we weren't even at Threlkeld by then! It took him 50 minutes to get past Skiddaw!" Neil's training partner, Lee Barratt, who completed the round in 22:56 on 20th May and is pictured here on the final peak, posted a link to live stream then continued the commentary, "he has just done the last peak and is heading towards Keswick. He is over an hour up on Billy Bland's record and due to finish approx at 1840hrs". Other Stockport Harriers commented, "I don't think I've ever watched a live stream for anything before. This is unmissable!" and "Totally fabulous. Really enjoyed that."