Up until the point that this DVD popped through the letterbox last week I hadn’t realised that this record of Joss Naylor’s run existed and it was due to a mistaken order mixing up my order for a Yosemite DVD for this title that I only found it. I’m a bit worried that Planetfear have worked out how to read minds while ordering now! Having read some of the fell running forums previously, the video of this run, which was originally shown on ITV, is still changing hands regularly. Well now they can buy an extended version of this program with extra footage.
For those who don’t know of him, and I suppose you would need to be a bit of a fell runner to have come across his name before, Joss Naylor became one of the most successful fell runners ever. He won numerous KIMMs, Mountain Trials, mountain marathons and fell races all usually in record times; he set many records for running around peaks in the Lake District, coast to coast runs and three peaks runs; the list of ultra endurance events goes on and on and he was still very competitive into his forties.
This title focuses on a single run that he did (in 1996) to celebrate his 60th Birthday and as most people are just beginning to wind down for retirement, Joss took his usual approach to life and decided to challenge himself to run 110 miles (with 40,000 ft of ascent) through the Lakes covering the 60 highest peaks, all in 36 hours. Incidentally he raised £20,000 for Multiple sclerosis charity at the same time.
The programme opens with a bit of history from both Joss and the commentator on him, but I personally don’t think this went in to enough detail and could have been extended further to give non-fell runners a bit more insight into Joss’s background without making the programme too long. It is only 38 minutes running time, so could have been extended here without it becoming bogged down in history. The bulk of the remaining time then covers the actual run. It is split amongst footage gained from a helicopter following him over the mountains, with camera crews catching up with him at his rest stops and commentary from Joss for a fair amount of the time, instead of just the commentator. I think it struck a fair balance between the two as watching long distance camera shots from the helicopter can become a bit tedious if overdone. The footage is excellent and well edited, and the sound quality is also excellent, though with Joss’s broad accent it needs to be good!
Well, would you want to watch it more than once? If you were a committed fell runner, absolutely. It is very inspirational to watch, and when you have one of those races where nothing goes right, just to watch this after would lift you right back up again. Also I don’t know how well they planned the race to occur on one of the most beautiful weekends of weather I have seen, but the views were breathtaking over the lakes from the helicopter! If you weren’t into fell or mountain running then I doubt it would be watched too many times. Will I be watching it again? As I intend doing the Bob Graham round, you can be assured it will be well worn by then.
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