Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge

The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge is an event for fell runners over 50. It recreates a route the famous fell runner completed in 1990. Forty eight miles, 17,000 ft of climbing and thirty peaks await anyone attempting the challenge. Starting at Pooley Bridge and finishing in Wasdale at Greendale Bridge it has 4 legs with the last two most difficult.

The other major Lake District running challenge the Bob Graham Round has a fixed time needed to complete the run which is 24 hours. For the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge there is a sliding scale depending on age and gender. The shortest time allowed for a successful completion is under 12 hours for men 50-54 and the longest up to 24 hours for men and women over 65. Whatever your age pacers are required to verify a successful completion.

Men 50-5412 hoursWomen 50-5414 hours
Men 55-5915 hoursWomen 55-5916 hours
Men 60-6418 hoursWomen 60-6418 hours
Men 65+24 hoursWomen 65+24 hours
Time allowed per age group

Who is Joss Naylor?

Joss Naylor was born in Wasdale in 1936 and is a retired sheep farmer. He has led a remarkable like as a fell runner. Taking up the sport in his mid twenties and excelling at mountain marathon type event he built up a reputation. In the 1970’s he began to concentrate on long distance runs and breaking records. He set new bests on the Welsh 3,000’s, Pennine Way and Lakeland peaks. His 1975 record of 72 Lake District peaks in 23 hours 20 minutes wasn’t broken until 1988. By this time Joss had run the 214 fell tops identified by Alfred Wainwright in 1986 aged 50 setting a new record of 7 days 1 hour 25 minutes which wouldn’t be improved until 2014. Longevity wasn’t a problem for Joss as he completed a round of 60 tops for his 60th birthday and 70 tops for his 70th birthday.

Geoff Davis (right) and Joss Naylor (left) sitting at the end of his successful Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge in 2017. Some of Geoff’s pacing team are standing.

Why Do You Want To Run The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge?

At first glance an attempt to run up thirty fells on a tight schedule with no guarantee of success is setting yourself up to fail. Add to this the unreliable weather in April and its a recipe for disaster. I prefer an alternative view. Fell running is about pushing yourself, finding out what you can achieve and not fearing failure. There’s always another day and the hills are permanently out there.

As usual I was inspired By Geoff Davis who I was lucky enough to help pace around his successful Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge M60 attempt in 2017. A beautiful day out in the early Autumn sunshine. By the end of the leg I’d already decided I would have a try. Over the course of the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdowns a Joss Naylor attempt has been a great motivator to get out of the door and keep running.

By 2026 I expect Joss will have finished the meet and greet for successful participants. If not it would be magic to meet the man who just kept going, and going and going. Truly remarkable.

Read more posts on our Dreaming of the fells blog page.

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