Jack Kuenzle Breaks the Bob Graham Round Speed Record

Jack Kuenzle broke Kilian Jornet’s speed record on England’s Bob Graham Round in September, 2022.

By on September 2, 2022 | Leave a reply

Jack Kuenzle set the Bob Graham Round speed record on Friday, September 2, 2022, shaving almost a half hour off the mark in the process. He finished the 66-mile loop and all of its 42 fells and 27,000 feet of elevation gain in England’s Lake District in 12 hours, 23 minutes, and 48 seconds, according to the website Open Tracking.

Mountain running icon Kilian Jornet previously held the speed record at 12 hours, 52 minutes, setting it in 2018.

Jack Kuenzle - Bob Graham Round speed record 2022

Jack Kuenzle on his way to setting the Bob Graham Round speed record. Photo: Paul Wilson

Finishing around 6:30 p.m. local time, Kuenzle broke Jornet’s four-year-old record. The English circuit’s namesake first ran it in under 24 hours in 1932 to establish the challenge.

An American who lives in California, Kuenzle is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, a mountain running coach, and an athlete whose focus seems to be on setting speed records around the world. His Bob Graham Round effort certainly launches him into international status as a mountain athlete.

The Bob Graham Round’s fame stems principally from its rugged, technical terrain. Steep scrambles punctuate boggy, wet tracks. And because the weather on the course can change rapidly, speed attempts can become dangerous in a hurry. Among the 42 fells, or mountains, along its route, the Bob Graham Round tackles Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England at 3,209 feet in elevation.

Kuenzle didn’t take long to outstrip Jornet’s 2018 pace. And by the time he secured his lead in the splits, he wouldn’t relinquish it. Four hours into the effort at the 2,864-foot summit of Fairfield fell, he was faster than Jornet by a minute and three seconds. From there, he steadily pried the gap open wider until he checked in at the start/finish line at Moot Hall in Keswick.

Open Tracking screenshot of Jack Kuenzle Bob Graham Round tracking page

A screenshot from Open Tracking of Jack Kuenzle’s Bob Graham Round speed record tracking. In this image, Jack is depicted as the red 1 approaching the finish line in Keswick, England, while Kilian Jornet’s record pace is depicted in a red trophy.

Comments poured in via social media after Kuenzle’s reported time was finalized. ​​Everything from congratulations to flippant comments on fell running speed records showed up — some toed the line articulately.

“I think the lack of heavy t-shirt made the difference. Next person to try will forgo shorts as well I’d imagine,” one commenter said.

Jack Kuenzle - Bob Graham Round speed record 2022 - at Moot Hall

Jack Kuenzle before starting his Bob Graham Round speed record attempt. Photo: Victoria Miller/inov-8

Jack Kuenzle - Bob Graham Round speed record 2022 - with Billy Bland at Moot Hall

Jack Kuenzle along with fell running legend and longtime Bob Graham Round record holder Billy Bland at Moot Hall in Keswick, England, after Kuenzle set a new Bob Graham Round speed record. Photo: Paul Wilson

Jack Kuenzle - Bob Graham Round speed record 2022 - with team at Moot Hall

Jack Kuenzle with members of his crew and pacers at Moot Hall following his successful Bob Graham Round speed record attempt. Photo: Chris Davies/inov-8

Sam Anderson
Sam Anderson writes any articles he can talk his way into, amid a life of traveling the United States and Mexico in search of adventure and margaritas. Follow him on Instagram.