This is a short resume of the outdoor stars mentioned by Al in the series of interview Rohan a family affair first published on Rohantime 28/03/2011. A very big thank you to Al, Joy and Ben for sharing their family and business memories with us all on Rohantime.
Looking forward to the next 25 years with Rohan Keswick…
Chris ,who sadly passed away at the age of 74 in 2003,was famous in many areas.He was famous for his athletic accomplishments such as pacing Roger Bannister when he ran the 1st 4 min mile and then 2 years later going on to win a Gold medal at the Melbourne Olympic Games. During the 60’s he was an early competitor and organizer of orienteering in Britain. Finally 30yr ago, with his business partner and friend John Disley, he started the London marathon which has gone on to become the largest and most famous marathon in the world.He was a journalist and worked for the BBC and the Observer for many years. His regular article ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ was well read by outdoor people. In business he formed the Sweatshop group of running shops, distributed Reebok equipment and, of course, formed The Brasher Boot Company a company that is going from strength to strength with it’ s latest project being the involvement, with Rohan, in their latest range of Rohan footwear. Although he spent much of his time in the public gaze he was never more happy than spending time on environmental projects including the work of the John Muir Trust or just getting out into wild places with a small group of like minded people.
‘A man of culture,a man of peace, a Renaissance man, all the good bits of Chariots of fire, arrow alpinist,and as fit as a butchers dog-a deliberately inappropriate metaphor for a conscientious vegetarian‘. So said John Barry in describing Rob during their expedition to Mt Deborah Alaska in 1983. Rob has been climbing for over 40years and during that time has visited most of the worlds mountain areas. For most of this time he has been a member of the International Mountain Guides Assoc. His main passion is travelling in wild areas in small groups very much in the tradition of Tilman. Very concerned about environmental issues Rob is involved with many societies including The John Muir Trust and The Wilderness Trust. A writer on these topics in magazines and books. His latest book is about his home turf Snowdonia–Park under Pressure. A friend of Rohan, Rob during the early 1990’s worked closely with Tim Jasper in the design and development of mountain clothing.
One of the worlds best all-round climbers Stevie started climbing at 12 and was still in his teens when he climbed the North Face of the Eiger. Now aged 53 and after 40years of climbing new routes throughout the world, on rock, ice and snow he still operates at the highest level. Always known for his amazing upper body strength recently he has been working his legs and has become fascinated with ultra distance mountain running and last September completed the Italian race ‘Tor des Geants‘ 321km including 24000m of uphill! Based in the Pyrenees and the Alps, Stevie is married to french climbing ace Laurence Gouault who is not only a superb climber but also an accomplished photographer
Photos: Extreme rock and ice climbing, Stevie Haston working hard on a new creation in the Alps
Maths teacher Hugh used all his experience of wilderness travel and world class running ability when, in 1990, he completed an amazing run, the continuous traverse on foot, including the distance between them, of all the 3000ft peaks of Britain. Having achieved this in the staggeringly short time of 83 days, when his target had been a 100, he decided to add the Irish tops to the list and still he finished in 97days, raising a considerable sum of money for Intermediate Technology along the way. His account of this epic in the book Running High is a classic and illustrates the focus and dedication required to complete long journeys in wilderness regions. Now, 20years on, Hugh and his wife Pauline still spend most of their spare time walking, running and cycling in wild areas.
“My athletics really started by helping Bingley Harriers win the national junior xc team title in the late 80’s, I then moved onto the fells/mountains, regularly finishing in the top 3 in the English/British championship races. By the mid nineties I was racing the 3 peaks running race and cyclo x in the Yorkshire dales, over the years I managed to win a total of 6,3peaks races ( 4 running, 2 cycling ) being the first person to win both in the same year 95/96 and held the record for both events at the same time. I still hold the current record for the running race which has now stood for 14yrs @ 2hrs 46min 03secs. Over the years I won the Burnsall Classic 5 times, finished 9th in the world mountain running champs, in 2010 as a vet I finished 6th in the world long distance mountain running champs in Colorado (and was first British runner home). I also raced duathlon (run/bike/run) in between mountain races, winning the national title 5 times and finishing 9th in the world champs. I’m still running competitively on the fells and mountains at home and abroad and still enjoy the buzz of racing. Outside of running and cycling I work as a joiner”. Andy Peace
and not forgetting Bess
“I started running when I was a bit young, but I loved it and my Dad always took me, even if at times he was a bit serious and would shout at me when I stopped to smell things. The Mum joined us, and well, her pace is better for me and she plays when we run, and helps me over styles. Unfortunately I have had some shoulder problems which means I do not do much running now, just the occasional ones with my Mum, where I like to stop and play in the river on the way back. My favourite type of run is efforts, particularly up a hill, but apparently I cheat and always start too soon before everyone is ready. I have also branched out to enjoy other sporting disciplines (although I have yet to master riding a bike) and enjoy walking in the hills , but again do object to being pulled or pushed up steep rock faces, it is not good for dignity. Now in the evenings I get a bit stiff and when wanting to jump onto the bed have to take a good minute warming up, in fact last night for the first time ever I fell off in the process and had to be rescued by Dad from the laundry basket”….. Bess
By day I earn a living working as what can best be described as a performance consultant in elite sport, working with many of the Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies. My passion for this comes from my own interest and endeavours – after playing hockey seriously as a junior I entered and ran the 2nd London marathon for fun, finding I was quite good at the long stuff and ending up with a pb of 2.28.06, running in the 1984 Olympic Games and setting a British record. Injury problems moved me off road where I had five top 9 finishes in the world mountain running championships including a best of 2nd, won the Seven Sisters (now Beachy Head) marathon outright in 1986 (in a time only beaten by 2 men since) won the British and English fell running championship double twice as well as many other classic fell races. More recently I have completed in mountain marathons and ultra distance events and taken to the bike as injuries strike with increased frequency, plus am trying to make up time lost from skiing climbinand and scrambling. In writing the book Off Road Running. I hoped to share some of my passion and knowledge with others to enable them to get as much enjoyment as I have from sport. The same reason why I am chair of the UKA mountain running group, who support and select the international mountain running teams. Sarah Rowell.
“The couple of years I spent training with Al in the Ambleside area had a big influence on my approach to being in the mountains and enjoying them on a daily basis. If I’m ever struggling to find the motivation to get out the door it helps to think of what Al might be doing now – he’s already out there!”