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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon


Map of the competition area | Photographs from the event centre

The evening sun is welcoming competitors to the massive grassy field that is serving as the LAMM Event Centre and campsite. It's dry with enough of a breeze to keep the midges away while people erect their tents and read the sign advising them to use sun block tomorrow. The forecast is good, with temperature rising through the weekend.

The hills rise on all sides of Spittal of Glenshee and, as usual, competitors are speculating where their courses will take them. Gill Harris from Shropshire, who is doing the A course with Keith Richards, said, "We haven't had a chance to look at a map to see where we are yet. All we know is we'll be going up.

Teams have travelled from far and wide, including a contingent of two Dutch pairs, who flew to Glasgow then hired a car to get here. Many competitors, like Daniel Bulman and Shaun Hardisty from Penrith have never been in the area before. In fact, they've never done a mountain marathon before, but hope their fell running experience will see them successfully complete the D course.

Everyone seems relaxed around the Event Centre - even the Race Director, Martin Stone! Any tension over what tomorrow will bring is relieved with upbeat humour. Elite runner Jane Grundy, who is competing with husband Lewis, quipped, "If we survive you can come and talk to us again at mid camp."

Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event