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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Andy Creber's planner's comments

Well, I trust you enjoyed your Mull experience. Needless to say, many of you will be just itching to get back here to experience more of those wet tussocks! Where there weren't tussocks, there was a lot of slabby rock which we had to keep competitors away from. This had a big impact in the original arm-chair day one courses.

Events like this rely on a number of helpers to ensure that essential tasks are accomplished successfully. I am indebted to a number of individuals for their assistance, particularly in collecting controls. Many thanks to all of them. Also, an apology to Eddie, who was merrily sent off to collect a control that wasn't there! My thanks to Angela the Controller and Janice her assistant, both of whom were a pleasure to work with and covered a great deal of ground to ensure fairness for competitors.

There were many favorable comments concerning the challenging courses but one or two comments questioning the length, which need addressing. In spite of one or two of you still having problems with ferries or flights on day two, it was decided originally to have a distinct difference in course length on days one and two, more so than normal. Course lengths were related to the time it took me to run the Elite day one course eyeballs out, but split over two days. As a planner, my philosophy will always be to have several clusters of controls, which is always likely to create mayhem. I don't like competitors of any ability being able to operate in a 'navigational comfort zone' and able to switch off 6K from home, and just run in. I did hear one whinge about these 'gratuitous' controls at the end of day two. No apology I'm afraid. Incidentally, the cluster of controls within 2KM of day two finish, were responsible for 70% of the map corrections sent to the printers.

It is generally understood that it is acceptable for all courses to be half an hour too long or too short each day, simply because it is just too difficult to plan to this degree of accuracy, even if every leg of every course was "run" as in the 2004 KIMM. (B course was too short) If you then factor in wet, heavy going underfoot, (not there 3 weeks beforehand) and some wonderfully thick mist, it is quite possible that course leaders times could be a fair bit longer than anticipated. The only realistic way of assessing if lengths were within the above boundaries is to add up all the fastest splits for any one course. This shows exactly what time was possible on the day. If you do this exercise, you will find the following approximate results. The recommended overall winning times are in brackets:-

E 10:40 (12:00) A 10:49 (11:00) B 9:17 (10:00) C 9:36 (9:00) D 9:27 (8:00)

From these comparisons it is obvious that the Elite, A, B, and C courses all fall well inside the parameters above. However, by the same logic it must be said that the D course was too long, even though it fits inside the original rationale. For this, I must apologise. The Planner should ensure that, if the boundaries are likely to be pushed by difficult terrain and/or navigation, he or she errs on the shorter side for the C and D courses. I shall learn from this. Also, the Elite course was a tad short, although I heard no complaints! As regards control sites, these were identified on the ground by traditional methods and then by GPS. 'Selective availability' (in-built error) was turned off by the Americans in May 2001 so it is a reliable source of accuracy.

I hope that competitors will return again to the LAMM and experience the unique atmosphere it creates. I also trust that future planners will not shy away from the navigational challenge that some areas can provide. The course leaders showed what can be done in such an area with experience, skill and fitness. Their comments on the website are quite interesting.

We hope you enjoyed the extended Chasing start. This is another element that puts more pressure on competitors, and with the mist, produced some top-notch racing.

Having worked again with Martin, I feel I must thank him and his team on behalf of the competitors for the huge effort that folk put in. A number of late nights were spent ensuring things went right during the week before the event.

Finally, Compasspoint had between 50 and 60 enquiries from individuals wanting to buy a 'demagnetized compass' a little wind-up that I couldn't believe folk swallowed. This suggests there are a lot of teams whose hillcraft experience is a little thin on the ground!

We hope to see everyone again next year.

Andy Creber

Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event