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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon


Elite Winners Mogan and SteveThe LAMM 2005 is over and at 3.30 p.m. many of the teams have already left to on the 3 p.m. ferry back to Oban. The helicopter that one team arrived in is still parked on the manicured front lawn of Torosay house though, and it may be that the pilot is still out on the hills as teams are still trickling in to the finish. During the night at the overnight campsite there was a huge thunderstorm and heavy rain, though it seems that most of the competitors slept through it – after 10 or 12 hours out on the hill most people can sleep through anything. Not Niall Watson, the LAMM piper though, who once again roused everyone at 5 a.m with these particularly apt tunes.

Every team that finished within an hour and a half of the leaders on their course yesterday, started today in a chasing start, with their start numbers pinned to their shirts. So those that were involved could see immediately if they were making progress relative to the others in their chasing start group. The chasing start started from 6 a.m. but all other teams could start when they wanted between 6.30 and 7.30 a.m.

Out on the course conditions were similar to Saturday – which meant misty, so teams did not get to see much of the beautiful hills of Mull. “Above 400 m you could have been anywhere” was what John Hunt, one of the second place elite pair said after the race. For most of the teams, visibility has probably been the deciding factor in how well they have done on both days. Last night at the camp, Heather Dawe, one of the Elite ladies pair said that they actually hadn’t found the day too tiring (despite being out for over 11 hours) because the tricky nav had meant that they simply couldn’t run as fast as they would have done otherwise.

out on the courseWith good visibility, the Novice and C courses might well have had the best views today as they climbed up to a 754 m summit on the ridge to the south of Dun da Ghaolthe, actually the second most elevated checkpoint on any course except for the checkpoint the Elite had on Ben More on Saturday. As it was, it meant simply climbing into murk for a very long way.

Only on the final run in to Torosay did any of the teams get good visibility at altitude, as the mists finally started to clear – which was just as well, as planner Andy Creber had built in a few surprises in the final couple of kilometres, with a whole group of checkpoints close together on a steep slope leading down to the finish. Some of them were on parallel streams, and for those who didn’t get their descent just right there was the potential to make big mistakes, losing a lot of height looking out for a checkpoint then having to climb back up another stream nearby to find it.

One team that didn’t make any mistakes on the section, was the overnight leading team in the Elite, and in fact Morgan Donnelly and Steve Birkinshaw went on to win the event, extending their lead over the second place team.

In some of the other categories, there were changes at the top, most notably in the D class where overnight 9 th pair, father and son, Stephen and Tim Martin come through to win, though perhaps they might have been better placed yesterday if Tim’s shoe hadn’t disintegrated. Though they were lucky that CompassPoint were on hand to make a mercy dash to the overnight with shoes for them and a few other teams.

So that’s it, another LAMM is over, but with the title sponsor committed to the event for at least another two years, the question is, what surprises can Martin Stone dream up for next year for the connoisseur’s mountain marathon?

Winners Comments. Prize Winners photos

Overall results and day 2 checkpoint times


Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event