Going from Planner last year to Controller this year, was quite a change. It gave me the chance to boss Angela around for one ! Ah well, I'm sure she'll get her own back another year.
The courses have already been described, by Angela in her Planner's report. As she said, due to the nature of the hills, we sometimes had great difficulty finding features to use as controls sites that would keep the route choice options that Angela had planned (this was mainly a problem on Day 1). So there was a lot of "on-site field work" required to investigate sites and make sure a control was fair and you could navigate to it using the map we had. Talking about the map, quite a few changes were made.....lots of tracks and paths and even lochans were added and, of course, some fences (requested by landowners). What perhaps wasn't made clear was that the only fences added were ones we were asked to put on, so a few people had problems when finding another fence near a mapped fence and assumed it was the mapped one. Ideally we wouldn't have added any fences to the map as you should have all or none. Apart from that, I don't think people had problems with the map (a sunny day helps !), and the contours were generally well mapped.
We knew the first day would be tough as it was a long way from the start (although I did have to persuade Angela that the Elite wasn’t too short ! ), but the heat made it so much harder. Luckily once runners had finished, it was a perfect campsite for a relaxing afternoon/evening by the river and discussing where you went….it is always interesting hearing competitors discussing their routes. Comments included that routes were obvious …yes, they might be but then what was obvious for one team seemed to be different to another as so many different routes were taken ! But the comments were very positive and it was great to hear so many satisfied people at the end.
To add interest, a few teams made crucial mistakes on Day 2. Two top Elite teams (including last year's winners !) mismarked controls (and even climbed the wrong hill) and wasted over an hour - so don’t worry, it happens to the best ! The leading two C teams both arrived near the 4th Control (Steam Junction) together, couldn't find it straight away and, no doubt because of the race pressure and because neither team had hit it, wrongly assumed it was not there and shot off. So the 3rd C team across the line had the bonus of being told they had won ! These events, while very unfortunate for the teams concerned, are part of Mountain Marathoning. You never know what is going to happen. And some teams got it completely right … what about the D winners ? Moving from 11th to 1st on Day 2 !
Probably because they were new to this sort of event, quite a few teams (mainly C and D) were disqualified by dibbing the wrong controls - even when the control was over a kilometre away from their actual one. A hint : always check the code on the control matches the one on your description sheet (and check the description as well) !
There was one more serious issue - one team had to be penalised after splitting up and only one runner going to some controls. Apart from being against the rules, this is not in the spirit of the event so please remember, both team members should visit the controls.
Thanks to Angela for planning some great courses and to Martin for yet again organising a superb event and making our job so much easier.