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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Saturday Leader's Reports

Elite : Jonathan Aylward & Stephen Bottomley

Well, what can I say? The course was excellent, with plenty of route choice to be had and excellent views north across Rannoch Mor to the Ben, The Mamores and Glencoe. I think the main problem for most competitors was the heat. Many teams had to cool off in the abundant streams and lochains to be found. As for us, it was a surprise to have posted a good time, (Steve is great at carrying two rucsacs!), given that we plodded for most of the day. But we kept going, and I think that’s what counted. Things are very tight for tomorrow with Alec Keith only just behind.

A : Dan Gay & Murray Strain

Wish we’d brought our crampons

After a day of slogging through deep snow, fighting howling gales and dodging polar bears, mid-camp was a relief. Murray made a Captain Scott-esque departure from the ‘tent’, which despite being purchased from Amazon for 80 quid a fortnight ago, was still standing. But he was persuaded to put in one more push for day two.

Actually this is all wishful thinking (apart from the 80 quid tent). Control 4-5 was perhaps the low-point for me, when the temperature must have peaked in what felt like the high 20s. I wondered whether my nausea was a result of the caffeine pills and antihistamine I necked in the morning, or perhaps the two hours’ sleep the previous night, or maybe jetlag – having flown from the US on Thursday. But the general consensus at mid-camp was that it was sunstroke. Murray’s nemesis was the gratuitous 400m climb to control three, when he passed his usual one-and-a-half hour barrier. I am glad to report that 5 hours 48 minutes later he was still moving.

Despite packing what seemed like 800 muesli bars, the grand total consumed was…. five. I wish I had fed Murray the glucose pills earlier, after they caused him to pass me at the speed of sound heading up the last hill to checkpoint six. My own performance was no better, having put in some spectacular staggers not five minutes earlier.

Despite RLF-ing (running like fury) with the finish in sight we discovered that we lost six minutes to some of our nearest competitors on the final mile-long descent to the camp. At this point, frankly, we didn’t care. A cold river was beckoning, and thoughts were focused on whether we could summon a sprint finish. No, we couldn’t. The rest of the day passed in blur of noodles, chocolate recovery drinks and cramp.

Dan Gay and Murray Strain

Hunters Bog Trotters

B : Matthew Davis & Chris Beadle

With blue skies and a hazy morning, we knew it was gonna be a hot one. As usual we were late to get to the start and the leisurely 20 min walk turned into a sweaty jog to get our controls. No easy start either straight up the hillside, set the scene for most of the route, with runnable sections ending with brow dripping climbs. With visibility good today it made locating the correct approach pretty easy. The warm weather eventually started to take its toll towards the end with Chris suffering a bit just before CP6 emptying the content of his stomach in an unfortunate manner. However, he dug deep and pushed on till the end. What a good doo. Matt

Having rushed to the start I was already warmed up and ready for the pace that matt was going inflict on me and as he has already said I was ill on the way to CP6. I did recover abit towards the end and was surprised to find out were we have finished. chris

C : Stephen Martin & Ed Jenner

Absolutely magnificent weather greeted us on Saturday morning. Steve and I made our way down to the C course for a leisurely 9.30 start muttering all the way about how we would really prefer a bit of fog so that navigation would more important than speed. Straightforward contouring landed us smartly on the first control and then we followed the elephant tracks to hit the second and third without too much trouble. Feeling pretty good at this point, despite the heat, we were faced with the first real route choice of the day, round or up? We chose and up and while Steve ploughed on I was soon suffering in a major way. It was a bit galling to see the old man pulling away but it was all I could do to stay upright never mind moving upwards. From the crowds of the first three controls we were now out on our own crossing peat hags to control four, which we eventually hit after a few false strikes. A round or up route choice presented itself again for control five and given the state I was in I was very relieved to hear Steve call for descent down to Loch Lyon followed by contouring up and round to the control. We were both suffering from the heat and cramp by now and we made slow progress following a fence line to very grateful punch. Following this control was the long descent to the midway camp picking off a spur and a bridge on way down to download and fantastic dunking in the river. We both though the course was fantastic, challenging and exciting, and we’re looking forward to giving it our best shot tomorrow.

D : Iain Walker & Tim Allen

First LAMM and very surprised to be in the lead after showing our strength by adding a extra 6 Km to the route ! I think we’ll put this down to in-experience and example of how not to do it. A fast start and very steep climb set the pace for the day. Tim was showing his strength as an ex cyclist by leading the way up the climbs with very apparent little effort, I managed to hang on barely until the contouring started getting the better of his feet and he slowed a little. Hopefully we will manage to hold on to our lead in the morning and choose some more appropriate routes from checkpoint to checkpoint. Both having a good time and feeling well rested having spent most of the afternoon at mid camp chilling in the river! Definitely be back next year for a crack at the C course!

Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event

Lowe Alpine Mourne Mountain Marathon