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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Saturday Evening

Saturday Photos | Map & RouteGadget | Saturday Results

.Saturday has been a glorious day, sunny, but with a light breeze and some cloud cover. In short, perfect for running. As I write, exactly 12 hours have elapsed since the first teams set out at 7.30, but others started as late as 10 a.m. At the moment 19 teams are still unaccounted for, however, that is about normal. Some may have retired but probably a few more will arrive at mid-camp over the next hour or so.

In fact an elite team has just arrived. Team 264, Graham Kirby and Gordon Kennovin in a time of 10 hours 1 minute. That is just a few minutes shy of 4 hours after the course leaders, and pre-race favourites the Symonds brothers, but still a great performance.

Now that they have arrived their next task is to find a spot to put up their tent, which on this year’s LAMM is also less straight forwards than usual. It would not be too unkind to say that this year the mid-camp has gone back to basics with a proper old fashioned tussocky, hummocky, boggy patch studded with moraines in the bottom of a typical highland glacial valley. Needless to say, flat bits are in short supply. But funnily enough it seems to be a hit, and somehow competitors are all finding somewhere to pitch their tents.

Of course the reason behind this choice of overnight isn’t some sort of sadistic streak on the part of the planner, but rather a logical choice in order to make the most of the running for all of the classes. In recent years it has become a bit of a philosophy of the LAMM (if that doesn’t sound too pompous) to make sure that every class visits an area of significant hills. But because of the different abilities of the runners on different courses, this means that they are not necessarily going to be the same hills. For example on this LAMM the Arrochar Alps were just too far away from the event centre for the D class to tackle, so instead they were bussed over 45 minutes north to take in the Ben Lui range from their start and this also meant that the mid-camp had to be somewhere near the area that was eventually chosen.

.In fact Martin Stone first came to reccie the site in January when it was under 3 feet of snow, tipped off by Mountain rescue that it might be suitable. Having driven 6 miles up an unmade road before running his car into a snowdrift he wandered about for an hour and fell through ice into a stream before deciding that yes, it might be OK. Later visits by the planner, confirmed that it was indeed the best of the sites available. And now with tents strewn all over the landscape in little pockets at different levels it does seen to have a particularly good atmosphere. Obviously the event can stand even more basic camps in future if the running demands it.

As already mentioned the Symonds brothers are leading the Elite race with a commanding lead of almost an hour. However, they have yet to confirm whether they would be available to race in the BAMM in Sweden should they go on to win as there could be an issue with holidays. If that were the case then the prize would normally go to the second place elite team, but that is currently the Swedish team of Björn Rydvall and Mattias Nyström who are already 2 times winners of the BAMM, not really what the BAMM organizers intended. Even though it would of course be cheaper for the LAMM to buy the Swedes their bus tickets than to by flights for a UK team Bjorn has already said that it should of course be a UK team that goes, so possibly there is a great prize waiting for the third placed Elite team, and given that only 25 minutes separates 3rd to 8th place it really is all to play for in the Elite.

Just to update everyone on the beer situation – it has run out – BOO.

But as the donations raised over £1800 towards the new Arrochar mountain rescue Landrover, Tuggy Delap of Fyne Ales has decided to donate another two barrels – HURRAY

Which hopefully that will get the total over the £2000 mark.

.Finally for this report, and another innovation for this year - the LAMM quiz / caption competition. Why are all these LAMMers sat by the side of the track near to Andrew Leaney’s parked car? Answers on a postcard before tomorrow morning please.

Jon Brooke



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Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

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