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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Overnight Leaders Reports

Elite Course: Duncan Archer & Jim Mann

Today felt like the most physical day of a mountain marathon we’ve ever had.  We’d seen the course distance / climb was more than previous years, so we hoped for some fast running to compensate – sadly not, and it was quite rough tussocks in places.  We made one embarrassing error on number 2, looking 1km away from where we should have been, but otherwise our navigation was good.  Two thirds of the way round, things were going fairly well, but then the course dropped to sea level, before climbing over a munro at 1000m – ouch.  The only high point (apart from the top) was seeing two deer on the way up.  Then it was down a nice descent, before several km along the final track which seemed interminable.  Now we are looking forward to lighter packs tomorrow having eaten lots of food.....

A Course: Andy Fallas and Helen Bonsor

A mystery tour start with a bus, a boat, and another bus to the start of the A route. Rough ground dominated the first half of course, and hillier ground for the second. The main challenge of the day was drinking enough from the diminshed streams. A few route choices, between ascending and contouring, which it will be interesting to see how our choices worked out when the full spilts are up. The hardest part was the rough ground to check 2 - at this point I was considering what had I got myself into, and how was I ever going to keep up with Andy, this being the first time we'd raced as a pair together. However, as the course and day wore on we settled into a good rhythm, and felt stronger as the day went on, despite the heat on the final ascents. Andy set a good pace on the last ascent as he was determined not to take longer on this route choice - over contouring round the munro, which he had initially favoured. Luckily a wise decision to take in the munro, as the contour didnt look too nice close up. What will tomorrow bring....?

B Course: George Peplinski and Jacques Penderis

An interesting start to the day included a bus tour of Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe, before our slightly embarrassed bus driver realised we were destined for Bridge of Orchy.  The B course was well planned and included some big climbs and the options for different route choices, the good weather was a bonus as it made navigation a lot simpler than the usual LAMM.  Overall the route had some excellent running.   The only down side of the day was being savaged by midges at the start and again on the summit of Stob Coir an Albannaich (1044 meters).  We have never been midged on the summit of a Munro before and motivated our speed of ascent!

We started near the back and immediately left most of the pack behind when most took a different route to the second control, after that we spent a large part of the day running on our own rather than a long line of runners.  Then the finish to hear that we were leading the B course was a slight shock, and we look forward to blowing up in spectacular fashion tomorrow.  All to do with our lack of preparation this year and being (probably!) the oldest non-veteran team in B class at a combined age of 89 years and 10 months.

C Course: Ian Pledger and Donald Brown

At the end of a long day spent travelling over some of the most fantastic scenery in Scotland we finally ended up in the overnight camp, reasonably satisfied with how our day had went. A quick swim in the river and several pot noddles and hot chocolates later while sitting in the sun and with no midgies present , life doesn’t seem to bad. We started with a run across the dam and then tottled along, going up and down chasing deer that cover the ground as we would like to. Anyway a great event and always very enjoyable. Hopefully now, a good nights sleep and some luck tomorrow.

D Course: Sam Guest and Mick James

With two gruelling climbs, one of which was immediately after the start and the other being a Monroe, there were many times when I wondered why I had accepted Mick’s invitation to do this! But looking back on the day now, I realise that I actually enjoyed it.

This race has been 3 years in the making – Sam first asked if he could do a LAMM when he was 12years old and I said I’d take him along as soon as he was 16 – kindly Martin let him enter at 15 so here we are. Great performance from today, he set of like a train for the first 30 mins but the hills found him out after 3 hours, still he showed lots of courage and hung on until the end. Don’t tell his dad that instead of a warm down he went to bed for an hour.

Score Course: Kenny Leitch and Keith Masson

Picture the scene....70 runners on the bus, all with maps but they don't know where they're going...1 bus driver, no map and the only one who should know where he's going. He didn't! Mind you, Rannoch Moor was stunning - both times when we drove through it on the bus and on the way to our second control.

Incident of the day - not quite making hand to hand contact when passing our water bottle between us, whilst scrambling up some crags on the way to no.3. We watched it tumble very slowly down the mountain, almost stopping several times, before plunging off a cliff. Not a great outcome on what was a really hot day. We improvised with a resealable plastic bag, which worked a treat!

Decision of the day - it didn't feel like it at the time but going for the 50 pointer made the difference. The 900m climb to that control and the one after was nothing short of horrendous but worth it.

All in all, a solid day, with no real errors, although we'd probably change a couple of route choices if we had our time again. The mountains were spectacular and the weather was pretty much as good as it gets. Just hoping now for a breeze at the overnight camp, to keep the ferocious midges at bay...


Climate Care

Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event

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