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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Saturday Morning

Saturday Photo Gallery | Saturday Courses

Wake up call
Wake up call

Last night the marquee at the event centre never seemed so packed, which might partly have been due to the food and beer, but might also have been partly due to the vast swarms of midges that finally appeared outside as the sun went down and the wind dropped. But by 10:45 only the stragglers remained, with the more level headed competitors “awa' tae their beds.” (thanks to whoohoo.co.uk – the invaluable English/Scotish translation site) in good time, knowing that they would be gently aroused at 5.45 by the lilting sound of the bagpipes across the glen.

This morning, the first Elite and A teams left by minibus at the unearthly hour of 6.20 to their distant start at the southwestern end of Loch Etive at Inveresragan – essentially they are going to spend half of their day heading northwest on the far side of the loch before rounding the northern end and heading south to the overnight camp at Glenkinglass Lodge halfway along Glenkinglass. Andy Spencley the event controller described the route as “very committing” and there is no doubt that it is a big day out. Some extremely intricate logistics mean that once the first minibus has been to the start, subsequent E and A teams will be ferried across Loch Etive at Taynuilt by boat before being picked up and taken a couple of miles along the road on the far side by the same minibus because it is quicker than having the minibus drive all the way back.

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Crossing the dam
Crossing the dam

The logistical complications continue with the other courses. The C and D courses are starting at the Cruachan Reservoir Dam (as depicted by Martin Bagness on the LAMM T-shirts this year) – although, because it is reached by a three mile single track road there is a complicated bit of marshalling in place to prevent coaches meeting each other and getting stuck. Of course it might have been logistically easier to have put the start somewhere less dramatic – but this is the LAMM.

Finally, the B and score classes are being taken in the opposite direction to everyone else and will start from Victoria bridge at the western end of Loch Tulla, a full 30 km, as the crow flies away from the A and E starts.

So far I’ve not had much chance to talk to many competitors but some that I will be trying to catch up with over the weekend include last year’s winners of the Elite, Jim Mann and Duncan Archer who are back to defend their title. In the meantime Duncan has also gone on to win the OMM Elite race, though with a different partner, Shane Ohly, the man in charge of the forthcoming Dragon’s Back race, which I know at least one of this weekend’s competitors is taking part in. Looking at the other Elite entries it could be that the main challengers for the title this year are Dan Gay and Alasdair Anthony or Francis Blunt and Chris Burn, who were 2nd and 3rd place respectively on the Elite last year.

Finally, one team that we will be watching very closely is that of Andrew Llewellyn and Sarah O’Niell. Two years ago they entered the LAMM as their first mountain marathon, and as a mixed pair won the C course outright. Last year they entered the B course and won that outright too. This year they are doing the A and we know for a fact that Sarah is in good form as she won the Three Peaks Race at the end of April.

Jon Brooke

 

 

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