This years Elite competition in the LAMM is probably the strongest ever and defending champions Ifor and Alun Powell will have to perform at their very best to retain the title.
The Swiss pair Christian Aebersold and Jan Beguin have accepted the invitation to travel to Scotland, giving up the opportunity to defend their mountain marathon world title at the IGN Raid Francital in France last weekend. It is an event they have won before, along with the Mammut International Mountain Marathon, Switzerland's top event.
One man who knows their capabilities is Mark Seddon, who has finished just behind them in both. He is competing with Mark Hartell, and the pair hold many long distance and mountain marathon titles between them. Seddon has won 7 consecutive Karrimor International Mountain Marathons (KIMM's), an incredible achievement, and the pair have won the LAMM in the past.
However, they will all be looking over their shoulders at the mixed pair of Steve Birkinshaw and Helene Diamantides. Birkinshaw is an international orienteer who has won the KIMM elite with Mark Seddon, and Diamantides won the Western Isles Challenge in May. She finished 4 hours ahead of a strong field of solo competitors in this 3 day, 200 mile long adventure race, and if she has recovered sufficiently could be in winning form.
One group of competitors who are unlikely to have fully recovered are Team Parrot, winners of the 9feet Adrenalin Rush just 2 weeks ago. Their winning time for this 300 mile, non-stop adventure race in Northern Ireland was 84 hours 56 minutes, during which they slept for only 5 hours. They finished ahead of an international field, running, riding (bikes and horses), climbing and canoeing their way to victory. (You can see the 9feet webcast site by following the link from the 9feet.com home page.)
All of the team of 4 are competing in the elite class this weekend. Jim and Andrew Davies are running together, as is Ben Bardsley (with Gary Tompsett), and Nicola Davies has teamed up with Liz Cowell, who has won the Polaris Mountain Bike MM in the past. No doubt they will all be glad to stop, camp and sleep during this race.
There are other strong elite teams too and it could be that those mentioned above will all be beaten to the finish line. Whatever happens, its going to be a great race.
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