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Controller's Comments - Chris Hall


We all know about the problems that outdoor events have had this year because of Foot and Mouth Disease. Landowners have been understandably nervous about letting people on their land because of the risk of infection. This was the first major event to take place this year and we owe a lot to Martin and the Estates for enabling the Event to take place. It may be that we have set a precedent. The next 3 weeks will be important. Because of this nationwide problem, we made a decision to make the courses easier this year as we knew that fitness levels would not be as high as normal. What Mark did was to produce courses that were of similar lengths to previous years but with height climbed at least a third less. We try to be fair despite emails from some of the cynics. What is not fair is teams entering a class that is way below their level of ability. In the 1999 report I published a table with the relative technical and physical difficulties of each course. One of the reasons that the D Class was so fast was that there were teams running in it who had skills way above the level defined for this class. This is not fair on the true D Class competitor. Many of these top teams should have been doing B. It may be that in future we have to vet the classes more closely. The alternative is to make them non-competitive.

One of the nice things about working with Mark is that he is well organised so that controlling is much easier. Once the competition has started there is not a great deal to do except to ensure that the machine runs smoothly. My major concern was that many teams breached one of the main principles of a Mountain Marathon in that members should stay in contact. I was amazed how many individuals arrived at the Mid-Camp finish without their partner. This is a team event and both members should be assisting each other. Please be warned that this may lead to disqualification in future.

Last year Mark apologised about the toilets at the Mid-Camp. This year I have to do the same. My grateful thanks to Rick Houghton and his merry team for putting up the screens round the trenches.

The Novice class was introduced 3 years ago to give people experience in what a Mountain Marathon is about. It is nice to see these participants returning to compete in subsequent years. Encourage your friends to come for a 'walk in the hills' and soak up the atmosphere of the event.

In the Elite, the Davies brothers had a blazing run on the first day and repeated this on Day 2. Congratulations to them on their first Mountain Marathon success. At the finish we saw a large number of smiling faces. It is this that makes the effort worthwhile. Thank you all for participating and to Mark for the great effort he put in to achieve this result.

We owe a lot to those unsung heros who are there in the background doing those little tasks that are mundane but so important to the running of the event. It was bitterly cold on Friday with a biting easterly wind. Not the sort of thing that you want to stand out in if you can help it. But those that controlled the car parking deserve our grateful thanks. They deserve a warming dram the next time you see them. There was a great applause for Niall and his pipes at the prize giving. Unfortunately, he was not there to hear it. He was one of those essential volunteers who helped with placing and retrieving the controls on the hill. We are always looking for help of this nature, so in future years, if you are not competing, how about volunteering your services?

Thank you all for participating and I hope to see you all, except for the litter louts, in the hills in the near future.


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Route planning above Loch Duich
The clouds over mid camp
Racing together - the spirit of the event