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