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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Overnight Leaders Reports

Elite Course: Duncan Archer & Jim Mann

A great day in the hills.  We set off at a steady pace, and managed to keep it going, and despite a few slow patches in the middle we picked up the pace for the last two controls as we headed downhill to the finish.  Out on the course we were thinking there wasn’t much large-scale route choice, but then looking at the planners routes back at the finish it looked like we did hardly any of them!  Maybe that is why we were really feeling it on some of the very steep climbs.  The weather and views were fantastic (and especially good to get back and in the tent before the rain started!), and we had a quiet time where the elite course went, probably seeing more deer than other competitors for most of it.  Jim looked at the results and came back to report “good news and bad” – the good being that we were in the lead, the bad being that we were only 2mins 6secs ahead, so it looks like there will be no letting up tomorrow!

A Course: Neil Talbott and Jonathon Davies

We’ve done several mountain marathons together but this was the first time we hadn’t had to sprint to make our start time, and also the first where we’d managed to guess correctly where the bus would drop us for the start of day 1: good omens. As usual we went off far too fast but for a change we realised in time to do something about it, and by an hour or so in we’d settled onto a reasonably sustainable intensity. The ridges were beautiful and the running much better than we’d feared. We stayed low in the valley until directly below control  4 (not the planner’s preferred route), which may have been a mistake as the steep climb was extremely tough over high heather. To control 5 we took the right-hand route over Bodach Mòr, where the planner had intended the left-hand alternative via  Càrn Bàn, but we felt we’d rather be coming down onto the control from above (and also worried that the going by the left-hand stream might be poor); looking later, a central route picking a route down the crags west of Bodach Beag might have been a (risky) third option, saving quite a bit of climb. The plateau before control 7 was also drier and more runnable than it looked on the map. Overall we found the course very interesting and enjoyable with some difficult choices but generally pleasant terrain. Mid-camp is gorgeous but it has rained for the last 5 hours, so we’ve just sat in the tent and had a monster eatathon (complete with birthday brownies – thank you Charley!); strangely we still have enough food between us for at least three teams tomorrow so we’ll try to palm some off on the marshals, who as always are doing a superb job. Fingers crossed that tomorrow goes a little better than the second day of last year’s OMM, when we haemorrhaged half an hour hopelessly lost looking for the first control...

B Course: Sarah O’Neil and Andrew Llewellyn

After a cheeky McDonalds in Inverness and some massive faffing at the start, we set off the only way the LAMM knows, uphill.  Highlight for both of us was adding Beinn Dearg to our munro count and with the lowlight getting caught by two women on the subsequent descent. 

Our route choice involved numerous arguments, with the compromise always going Andy’s way which tended to differ from the planner’s.  We were tending to take quite direct routes (most dangerously on the way to #4) and we’re looking forward to post-race splits analysis to see who was right!

We were really happy with the way we ran today overall with only a cheeky bad patch happening  in the last couple of km’s – but we invented the reverse bungee a.k.a push to get us to the finish. 

Currently 400g/500g through our supernoodle marathon and looking forward to blitzing it round tomorrow.

C Course: Tim Gomersall and Daniel Gooch

Having marked the controls on the map we set off up the hill. The terrain was good and we were moving quite fast. We were tempted into running all the way uphill to the first control, but this much enthusiasm didn’t last all day. The planning on C gave some great route choice options with our route differing significantly from the planners’ best route, but ours seemed to work. We even took some scenic choices just ‘cause it looked nice. Eventually we passed the earliest starting team and we had the hill to ourselves. Bliss. All change tomorrow as the 6am (gulp) chasing start gets underway and the pressure is really on.   After a lovely sunny day on the hill it is now raining, and we guess it’ll still be at 6am, so we’re looking forward to a different day with some real navigation challenges.

D Course: Marcus Nilsson & Lars Erixon

Two weeks ago me and Lars decided to take a trip from Sweden over to the Scottish highlands for some mountain marathoning. Since we’re both focusing on road racing we decided to try the D-Course and do a two week training plan for hill-running. The goal for today’s race was to keep a steady tempo and don’t miss the checkpoints and we started quite slow just easing into the race. The climb up to the first checkpoint was magnificent and we tried to look back down the valley to enjoy the view several times. Everything went basically as planned for the next routes. The interesting thing was that we seemed quite alone with the route choices we made except for the middle two checkpoints.

Overall this was a great first day and we really tried to enjoy the course and having a chat with the other competitors as much as possible. Apart for my partner having problems with cramps the last 45 minutes everything ran smooth and we hope that that won’t disturb us tomorrow. Our goal is still to keep moving steady and not making mistakes. And to enjoy the course tomorrow as much as we did today.

Run Happy,

Marcus

Score Course: Jon Ascroft and Steven Fallon

Jon and I swithered this year on whether or not to enter the Elite, then we heard rumours on how tough the Score Class was in last year’s LAMM. The Score sounded more and more tempting, though neither of us has done one before. On the Thursday prior to the event, Beinn Dearg was announced – excellent ! I’ve been in this area many times before, Seana Bhraig is one of my favourite Munros.

The organisers had arranged some superb weather for the day, so even if we didn’t do particularly well competitively, we’ll try for the photo competition anyway. A quarter of an hour was spent marking the map and selecting a route. We’d built in several options for the latter part of the route, but with a bit of flagging and slightly tiring legs, we stuck our original route all the way. Surprised and slightly shocked at our end-of-day leading position, we now feel the pressure is really on!

 

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Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

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