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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Winners Reports

Elite Course:  Duncan Archer and Jim Mann

A fantastic day.  With only 2mins start ahead of the 2nd placed team, we set of fairly hard to the first control.  In the next couple of legs there were some really interesting route choices and we were fairly happy with our choices, although they took in some big and tiring climbs (but the views made up for it!).  We didn’t see anyone behind when we looked over our shoulders, but we decided to keep the pace up, not really fancying a sprint finish!  The last few controls were just hard work, no big climbs so we felt we had to keep running hard; there was one nervy moment at the penultimate control which would couldn’t find for a few minutes on a boggy moor, but eventually got it, and it was then an exhausting 5km down the track through the forest to the finish.  We were delighted to win – probably the most pleasing result either of us has ever had in a race.

A Course: Neil Talbott and Jonathon Davies

Having made yesterday’s start in something approaching good time, it was perhaps inevitable that we’d be late today; and so it came to pass that as the start marshal called “Go” at 6am, Jon was still packing his bag and I was frantically trying to pin on our race numbers. By 6:02 Jon had already lost his list of the day’s controls and we were meandering, headless chicken-like, across the valley with no real idea where we were heading. Fortunately we got a grip once on the first climb, although the route choice to control 2 (over Seana Bhraigh) was a somewhat hurried decision and it might have been faster to contour south-east and climb up Coire Mhic Mhathain, saving 200m height. Still, it was fun to bypass the munro’s summit, to the bemusement of a walker and her dog. The route choice from 3 to 4 was probably the hardest of the day but we felt we got it about right, taking a fairly direct line and accepting a 200m climb. The descent off Meall nan Ceapraichean was brutally steep but the rest of the day was reasonably runnable, even the awkward contouring over heather before control 6. The amount of unused hill food (including an entire Jamaica ginger cake) with which we finished was nothing short of criminal, but you live and learn (allegedly). This was a stunning weekend, brilliantly organised (huge thanks to all involved) and we’ll be back for more. And Jon promises (_promises_) to wash his sleeping bag before next time...

B Course: Sarah O’Neil and Andrew Llewellyn

As a bonus, for the first time on a chasing start on a mountain marathon we made it to the start with time to spare despite struggling to repack our blizzard / sweat bags back into the original vacuum pack.  Andy’s guns were no match for a vacuum.

After a solid performance yesterday, we started with a 19minute lead on the second pair.  We didn’t see anyone else out on the course despite looking over our shoulders the whole time.

We continued with our “straight is great” strategy from yesterday, which seemed to work OK albeit involving a steep descent off Seana Bhraigh (Munro).  It was only when we ditched this strategy on the way to #5 that we lost time to the Day 2 winners -  B6 (Stephen “Mountain Giant” Martin and Bernie “Where are the paths Steve?” Burke) – good effort guys.

Can’t wait to get our fast food tour of Scotland started – eyeing up a McDonalds in Inverness and Chinese back in Edinburgh.

Next year, the A course awaits.........

C Course: Tim Gomersall and Daniel Gooch

We won, wow! And we’ve had a great pint of An Teallach ale at 10 in the morning. What more could you ask for? Oh, the run... really nice. Some  more good route choice and just lovely running with views everywhere. The 6am start was tough but appreciated as it’d be hot out there at noon. What else? Did anyone spot the ‘SI birds’! In fact Golden Plover going beep beep just like the SI units. Most uncanny. We had a great day and thank you very much the organisers.

D-Course: Marcus Nilsson & Lars Erixon

First of all, thank you for the great organisation and excellent courses in a view so scenic that you just have to experience it. We started out today with a quite massive lead but 06.00 is very, very early for running. So the plan was to just move steadily and don’t make any stupid mistakes. We decided to play it safe the whole day and really taking no risks. We did a small mistake just by the first checkpoint but after reaching the second one everything felt quite safe. Today’s course was a little bit different to yesterdays and there was more of just keeping focus close to the checkpoints.

We didn’t push the running but only made sure to move as fast as necessary. Checkpoint three and four was real fun and we tried to enjoy the course as much as possible. The only tough climb was up to checkpoint number 5 and when we didn’t see any other teams at the end of the climb we felt safe. Little bit tricky to find the fifth one but after that we just enjoyed the scenery doing the downhill run to the last one. No problems there and we could run easy into the finish.

A really good competition for the both of us and hopefully we can return another year!

Thanks,

Marcus & Lars

 

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Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

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