Mountain marathons are ACE! Just got back from the RAB Mountain Marathon, what a fantastic weekend. Ok, so we had perfect weather-I know some would prefer low cloud and mist but with my navigational skills clear blue sky is fine by me!
This was our first score event as a pair and really challenged our tactical skills, or lack of! We ended up going round with Cratchett who was going solo but had decided to stick with us. This meant some frustrating 3 way map discussions, until Jane pointed that it would be quicker to take in turns being the navigator...and everyone else to be quiet...
I found the route choice and tactical decision making much harder that the actual running. There are so many variables to take into account when choosing which check points to aim for. We had decided to play it safe on the first day and made it back to mid camp with 40 minutes to spare. We were in 10/12 in the Female <40 whilst Cratchett was 40/52 in the Male <40. Plans were made to go 'balls out' on day 2, as it was obvious with hindsight that we could (and should) have got more points.
The mid camp was a beautiful little spot and we got to bask in the September sun as we ate re-hydrated noodles and cup-a-soups. I love the mid camps at MM's, it's the best people watching ever. Particularly, if you're into gear and are a bit nosey!
After a surprisingly good sleep (on a layer of bubble wrap and half a sleeping bag!) I was feeling fit and ready to go. We made plans for the first 3 check points and had decided that at that point we had 2 options (the safe one and the 'glory' one). With only 5 hours allocated today was going to be faster than yesterday. After 2 hours Cratchett decided to call it a day. He was suffering with cramp and the combination of carrying a much heavier bag (as a solo he had to carry everything himself) and blisters made his choice to retire very understandable.
At this point Jane and I decided to go for glory. I'm constantly amazed by Jane's toughness and resolve. Considering she only started running at Easter and was someone who would be get sick notes to get out of PE a school, she is a champion in the making! Jane forced fed herself glucose tablets and we made our way over to Carrock Fell.
Our 'glory' route gave us some fantastic running. The decision to stick to paths as much as possible, as we could move more quickly than on the rougher ground, proved to be successful. Despite taking the longer route from Carrock Fell to West Fell we could see that we didn't loose much time from the other teams. We had a brilliant run back to the finish, it was just a shame that Cratchett wasn't with us.
I think we came in about 5/11 on the second day which shows that we really didn't try hard enough on day 1-or that it took a while to get used to the tactics and not just being in a straight race. Overall we finish in 7/11 ...maybe we could have made it to that last check point!
The weekend was rounded off with traditional Wilf's gruel and talk of what could have been. I think I'm coming back solo next year!!