Rachel’s already blogged about her victory (and pinched all the pictures), so I’l be brief. The Dark and White mini-Mountain Marathons are a nice easy introduction to the sport – they only last three hours, you can go as fast and as far as you want, quite a lot of the controls are on paths or just off them, and there’s usually a dry indoor space with hot drinks and biscuits to retreat to after the race. So come on guys! Get out there!
While Rachel chose to climb up the front of Kinder Scout to start, I decided to start south of Edale and work my way around to the west and then the north. This was mainly because there were lots of controls just north of Edale, and so lots of different possible routes depending on how much time I had, but it turned out to be an excellent choice as the strong southwest wind fairly blew me around the course! Much easier than struggling against it in the other direction.
I collected a few controls low down in the Edale valley, then climbed up towards Brown Knoll. Those who’ve walked along the tops there will know that Brown Knoll itself is pretty much an endless peat bog, but surprisingly, the Eastern edge just above the valley was quite dry and easy running. After that I headed north to Jacob’s ladder, where in a moment of confusion I ran down the path towards Upper Booth instead of uphill towards Kinder Low as I’d intended. Fortunately, after only a few hundred metres, my brain kicked in again, I realised where I’d gone, and that there was an extra control 30m further down the valley to add to my route.
Things went more according to plan later, helped by the improving weather (less rain, but more wind) and I was quickly among the controls around Crowden Brook, which unfortunately included a brutal climb from the valley floor to the rim – 170m of climb in only 320m horizontally! After that, a swift trot around Grindslow Knoll, and I was left with 20 minutes to get back to the village hall in Edale. The one remaining control was just out of reach, so I gave in and headed home with 5 minutes to spare. I’ve not managed better than second place in one of these races previously, so I’m quite pleased to finally win one, although as a friend of mine pointed out, none of the really good people showed up!
Rachel’s already used the cake picture, so here’s one of what happened to the cake!