This year the Rab Mountain Marathon started from Wooler in Northumberland. This event is ‘score’ format, meaning that you have 6 hours on day 1 and 5 hours on day 2 to locate as many controls as possible. The controls are worth varying numbers of points, and the largest point count wins, so tactics and planning are important.
Saturday dawned bright and clear and in no time we were at the start waiting to go.
An hour into the event, things were not going as planned. Poor mapping in one particular area, meant we had to take a longer route than expected, which resulted in us losing around 10 minutes, and then I got trapped in a (not very vicious) animal trap, which was fairly amusing. The next two hours were a bit of a slog; I was pretty knackered and just couldn’t get moving. After about 3 hours, I started to warm-up and moving across the terrain became a bit easier, but by this time we were choosing which of our planned controls to miss out, which was a bit frustrating.
We made it to the mid-camp 10 minutes early and with 245 points. We were in 30th place and 6th mixed team overall (including the vets) and 3rd mixed team (taking into account just the youngsters). Not the greatest day out.
The camp was lovely, despite the rather dubious drinking water source and we had a nice evening… that was until we went to sleep…. it was rather cold and we slept fitfully. I’d forgotten that the Rab MM was two weeks later than usual this year and our lightweight sleeping bags were not quite warm enough. In the morning we woke to frost and frozen socks that were stiff as cardboard!
We got going quickly if only to get warm!
After the first hill, we warmed up, and felt good and we flew around the first 4 controls in about 1hr 10. We then headed back through the same valley that we camped in and started our journey to the finish, meandering across the hills to collect as many points as possible. Compared to day 1, we ran lots more and passed lots of people, which was satisfying. We also had to add on more controls to our planned route as we were going faster than expected :-).
We arrived at the finish about 15 minutes early, where Richard collapsed for a short time before we walked back to the event centre.
We scored a total of 255 points on day 2, which boosted our placings somewhat! We haven’t seen the final results yet, but whilst we were beaten by a couple of mixed vet teams, we came first out of the mixed teams! 🙂 Even better, we won some fantastic prizes, so thanks Rab!
The GPS track suggests we ran over 60 k, so not a bad weekend’s exercise… it’s a good job it’s cake day tomorrow at work!