Monday, 15 June 2009

Team Manners does the LAMM 2009!

A fantastic well done to Ali and Will Manners who completed the 2009 Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon. It is a great achievement for them both, but as Ladies' Captain it is particularly exciting to see another lady pushing their boundaries.

This report was written by Ali soon after the event and posted on the forum, but I thought it should be put onto the blog for a more permanent record of our club members' achievement.

The Highs and ‘Lowes’ of a Mountain Marathon
LAMM – Kintail 6-7 June 2009

After the drama of the OMM in October last year, we decided to try a summer event to give us a better chance of avoiding wild weather. I couldn’t believe my (bad) luck when I received the bad weather warning from the LAMM organisers 3 days before the event, predicting unseasonably cold weather with the possibility of snow showers!! Fortunately this was a very pessimistic forecast and the conditions turned out to be ideal albeit a chilly night at the overnight camp on Saturday.

We found out the event location at 1pm 2 days before the event and Will’s general area prediction proved to be right. The event was held in Kintail on the west coast - a really spectacular area with some steep mountain ranges and dramatic glens.

We had been warned that the organiser Martin Stone likes to keep everyone guessing as to the routes right up until the last minute. Unlike to OMM where you have a fixed start time at a fixed point, with the LAMM you are given an assembly time and told to the follow the signs to an assembly point. Surprises in the previous events have involved getting to the assembly point and then getting on a ferry! This time having walked north of the event centre, we found coaches waiting to bus us who knows where. Having boarded the bus, we then drove back south to the Cluanie Inn, which is where our class race would start.


Day 1 was hard hard HARD!!! Well for me anyway. Despite having completed day 1 of the OMM last year, I had not really experienced a full day as the OMM had been a bad weather course and considerably shorter. Half way through Saturday, it dawned on me that I had really underestimated how tough these mountain events are. Although I probably do most of my training off road, there is simply no comparison to running on mountain tracks to running on tussocky, rocky, heathery, boggy uneven terrain. I found it completely energy sapping and found my reserves running low very quickly. The wrong choice of dinner the night before and having just recovered from a cold probably didn’t help either. Unfortunately this resulted in some communication problems between me and Will who only fully appreciated how exhausted I was, and just how on the edge I had been, when I burst in to tears at the overnight camp at the end of day 1!!


Fortunately I did not need to do much at the overnight camp as Will put the tent up, sorted out the kit and busied himself with cooking pasta and cups of tea. The location for the overnight camp was at the eastern end of Loch na Leitreach, a really stunning spot. We arrived at 3.30 so had plenty of rest and eating time. The sun was well and truly out by this time and due to a cool breeze was mercifully midge free.


After a chilly night we were woken to the sounds of the piper for the 5 am wake up call. The first leading runners were away at 6am and we set off at 7. I was feeling far more positive on day 2 and fortunately my legs (surprisingly) were functioning ok. The start past checkpoint 1 to checkpoint 2 involved just short of an 800 metre climb to the summit of Raochaig (868m) - a real wake up call and hard slog. As per day 1, route choices were critical and the course planner, Angela Midge, had put in some challenging legs. The going was a little easier for me with more opportunity for running on the flatter sections and downhill but it was still very hard going. Fortunately at approx 1.15 pm we ran back to event HQ and I had finished my first mountain marathon.


In the end we finished in a total time of 13 hours 24 min. The winner’s time in our class was 9 hours 35 and the slowest was 22 hours 28. We came 93rd out of 143 finishers with a further 22 starters not completing the course. The total distance was approx 42 km (depending on what route you took) which does not sound too bad, but when you factor in the terrain, carrying all your overnight kit on your back and ascent of approx 2900m– believe you me – it feels like a hell of a long way!

Will I do it again? If you asked me after day 1 the answer would have been ‘no – not even if you paid me a million’. But I guess like childbirth, the pain is soon forgotten and you give it another go. I suspect I will do another but this time, I’ll be better mentally and physically prepared.


Again, well done guys and I have no doubt you will do another!


Monday, 1 June 2009

Knock Hill race

Only six Harriers - obviously not football fans - ran in this year's Knock race, which unfortunately once again coincided with a major European football final!

The race was won by Joe Symonds in a very fast time of 29.43, with Evelyn Dugdale the first woman in 36.33.

Digby Sym was first Harrier home in a very respectable 36.12, in 14th place overall, followed by Peter Hague 38.39, Fred McCain 41.47, Matt McLay 42.14, James Bussey 43.30 and Cathy Tilbrook 44.39.