Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon
Fell events are multi-multi-dimensional: There’s the route, the terrain, the underfoot conditions, the gradients of the climbs, the descents, the weather, the route choice, the navigation, the nutrition, the hydration, the pacing, the competition.
As if that weren’t enough dimensions, a pairs event adds yet another. It’s almost a dimension too far for me – this blog isn’t subtitled misanthropic runner for nothing, as many of my acquaintances will confirm. So, after really enjoying the OMM in the Howgills last year I thought I would do the Klets version of the Saunders. Yeah, yeah, I know – I’d rather do two massively punishing days in the mountains having to lug all my kit myself rather than enjoy a pleasant few hours of bonhomie and camaraderie with a like-minded partner. Well, that’s about the size of it.
It was a lovely weekend for it and it was all going reasonably well. Though I hadn’t taken the best routes I’d not made any nav errors and I’d had quite a good time wandering around an out of the way corner of the Lake District. I was on for a six and a half hour finish to day one which I thought wasn’t too bad for a relative novice. Until the next to last checkpoint. Well, I thought it was the next to last until folding the map and I spotted an isolated circle which I’d forgotten to include when I’d joined the dots at the map markup.
|Spot the not-so-deliberate mistake.|
Dickhead. I sat down. I contemplated retiring. The checkpoint was well out of my way and up a significant climb. Retire? That’s something that a fucking pussy would do. Get up, Liptrot and go and get the fucking checkpoint. So that’ll be an eight hour day then. I was fucking knackered when I got to the overnight camp.
|Zzzzzzz. Bedtime at 7 o'clock.|
Top gun orienteer Tony Marlow had got in about twenty minutes before me. Twenty minutes? I can make up twenty minutes tomorrow. Can’t I? Not that I'm competitive or anything.
It’s a very leisurely start in the morning
|Nice leisurely start and a breakfast can of coke.|
You’ve got all the time in the world to mark your map up and so there was no way I was going to make any mistakes. So I was really careful marking my map up, even though some of the features were a bit subtle for me. And then we were off. The mass start on day two of a mountain marathon is something to behold, with hundreds and hundreds of people trekking off into the mountains. The way up to the first checkpoint was backtracking where I had finished the day before and so I was fairly confident in my navigation. Tony had sneaked off into a quicker queue for a stile and so had stolen a march on me. Not to worry, I had all day to make up the twenty minutes. I got to the first checkpoint and saw a solo runner heading away to the next one. I know it’s a navigation event, but I rationalised like a politician: if he can’t outrun me then he deserves to have me follow him. And follow him I did. Hee hee, I thought, I’ll soon catch Tony up at this rate. Soon we were at the next checkpoint. Only, it wasn’t a spur as I had expected, it was a stream junction. Something was wrong. According to my map the next checkpoint should have been a spur. I swear I’d had this bloke in my sight all the time – he couldn’t have dibbed while I was blinking, could he. I sat down. I looked at the map. I looked at the control description. Map. Control description. Aha. The spur was at 954. I had marked it as 945.
So the first checkpoint I had visited wasn’t the first checkpoint, it was the second. I had missed the first checkpoint! I thought that the spur I had circled on the map was a bit "subtle." That’s coz it wasn’t a spur at all. You fucking dickhead. That was just an error too far. I rationalised again – I had the Lakes 50 in a few weeks, there was no point in thrashing myself too much etc etc. So I enjoyed a leisurely jog back to the start and an early finish and put it down to experience.
The International Snowdon Race
Coming soon: More mishaps and misadventure