Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Highlander Mountain Marathon 2016

HMM 2016 - Glen Cannich (Control 8 A-class Day2 was located at this point )
Team Balfour/Davidson were back for a third crack at the Highlander Mountain Marathon, this year based at Cannich, east of Inverness.
This was the last of the Highlander Mountain Marathons (HMM), and was being referred to as 'the final fling...'; next year, the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM) will pick up the event on the first week in June.

Long drive up to Cannich, and overnight camp at Cannich Woodland Campsite after registration and some serious eating. Eddie's back playing up after over doing the gardening the previous weekend, but stoically sticking to the full A-class course selection (linear course,maximum distance/ascent)

We opted for the earliest start because we knew we were going to be out on the hills all day.
6:00am breakfast and 6;30 bus to race start; we were first group to go at ~7:15; cloud down, right down...deep heather, steep ascent, no visibility...ominous start to Control#1. Soon up through the clouds at ~800m and full temperature inversion by Control#2. After that, in and out of clouds several times; hot and airless on the ridges.
A couple of minor navigational errors, but soon resolved and a strong finish - back to mid camp before 3:00pm for a time of 7h45 and all ten controls recorded (~30Km , 1950m ascent)....36th from ~50 in A-class was a good performance for us....

Another early (7:15) start in low cloud, but again up into the sunshine by Control #3; very hot, damn hot all day. Everyone was struggling a bit in the heat. Eddie's pain killers kicked in around midday as I started wilt and was working hard to stay on the pace. Again, some good navigational route choices and our strong steady pace was picking up places. A minor navigation error near the end lost ten mins or so but another strong finish on the final stretch. Home in 7h15 and all fourteen controls punched (~29Km, 1650 ascent)...six places picked up for a very pleasing 30th place.

Long drive home again...legs scratched to bits in the heather, and removal of more ticks than you can imagine (I lost count after removing about ten!)

A-class was won by the current 'rockstars' of the fell running world, Findlay Wild and Sam Hesling; 8hrs 25 for the two days (compared to our 15 hrs !)

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