Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Rab mountain marathon, Howgill Fells
This event is still relatively new to the mountain marathon timetable, but is growing rapidly - with around 500 runners descending on the pleasant town of Sedbergh last Friday night. A superb cloud inversion heralded a great day on the Saturday, with the usual intriguing route choice options requiring full concentration and a great deal of hard running and climbing throughout the six hours available. The checkpoints were spread across the range, from just below the summit of The Calf to featureless moorland near Tebay Service Station. A sun-drenched campsite near Cautley Spout waterfall offered a welcome opportunity to rest and chat before setting off again on Sunday: not to mention a highly controversial opportunity to refuel with burger and chips at a nearby cafe - only the purists refused! Chris and Fenella Higgins were competing as a team in the mixed vet category, with Huw Lewis and partner in the Vets, and Simon Roberts competing solo in the Senior Males (the Rab is the only MM to allow solo competitors, but doesn't give them a seperate category, it just mixes them up with the pairs). The second day dawned misty and stayed cloudy throughout, but more superb running and tricky decision making throughout. One classic mountain marathon moment saw me poised above a big valley with 30 minutes to go, desperately trying to decide whether I could squeeze in two horrendously difficult controls at the bottom of a deep valley - the sort of dilemma that defines these events. In the end I opted to play it safe, but missed a podium place as a result! At the end of the two days, Chris and Fenella finished 23rd in the mixed vets with 180 pts overall. Huw and partner finished 22nd in the vets with 345 points, while Simon Roberts finished 7th senior male with 455 points.