Great Lakeland 3 Day 2016 #GL3D – Day 2

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Yesterday I said, ‘The Lakes really are a special place any day, anytime, in any weather… well, almost?’

‘Well almost,’ hit today with some seriously torrential rain, gusting to gale force winds (particularly on the tops and in exposed areas) and at times slippery conditions underfoot. That’s the Lakes for you… the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Despite the onslaught of the weather, the scenery and the landscape still remained beautiful and spectacular. Despite the odd patch of white at higher levels, the complete blanket of snow that had covered about 500m was gone! It really is amazing the difference a day can make.

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Warmer temperatures overnight certainly made camping a more pleasant experience and for those runners who were up early and packed away by 0615, they will have dry gear and a dry tent to pitch tonight! Anyone who slept in will have a different story to tell. When the rain came, it really did come and although Shane Ohly (race director) had said it was on it’s way, we had all secretly hoped he was wrong.

The forecast was bad and Shane had contemplated running a bad weather course but many runners, even those in the Elite category decided to run the much shorter ‘C’ route. In all honesty, it was a wise decision. The C route although easy navigation had plenty of ups and downs in it and in the conditions, it was far enough.

This was confirmed at the Cafe at Honister Pass which contained a gathering of GL3D competitors throughout the day. They all found solace in some food and a warm drink before pushing on past Buttermere and to the day 2 camp at Loweswater.

Despite the harsh conditions, temperatures were good. However, wet clothes and serious wind chill did make many a runners journey a tough one – hands in particular were constantly being banged together and rubbed in an effort to bring them back to life.

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In the true nature of the GL3D, many of the participants had nothing but smiles and laughter for the conditions, particularly after the picture postcard scenes of day 1. The race did have its casualties though with many participants not completing any of the race categories (they just wanted to be back in camp asap) and others deciding to end the 3 day adventure early; the lure of warm clothes and a bed just too much of a temptation after such a tough day.

Post race the rain slowly reduced to a persistent drizzle, temperatures were relatively good but the main priority for all was to get out of wet clothes and into dry clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, ‘thank goodness this is not a full self-sufficient mountain marathon!’

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Dry bags were opened, tents were pitched and in the safety of one of the large marquees provided by Ourea Events, stories started to be told about the days challenges. Of course, as per the previous day, free cake was consumed and energy levels were topped up with a pint of beer.

Day 3 concludes the 2016 GL3D and the runners will navigate back to the start location via Elite, A, B and C courses. However, I heard someone say the weather forecast is worse for tomorrow; oh joy!

Images available at iancorless.photoshelter.com HERE

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Marmot24 2015 – Race Summary and Images

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The inaugural Marmot24 took place in 2014 and it proved to be one of the most challenging races of its type on the race calendar. Using a score format, participants raced over 12 or 24 hours on tough northern Lakeland terrain. Adding to the difficulty, the weather was grim. Yes, it was one seriously tough race.

This year another tough and challenging course was created in Southern Scotland (the Lowther Hills close to Dumfries) by Gary Tompsett. Once again using a score format (all controls had the same points) the objective for participants was to visit and accumulate points from as many controls as possible spread over an area of 200 square km’s. Needless to say, the potential for any 1 or 2-man (or woman or mixed) team to gain a 100% score was almost impossible.

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However, several teams excelled in the tough conditions.

In contrast to 2014 when the 12-hour runners started at midnight, this year, all competitors started at midday. A centrally based camp would allow runners to return as often as they like to rest, sleep, eat and then go back out on the course. For the committed, they never returned until the end!

100 runners took on the challenge and although clear blue skies bathed base camp and the northern hills, the southern part of the course had looming clouds that unfortunately (unexpectedly) provided a very wet and miserable day.

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From the off it was apparent that the northern fells seemed to be the preferred choice with clusters of controls offering good point scoring potential. The terrain may well have been more demanding in regard to elevation but underfoot it was dry, firm and fast. The south by contrast was flatter but extremely boggy. This boggy ground combined with wet weather made the south of the course not ideal. But sometimes you only find this out once you have committed yourself.

Route planning was extremely varied; some teams would start south, others in the north. Clockwise or anti-clockwise. The route options were endless and thus tracking and following of the event was very much a lottery.

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One consensus for many appeared to be the potential to spend 10-12 hours on the fells, call in the HQ for food, maybe some sleep and a change of clothes and then head back out. However, once you get back in camp, immerse yourself in a warm sleeping bag, it can be difficult to get back out on what turned out to be a very chilly July night.

Rain had been falling for hours in the south and this resulted in many a runner bringing their race to an end with the 12-hour cut off. However, those who had gone north were much better prepared for a night out and some wild camped, bivvied or pushed on through.

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Jim Tinnion, a regular competitor at these events (The Spine, Dragons Back and so on) commented post race:

“Lowther Hills was a super tough location with running as rough as you can imagine and some desperate descents. Happy with 2nd mixed pair: we didn’t quite have enough to match a great run by Simon and Carmen. Amazing stars last night at a freezing bivvy. Sleeping in survival bags isn’t ideal but we got a couple of hours sleep 15 miles after dinner in the Wanlockhead Inn. Brilliant event, very highly recommended but far and away the hardest mountain marathon challenge I know of.”

Teams had travelled from all over the UK and Europe to participate in this new and ground breaking event. Post race, they all concurred that the terrain and the difficult conditions had provided them all with an ultimate test. Bogs, marshes, bracken and ferns were a new experience to the ‘Europeans’ and it was clear to see the impact. ©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-3202

Top honors in the 12-hour went to Chris Baynham-Hughes who sweeped up a remarkable 25 controls. He was fast, in control and used supreme navigational skills and fitness to dominate the tough and challenging event. He timed his run perfectly finishing at Dursideer HQ in the final 15-minutes before the midnight chime. Full 12-hour results HERE. Sarah Fuller was 1st lady and Hamish Waring and Andy Heaton were the first pair.

The 24-hour race came down to a nail biter between Peter Wilkie and Rick Ansell. These hard core mountain men stayed out all night, pushed on through and looked to gain maximum points before returning back to base. They both accumulated 36 controls but Rick Ansell took top honors as he returned just 6-minutes before Peter. They don’t get much closer than that! Full 24-hour results HERE. Barry McElearney and Graham Cleminson were the first pair and Charlotte Turner and Lydia Farzin-Nia were the first ladies pair. No solo ladies ran the event.

Post race participants recovered with a bowl of hot chilli and of course route choices and course discussions took place, one thing became apparent; he combination of tough Scottish terrain, variable weather and wide spread controls set the Marmot24 apart from other events and it’s a format that was welcomed. Roll on 2016!

A full set of race images are available HERE

Race website HERE

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The Berghaus Dragons Back Race Day 5 2015 – Meet the Runners

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“Remember this day, for it will be yours for all time!” – King Leonidas

Today, 80 runners departed the final Berghaus Dragons Back Race 2015 start line. Battle scarred, they once again face another gruelling day; 56.5km and 2300m of vertical gain.

But who are these brave souls?

Take a look, 4 days of pain engrained on each face. It takes a special person to enter the Berghaus Dragons Back Race but it takes an extra special person to finish.

This race has thrown everything at the runners and in general, weather conditions have been good. Yes they have had rain, mist, clag and occasional strong winds but there has been no disaster days of torrential rain or storms.

It has been an inspiration to share the journey of so many and to document it. We look on in awe at the front of the race and how Jim Mann and Jasmin Paris (and others) can run so fast and effortlessly over such tough and challenging terrain. But Jezz Bragg summed it up for me at the end of day 3 when runners finished well into the night only to get a few hours sleep and then get up and do it all again:

‘These guys are the heroes. They are out all day from 6am, marching on and then they finish at 11pm. They have no rest, no recuperation, no time to eat properly, hydrate and just manage themselves; I couldn’t do it!’

Just last night, the last official runner completed the course in just a few minutes under 11 hours. He was told:

‘You need to start at 6am in the morning so that you have a fighting chance to make the afternoon cut off and complete the race.’

Without hesitation or grumble, they say ‘OK!’ and off they go.

It was never meant to be easy

I can confirm 100% that this race has not been easy, I would actually go as far as saying that this has been one of the toughest races I have worked on. It has been special.

As today draws to a close, the faces below will arrive at Carreg Cennen Castle having run the Dragons Back of Wales. I am looking forward to welcoming each and everyone of them at what will have been a life changing journey.

inov-8 RACE ELITE 24 pack review

1-Race_Elite_24-845x1024inov-8 continue to push the boundaries and after the successful launch of the original Race Ultra Vest (3L) and the recent launch of two larger capacity and re-designed RACE ULTRA VESTS vets; 5L and 10L, the UK innovators have introduced the RACE ELITE 24.

Grounded in the fells of the UK, inov-8 has long provided mountain marathon runners with the perfect footwear to tackle mud, rock, bog and scree. The addition of very specific race apparel and packs have afforded the discerning runner with a one-stop shop for all that is required to race (not sleeping bags or tents). inov-8 packs have been popular in mountain marathon, fast packing and overnight adventures for some time. However, the introduction of the new RACE ELITE 24 is almost certainly going to turn a few heads.

FIRST LOOKS

If you look at the pack from the rear, it is at first glance a very simple design. Almost duffle bag like in shape, the pack is a long black tube with a two-way zip that splits the pack in two. Adorned with adjustable bungee that moves from the outer edge to the middle in a zigzag shape. The bungee passes at the bottom of the pack and mirrors the opposite side. The two elastics then meet in the middle of the pack at the top (above the zip) and here you pull the elastic tight to compress the pack and remove any excess space and/ or fabric. As you look at the pack from the rear, attachments are available on the left for running poles but most importantly, this pack is ice axe friendly! I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked when doing a pack review, ‘can it hold an ice axe?’ Ice axe compatibility may well make the RACE ELITE 24 the new ‘go to’ pack for those who like to travel fast and light in the mountains without compromising on carrying capacity.

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The front of the pack is the revelation!

inov-8 have taken the ‘vest’ from the Race Ultra Vest and added it to the RACE ELITE 24 potentially making it one of the most form fitting and comfortable 20+L packs on the market. Pretty much all brands now incorporate a vest or vest like system when designing new packs. Why? Well, it works, pure and simple. The design is more comfortable, it distributes the weight of the packs contents and it adds additional storage.

IN USE

Joe Grant running with RACE ELITE 24 ©inov8

Joe Grant running with RACE ELITE 24 ©inov8

The main compartment of the pack is split down the middle with a zip that has two zipper pulls. When open, you have a wide-open space to add contents. The pack has no dividers, pockets or clutter. So, add your kit, zip it up and off you go. This design is particularly good as it provides immediate access to all contents. It’s possible to divide contents in waterproof dry bags or plastic bags and therefore ease of use is a real plus. If you are using the pack with less contents, then all the weight will go to the bottom of the pack. Excess fabric and space can be removed by tightening the adjustable bungee. The pack is long and for me, this may well be a stumbling block for some users. This has nothing to do with a person’s height but torso length. If you have a short torso, the RACE ELITE 24 may well be too long for you? I understand why inov-8 has made the pack the length it is. If you are doing a mountain marathon, you will be carrying a tent and therefore the tent poles will need to fit inside. I guess it may be possible to attach poles to the outer but in my opinion it wouldn’t be ideal.

The front of the pack as mentioned has the vest fitting system with an upper and lower chest strap to retain the pack in place. There are also upper and lower side straps that provide fine tune adjustment so that you can have the pack as tight or as loose as you require against your torso. This system is particularly useful, as it will allow you to wear additional layers and still have the pack fitting. A whistle is provided and the left side mirrors the right with an upper larger stretch pocket, a smaller stretch pocket and then a large zipped pocket. The large zipped pocket will take inov-8 500ml soft flasks with extended straws so that you can drink without having to remove the bottles. The straws fit through an upper and lower elastic loop on either side of the pack.

The multiple front packets provide immediate access to anything I needed whilst running. I had a phone, camera, bars, gels, keys, compass and money all at hand. Perfect. The front zipper pockets add extra security if not used for the soft flasks.

The soft flasks with extended straws are a revelation and make ‘on the go’ drinking a breeze. It also makes refilling very easy.

Fabrics are light and breathable as the original. Of course with any vest, you are going to get a hot spot on your back. You can’t avoid that with this style of product.

The front fastening system has also changed from the original. This pack no longer uses the small quick release system that some found fiddly on the previous vest. Now it has 2-fixed straps, upper and lower and both use the classic male/ female quick release fastening system that is much easier to open and close should you be wearing gloves.

You can attach poles to the rear. I tried but didn’t find this to be a good option for me. More often than not, the new folding poles such as Black Diamond or Leki are shorter in length. This makes fastening more awkward and problematic. To resolve this, I attached two adjustable bungees to the shoulder straps and I store my poles folded across my chest; works for me and makes storing and access to the poles easier. It’s a personal thing. However, you can hold an ice axe on the rear of the pack and as mentioned previously, this will be a huge plus for many!

I personally would like inov-8 to design a front pack that could be added as an optional extra. Front packs are a little like Marmite; some love them, some hate them! For me a front pack can often balance the weight of the rear and provide some equilibrium. It also means that you have additional on hand storage for essential items. Looking at the bigger picture, with some tweaks in the design, the RACE ELITE 24 may well be a great pack for multi-day self-sufficient races such as Marathon des Sables.

inov-8 athlete Joe Grant has been using the RACE ELITE 24 during the winter and recently said,

‘I started testing the Race Elite 24 pack last winter, mainly for running and some winter climbing. For these activities, I needed a pack that would be runnable, stable and light, but still able to hold a decent amount of gear.’

 

‘Again, the vest system worked really well at keeping the load stable and allowing me to run on sections of trail that I’d typically have to hike with a conventional style pack. I’d carry a camera, water and food up front for quick access.’

Conclusion

If you are racing long distances, heading to the mountains, fast packing or racing a mountain marathon, the RACE ELITE 24 is without doubt worth checking out. The pack really embraces fast and light with minimal clutter. If you are looking for bells, whistles and multiple pockets in the main compartment, then this pack is not for you. If you like a pack that can hold plenty of kit: clothes, jacket, waterproof trousers, sleeping bag, tent, cooking equipment and food in a space that is easy accessed. Then the RACE ELITE 24 is for you.

The vest fitting system is a revelation for a pack of this size. The multiple pockets provide storage and access for on the go items such as food, gels, camera, phone and the two 500ml soft flasks provide easy on the go hydration.

Recommended!

Pros:

  • Simple design.
  • Very light.
  • Vest fitting.
  • Adjustable bungee.
  • Easy access to main compartment.
  • Soft flasks with straws.
  • Ice axe compatible.

Cons:

  • May be too long for some?
  • Only capacity for 1L of water unless you add a bladder to main compartment.
  • Main compartment has no structure, which may be an issue for some?

Product weight 330g

Price TBC

Availability TBC

Check out inov-8 HERE

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ Howgills 2015 – Race Preview

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ is the only overnight winter mountain marathon and the 3rd edition of the race will take place on Saturday 24th January in the Howgills.

The Howgill Fells are hills in Northern England between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The fells are bounded by the River Lune to the north by upper reaches of the River Lune and to the east by the River Rawthey. The Howgill Fells include two Marilyns: The Calf – 2,218 ft (676 m) and Yarlside – 2,096 ft (639 m) and a number of smaller peaks, including five Hewitts. Parts of the southern Howgill Fells lie within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, though they have been within the modern county of Cumbria since the county boundary changes in 1974. They were originally shared by the West Riding of Yorkshire and WestmorlandThe name Howgill derives from the Old Norse word haugr meaning a hill or barrow, plus gil meaning a narrow valley. – wikepedia

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This year’s elite course is a tough one, with a potential 3000m of elevation gain and an optimum distance of 53km. Famous for their steep rounded hills, the Howgills will be a tough challenge. Having viewed weather forecasts the organisers have issued a stern warning to all the competitors about the challenging nature of the terrain and event.

Needless to say, mandatory kit will be checked prior to the event.

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ is a true test of mountain craft for experienced mountain runners. Challenging terrain, night navigation and a wintery environment will test each runner over the variety of courses available: Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score.

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“Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new… darker twist.” said Race Director, Shane Ohly. “Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one winter’s night!”

Steve Birkinshaw

Three of the UK’s leading teams are of particular interest in the 2015 event: Steve Birkinshaw and Jim Mann, Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom and Kim Collison and Adam Perry.

Kim Collison at Mourne Skyline MTR

Kim Collison at Mourne Skyline MTR

Runners will start to race at 1900-hours and  Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom will be first off! The dynamic duo have won practically every elite mountain marathon and they have held various long distance mountain running records. In 2014, Near and Higginbottom missed the race due to last minute illness, they will be looking for victory in 2015.

Steve Birkinshaw needs no introduction. His incredible Wainwrights record in 2014 was a highlight of the year for many a trail, mountain, fell and ultra runner. Steve’s partnership with Jim Mann is fitting as Mann holds the record for the winter Bob Graham Round. Birkinshaw won the 2014 event when partnered with Tom Gibbs, so the pressure will be on! Birkinshaw and Mann start at 2000-hours chasing the other runners down.

Kim Collison and Adam Perry will be a tough pair to beat and setting off at 1940-hours. Collison won the first Marmot Dark Mountains in 2013 (running with Alex Pilkington) and finished the 98km Fellsman with Perry in first place last year. The duo are evenly matched and are considered favourites by many!

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Offering a range courses to suit a range of abilities, every year there has been a small but steady increase in the number of participants.

“The event kicks-off on the Saturday evening with the longest classes setting off first for dusk-to-dawn racing. The shorter classes will set off later in the evening with the aim of most competitors finishing within an hour or so of each other the following Sunday morning. This makes for an exciting finale as all the courses and most of the competitors converge on the finish as dawn breaks.”

There are four linear courses that follow the standard Elite, A, B and C format of ordinary mountain marathons and two score format courses.

This year there will be two manned checkpoints in the Howgills that competitors on the various courses may visit and the organisers intend to post updates to the event website as the night of racing unfolds.

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Follow the race at Ourea Events HERE

Marmot Dark Mountains HERE

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Rab Mountain Marathon 2014

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Over 500 runners assembled in the English Lakes for 2-days of Mountain Marathon action in what turned out to be two great days.

Although the sun only penetrated the thick cloud a couple of times, the weather was dry and as per usual, the Lakes provided a perfect backdrop to two tough days.

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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A score event (long and short), participants competed in solo or teams of two and as one would expect, the mix of ability was wide. One of the appeals of the RMM.

A rolling start on both days, 8:30 to 10:30 on Saturday and 07:00 to 09:00 on Sunday avoided snakes of runners and thus ensured everyone had to hone their ‘nav’ skills in finding the appropriate controls.

One thing that was great to see on both days, was huge smiles and a real enjoyment of the event irrespective of ability or speed.

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Day 1 provided a couple of very obvious controls relatively close to camp 1 to start and then there field of 500 spread over a wide area. The faster runners covering quite some ground to gain maximum points and by contrast, the walkers took a more direct line and less controls to camp 2.

Starting just west of the A6, day 1 went as far north as Mardale Head and Blea Water and west of Stony Cove Pike. In the south, the faster runners could venture below the River Kent.

Stewart Bellamy (300 points) was the stand out solo competitor and Andrew Stirk/ Adam Higgins (290 points) were the leading team of two after day 1 in the long course. Jackie Scarf and Phil Scarf had a 20 point lead in the short score (235 points) and Luke Gordon (210 points) was the leading solo.

©iancorless.com_RabMM14_-2915A strong wind blowing from the south potentially was going to make overnight camp interesting. However, with all runners back the wind suddenly dropped making the evening a calm, still and very warm night.

An early start had participants departing in two start windows, 0700-0800 and 0800-0900. With the exception of just a few, nearly all participants headed south before then heading east and making the way back to day 1 start camp.

A corridor of controls made this section of the course busy with runners coming from all directions as they tried to take accumulate as many points as possible.

Tough terrain and warm temperatures made day 2 all about covering ground fast as controls were much closer together and therefore points were really up for grabs. Steve Bellamy once again lead the way with 240 points with Daniel Gooch and Jon Moulding both raised their individual games with 245 and 240 points respectively. Two man team Andrew Stirk/ Andrew Higgins looked to be moving fast all day but finished 4th with 235 points. However, Stirk/Higgins still held on to 2nd overall behind Steve Bellamy and Daniel Gooch placed 3rd.

Short score competitors had a shake around on day 2 with day 1 leaders, Jackie & Phil Scarf placing 2nd behind Steve Wilson and Peter Stobbs. Patrick Butlin finished 3rd ahead of day 1 2nd place, Luke Gordon. However, the overall results remained unchanged with Team Scarf 1st (425 points), Luke Gordon 2nd (390) and Tim Martland (360) 3rd.

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Shane Ohly as race director and the Ourea Events Team bring slick organisation to difficult terrain and along with the course planning skills of Charlie Sproson, these events are a must do on the calendar. It’s been a busy year for the team, it all started in January with Marmot Dark Mountains. The Rab Mountain Marathon concludes 2014 but already plans are in motion for 2015 and remember, it’s a Dragons Back year! Arguably one of the toughest challenges in the UK

Results are HERE

Ourea events HERE

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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Rab Mountain Marathon 2014 Preview

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The 8th Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be held on the 27th and 28th September 2014. The Rab Mountain Marathon™ is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for solos and pairs with an overnight camp.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon kicks off this weekend at 0830. Two days of navigation and running will unfold in the English Lakes using the popular score format.

Now in it’s 8th year, the Rab Mountain Marathon has become an iconic race that has visited many stunning locations, the Cheviot Hills, Derwent Fells, Snowdonia, Howgills and this year it once again returns to the English Lakes.

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Taking on challenging mountain terrain, participants need to be competent and confident at moving fast over tough terrain. As usual, the is the UK and runners will need to be prepared for the worst despite a recent spell of really good weather in the UK.

As one would expect, the Rab Mountain Marathon will take place over rough, steep and technical mountain terrain. Many sections of the course will be isolated and if bad weather comes in, everyone needs to be prepared.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5731GL3D_Day1The race format is ‘score’ as this tests navigation skills and avoids snakes of runners going from point-to-point. A rolling start window of 2-hours will spread the runners out and electronic timing is used to track the runners. As normal, different class options are available (including walking) and it’s possible to participate as a solo or team of two.

It’s hard to highlight some standout competitors for 2014. If I were to place a bet on the top Long Score competitors it would be between Adam Stirk and Andrew Higgins (who are a pair) and Stewart Bellamy (solo). Adam and Andrew finished 3rd last year behind Steve Birkinshaw (1st in 2013) and Alex Pilkington (2nd in 2013) both of whom are not taking part this year. They were also 2nd at the Highlander in 2013.

Stewart Bellamy is a strong runner and whilst he may not have featured in the results of recent mountain marathons, he did win the GL3D in 2013.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon’s approach is designed to be relaxed and less formal and structured than that of the OMM, which will take place next month.

Shane Ohly, race director for Ourea Events says, ‘But hey the Rab isn’t really about the elite runners and there is some super generous support from Rab who are providing vouchers to the value of about £10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd across a huge range of categories. Check them out here: HERE

At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors can view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out of bounds areas, map corrections etcetera. The event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.

So there you have it… two days of navigational fun in the English Lakes. It’s possible to follow a live stream HERE and a free APP has been created. Details HERE

Apps can be downloaded here:

iOShttp://bit.ly/1wwcbDKAndroidhttp://bit.ly/1AUZNhj

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Race Website HERE

Rab Apparel HERE

Rab Twitter HERE

Marmot24 2014 – Race Images and Summary

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Full image gallery available HERE

The inaugural Marmot24 took place over the weekend of August 2nd and 3rd. The UK’s first 24-hour mountain marathon. What an epic race it turned out to be!

The tough and challenging Lakeland terrain tested each and every participant to the limit. Using a score format (all controls had the same points) participants had the potential to visit and accumulate points from 54-controls spread over an area of 300 square km’s. Needless to say, the potential for any 2-man (or woman or mixed) team to gain a 100% score was almost impossible. However, several teams excelled in the tough conditions.

©iancorless.com_IMG_0173Marmot24_2014_50-teams took on the challenge of the 24, 12 or 6-hour format with respective start times of midday Saturday the 2nd August, midnight 2nd August or 0600 3rd August. It was ironic that after weeks, no months, of the most perfect UK weather, the change came on the morning of the race and conditions for all events were ‘challenging.’

24-hour competitors registered at 0900 and therefore had several hours of prep time before the midday start.

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It was needed! With 54-controls and such a potentially large area to cover, this race was always not only going to be about fitness but also about navigation.

Race HQ was just off the A66 between Penrith and Kendal and this therefore offered race director, Shane Ohly (Ourea Events) and Charlie Sproson (Course Planner) the opportunity to go north and south of the A66 and use the HQ as a hub for both directions.

Route planning was so varied; some teams would start south, others in the north. Clockwise or anti-clockwise. The route options were endless and thus tracking and following of the event was very much a lottery.

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One consensus for many appeared to be the potential to spend 10-12 hours on the fells, call in the HQ for food, maybe some sleep and a change of clothes and then head back out. Most teams took this option and at the finish, the only teams not to use this strategy ended up taking the 1st and 2nd places.

At the stroke of midday, runners departed to the fells and dispersed like ants being chased.

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Rain had been falling for hours and continued at varying strengths for the duration of the event. In the evening a wonderful dry patch of weather arrived and showed the Lakes in all it’s glory… many runners said post race that it was worth being wet for so long for the display that the heavens provided that evening.

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Teams had travelled from all over the UK, France and Spain to participate in this new and ground breaking event. Post race, they all concurred that the terrain and the difficult conditions had provided them all with an ultimate test. Bogs, marshes, bracken and ferns were a new experience to the ‘Europeans’ and it was clear to see the impact. Top Spanish competitor, Mònica Aguilera post race discussed her frustration about the terrain and how difficult it was at times. ‘It was so hard, so difficult and so slow,’ she said, ‘local knowledge would certainly have been a help; on the map we thought this section (south west corner of the course) would be fast and runnable. However, it was very tough and very slow… it took us hours.’

Mònica Aguilera heading north with her teammate, Marc Raflos.

Mònica Aguilera heading north with her teammate, Marc Raflos.

Ultimately, local knowledge did prove a great help for Kenny Leitch and Keith Masson, they accumulated an impressive 380-controls but did not take top honours! Proving that local knowledge and great navigation (along with excellent fitness) is the key to a successful race, the Spanish team of Aurelio Antonio Oilvar and Angel Garcia topped the podium with 39-controls. This score was considered by all competitors and staff as quite remarkable under the tough and extreme conditions.

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In addition to the main event of 24-hours, a 12-hour and 6-hour option was provided. Certainly, starting at midnight (for the 12-hour) and heading off into the cold, dark and very wet night would not be a challenge that many would embrace. However, each and every runner looked excited at the prospect.

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From midnight the weather slowly became worse and all runners had to endure prolonged downpours and on the tops, strong winds. Adding navigation to the mix did make the whole experience a tough challenge.

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Sam Jenner and James Langstraat topped the 12-hour podium with 10-controls beating Tarni Duhre and Andrew Campbell into 2nd by just 1-control.

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As participants recovered with a bowl of hot chilli post race, one thing became apparent; he combination of tough Lakeland terrain, variable weather and 54-contols set the Marmot24 apart from other events and it’s a format that was welcomed. Roll on 2015!

Results:

24-Hour

  • Aurellio Antonio Olivar/ Angel Garcia – 390 points
  • Kenny Leitch/ Keith Masson – 380 points
  • Anthony Emmet/ Catriona Sutherland – 280 points

12-Hour

  • Sam Jenner/ James Langstraat – 100 points
  • Tarni Duhre/ Andrew Campbell – 90 points
  • Alice Lamont/ Andrew Jones  – 60 points

6-Hour

  • Katir Francis/ Duncan Hedges

Links:

MARMOT24 WEBSITE HERE

RACE PHOTOGRAPHY HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Great Lakeland 3 Day™ – Day 1

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Days on the mountains and fells don’t get any better… May Day bank holiday, 200 competitors embracing a relaxed and casual approach to racing and 3-days on the iconic Lakeland fells and mountains.

 

Shane Ohly, race director for the GL3D ™ provides a selection of courses to suit every runner’s ability or competitive edge – Elite, A, B or the newly introduced C class for walkers. In conjunction with great planning and organization, a friendly atmosphere and believe it or not, good weather, day-1 proved to be an incredible start for the 2014 edition.

In the best traditions of the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon, the competitors were promised a surprise on the first morning. Race Director, Shane Ohly explained, ‘The LAMM has a deserved reputation for surprising competitors on the first day with an unexpected change of venue or logistic and I wanted to embrace this idea for the GL3D™.’

The day kicked off with a steamer cruise across Ullswater from the race HQ at Pooley Bridge to Howtown and then a rolling start as runners ‘dibbed-in’ to commence the day.

Although very few glimpses of sun were sighted, the whole day remained dry and calm with constant cloud. Each and every participant stated, ‘Perfect running conditions.’

Despite the relaxed atmosphere the Great Lakeland 3Day™ remains a formidable challenge with the Elite runners covering 46.2km on day-1, the A class, 40km, B class, 31.3km and the new C course 24.1km.

It was grand tour of some of the best Lakeland ridges, summits and valleys with an optimal altitude gain of 1,183m for the C-class and 2,738m for the Elites. The A and B courses had 2,373 and 1,590m respectively.

A huge slice of cake, unlimited tea or coffee and of course the famous (or infamous) free beer or cider ensured that the aches and pains of a first tough day in the mountains would soon be forgotten.

Results:

Elite – 46.2km

Jim Mallin 5:19:56

Tim Laney 5:57:54

Chris Warner 5:58:12

 

1st lady – Kerstin Rosenqvist 6:44:44

A – 40k

Simon Harper 5:14:42

Jim Trueman 5:49:48

Adrian Chewter 5:50:50

 

1st lady – Sally Ann Spencer 6:27:18

B – 31.3k

Eddy Charlton-Weedy 3:31:20

Alexander Beaven 4:04:23

David Neill 4:21:05

 

1st lady – Christine Waller 4:44:49

C – 24.1k

Stephen Burt 4:03:42

Jaqueline Cooper 5:07:03

Martin & Nicola Kirkman 5:39:20

Ourea Events HERE

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Great Lakeland 3 Day™ HERE

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Great Lakeland 3Day™ Preview

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Relaxed, friendly and an amazing mountain experience, the GL3D™ has built quite a reputation! With an emphasis on long mountain journeys and spectacular scenery, participants can expect a really excellent 3-days without complex navigation.

Image ©andrewburton

Image ©andrewburton

Trails, footpaths, ridges and valleys make up this idyllic journey through arguably one of the greatest playgrounds in the world; the English Lakes. Event HQ is at the North Eastern tip of Ullswater at the quintessential village of Pooley Bridge.

Taking place on the 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2014, the GL3D™ is a small but adventurous mountain marathon. Attracting runners and long-distance walkers, the race is renowned for its atmosphere. So much so, it has gained a reputation as one of ‘the’ events to do!

Image ©simoncaldwell

Image ©simoncaldwell

Three long and consecutive days in the mountains have built a dedicated following from competitors who are able to choose an Elite, A, B or C course. However, a unique element is the ability to choose whichever course they prefer on each day. This mix-n-match approach certainly does offer a unique format, however, should you choose all Elite or all A, B or C that is no problem, the choice is yours.

Sharing an overnight camp, the inclusion of a ‘beer tent’ certainly seems extremely popular. As you can gather, this is all about fun days on the trails. The inclusion in 2014 of the C class confirms this. Specifically aimed at walkers and slower runners.

Image ©andrewburton

Image ©andrewburton

Courses are triangular, allowing everyone to start and finish at the same location. The GL3D™ is all about maximum enjoyment. However, each participant should be competent in the mountains whether running or walking and an ability to navigate is essential. You must be self-sufficient!

Although some competitors race, many solo participants form groups to share a day in the hills. No prizes are awarded, just a slap on the back and a nod of respect from your peers.

Flexible start times between 0700-0900 (faster participants start later) reflect the relaxed nature of the event and if cramming a few extra zzz’s in your sleeping bag doesn’t tempt you, I am sure the ‘free’ tea, cakes and beer at the end of each day will.

Tempted? I bet you are…

 supported by

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Race website – http://www.greatlakeland3day.com

Entry – http://www.greatlakeland3day.com/enter/

 

The nitty-gritty

Competitors must register before starting and they can only do this on the evening of Friday 2nd May (between 1800-2200) or on the morning of Saturday 3rd (between 0600-0700). Competitors can only register at the Event Centre. At registration competitors will be issued with their map, which is pre-printed with checkpoints and control descriptions (for all courses), and their SI card. We recommend arriving on the Friday night so that everyone has an opportunity to relax, meet fellow participants and discuss the following day’s route. The night before the GL3D™ the atmosphere is always good and many competitors sneak off to a local pub for an informal gathering. Camping is available on the Friday night and this is included in the entry fee.

Competitors may also park their car at the Event Centre for the weekend at their own risk. The competitor’s beer tent will also be erected on the Friday night but GL3D™ beer is only served on the Saturday and Sunday evenings! 

 Our courses are described as Elite, A, B and C, as is usual for mountain marathons. However, it is important to note that the distances at the GL3D™ are greater. This is because our routes are more runnable (we stick to footpaths and tracks for much of the time) and the navigation is easier (generally mountain summits) than at the equivalent mountain marathon courses at the LAMM, OMM etc. We would describe our courses as roughly equivalent in terms of ‘difficulty to finish’ as the same standard mountain marathon course at one of these events. The approximate course details are:

Course Average Distance Average Time Number of Checkpoints
Elite 30 miles per day 9 hours 9
A 25 miles per day 8 hours 8
B 20 miles per day 7 hours 7
C 15 miles per day ? 1

Elite, A and B Course
These courses are definitely for runners and it is not possible for walkers to complete these courses within the cut-off times. Competitors must have finished an equivalent mountain marathon course within 50% of the winner’s time for the course that they are entering. Any competitor who is slower than 50% of the winner’s time and/or arrives at the overnight camp after the cut-off time will automatically be moved onto a shorter course for the following day.

C Course
The GL3D™ has always attracted long distance walkers but other than the most able, they have generally struggled with the long distances and significant height gain each year. Because of this, for the 2014 event we are introducing a C course (already coined the Café Class by the planning team), which will be specifically aimed at walkers or slower runners and will only have one checkpoint per day to allow competitors maximum route choice between the overnight camps… and time to visit the very best Lake District cafés!

The choice of four different courses means that competitors can choose from either an Elite, A, B or C Course. The really exciting component of the GL3D™ is that competitors simply enter the event, and then choose whichever course they prefer on the day. This could either be Elite for all three days, Elite, B then A or any ‘mix-and-match’ combination. All competitors will still share the same overnight camp.

To appear in the overall results, competitors must complete the same course each day. Obviously, on a daily basis we will publish results for each course. 

Each day competitors start anytime between 0700 and 0900 (please note that there is a 0715 Mass Start for competitors on Day 1 in 2014) and should expect to spend a long day in the hills. The first two days will be the hardest and the last day will be easier. We anticipate that everyone would have finished by 1500 on day three. 

The course will be roughly triangular with a different overnight camp each night. We will provide free tea/coffee, cakes and beer at the end of day one and two and a large, tasty meal at the end of day three.

The competitors ‘beer tent’ – a popular addition to the 2013 GL3D™- will be available at each overnight camp and can used by competitors to hangout in, cook meals in etc.