The heavens opened the day before the Marmot Dark Mountains and the promise of a snowy course disappeared with each rain drop.
In many respects it was a shame. Many, including me, was excited by the prospect of a night time race with cold chilly temperatures, a clear sky and a layer of the white stuff. However, it was not to be!
More importantly, the 2015 Marmot Dark Mountains took place with no rain… yes, no rain! Conditions were less than perfect though. The ground was sodden with the previous days torrential rain and melted snow and although the evening started relatively calm the wind increased hour-by-hour and by the early hours of the morning, the wind and wind chill was having an impact on everyone.
Taking place in the Howgills, runners started to race at 1900-hours with elite duo Alex Pilkington and Tim Higginbottom first off! Kim Collison and Adam Perry departed at1940-hours and it was immediately apparent that they were on a mission!. Completing the top trio, Steve Birkinshaw partnered with Jim Mann and they departed at 2000-hours chasing the other runners down.
What followed was a masterclass of navigation and speedy running from Collison and Perry. They blazed a trail around the Howgills and the ‘projected’ best case scenario finish time of 11-hours was blown out the fells when the finish line dibber confirmed a time of 8-hours and 34-minutes. Quite incredible.
Higginbottom and Pilkington had had some problems early on finding a control. Equally, Birkinshaw and Mann had also had a problem. However, Birkinshaw said after the race that his form was just not up to running at the required pace. Hardly surprising after his Wainwrights record.
There were four linear courses that follow the standard Elite, A, B and C format of ordinary mountain marathons and two score format courses. Feedback post race was excellent and a dry night on the fells was extremely welcome.
Results below are provisional and will be confirmed by Ourea Events asap.
1st Kim Collison / Adam Perry 08:34:54
2nd Steve Birkinshaw / Jim Mann 10:41:46
1st and 1st Mix Catherine Litherland / Ross Litherland 09:49:54
2nd Andy Thompson / Rob Brown 10:10:35
3rd Chris Baynham-Hughes / Max Wainwright 10:51:05
1st Women and 4th Steph Jones / Sally Ozanne 11:26:51
1st and 1st Vet Bryan Stadden / Andy Creber 09:15:33
2nd and 2nd Vet Tim Martland / Jim Allen 09:51.35
3rd Jamie Rennie / David Rennie 10:02:02
1st Greg Weatherhead / Kevin Drew 07:55:21
2nd James Parratt / Neil Garrido 09:21:14
3rd and 1st Mix Emma Van Der Gucht / James Pawson 09:34:30
1st David Adcock / Ben Turner 404 in 10:00:33
2nd and 1st Mix Digby Harris / Kirsty Hewitson 295 in 09:55:28
3rd and 1st Female Jo Gillyon / Catherine Evans
4th and 1st Vet Simon Caldwell / Carmen Elphick
1st, 1st Mix, 1st Vet Jonathan Aylward / Kate Boobyer 235 in 07:38:37
2nd and 2nd Mix Scott Collier / Anne Edwards 235 in 07:42:15
3rd Darryl Watton and Andy Bell
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 Westmorland. The name Howgill derives from the Old Norse word haugr meaning a hill or barrow, plus gil meaning a narrow valley. – wikepedia