We first address the important questions:
• Who? Three teams, originally containing five CUOC members but, as we don’t live in an injury-free utopia, this was unfortunately reduced to four. A team consists of two people, so two members of the extended CUOC family, finding themselves unable to dispute that 3 × 2 = 6 > 4, were recruited.
• What? The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon: a two-day race through the fells, camping overnight in the middle.
• Where? Unsurprisingly given the name, the Lake District. To be precise, Coniston. To be precise to a fault, BNG SD 293 984.
• When? Last weekend.
• Why? Still working on this one.
• How? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, preferably in the right direction. And don’t talk to any strange boulders.
Day one featured some pretty foul weather early on. Undeterred, the teams had: a ‘surprisingly reasonable’ run in which Adam revealed his adoration for Wrynose pass, a run that ‘actually went very well’ in which Sarah demonstrated that after 140 km by car, an extra 24 km of running is pretty straightforward, and an run that was ‘pretty good, considering the blisters’ in which I discovered that 5 km does not suffice to wear in a pair of fell shoes.
Day two told a pretty similar story, but with a bit less rain, even more wind, and a healthy dose of sleep deprivation – who could have predicted that a very cheap, moderately lightweight sleeping bag might not do the best job at insulation?
The results were solid. On Carrock Fell, Dom Dakin and Sarah Pedley finished 7th (and 4th mixed team) and Adam Harris and Duncan Harris finished 18th, and on Wansfell, James Fryers and I (Tom Fryers) finished first.
The moral was clear: if your navigational skills are strong, then you might do very well, but if you want to win, then it’s more effective to enter a short course with limited competition!
The careful chronologer will note, with considerable indignation, the disparity between the date of this article and that of Saunders itself. The even more careful chronologer will recall rule 551b: ‘if any Compeed hastily applied three kilometres into day one of a mountain marathon remains attached to the author, then articles written at that time regarding it are to be considered current.’