Last weekend James and myself embarked on our first mountain marathon, the LAMM 2014 which was based in Strathcarron in Wester Ross. As we were complete newcomers to the world of multi-day mountain orienteering events, we decided to enter the next category after the elite runners instead of a more sensible lower-grade option. Elite runners wear bandanas and headbands, they’re that good.
Anyway, they don’t tell you where it’s going to be till 2 days before so you can’t recce the area, and even then you obviously don’t get the route till you start the race. In this case, you didn’t even get it then, as they drove the Elite and A class to the top of the Bealach Na Ba on the way to Applecross and gave us another map which joined on to the first one just to make it harder.
You have to carry all the stuff you’ll need for 36 hours. It was slightly tough and we took almost ten hours the first day. No support, no drink stations, no nice folk handing out jelly babies, no bands at the side, nowt. On the plus side there were no tricky kerbs, slightly raised manhole covers or 10K chip timing mats to negotiate, and no kids banging plastic tubes at you. And the weather was great.
Once we clocked in to the midway camp we got the tent up, cooked some food and repaired to the tent to try and recover for the next day. The day started with a splendid rainbow and got out fine again. James and I decided to tackle an easier course (only 20K and 1000m height gain), especially as it was over 4 hours drive back to East Lothian afterwards. This went better than the first day and we finished just outside the top ten.
Anyway, a splendid time was had by all. The event was superbly organised, very friendly, and with a surprisingly wide mix of folk from greenhorns like us to seasoned vets. A few photos are included to give you a flavour of things. A club race next year no doubt.