This event has been on my radar for a few years now, after having failed to make the start line a few years ago due to injury, and it’s taken me about 18 months post hip surgery to be confident enough to take something like this on. It’s been fascinating to hear stories from previous years about the challenging conditions that only a night mountain marathon in the depths of winter is sure to bring, so hopefully you’ll find this one interesting too.
I was joined by fellow Roundhay Runner and ultra-running legend Pete Wilkie. We had entered the Long Score class, which gave us 10 hours to find as many checkpoints as possible, starting at 9pm on Saturday night. Not really knowing how either of us would hold up over the distance and not having raced together before, we agreed that the night would be a success if we nailed the navigation and kept moving as consistently as possible throughout.
I’ll spare you a long essay about the full night and instead I thought I’d provide you with a five line summary and an annotated map of our route.
- Jogged up a road
- Slogged up a hill, contoured through some heather, descended through some heather, disappeared into a stream, slogged into the wind. Repeat
- Put on a warmer layer and some waterproof trousers
- Repeat step 2
- Ran down a road a bit more quickly
(If you click on the map, you should be able to see it in high res in a new window)
Finishing with just 5 seconds to spare at around 7am, we ate a very welcome cooked breakfast and had a bit of a nap. As the sun rose and the finishers from most of the linear courses came in it was finally time for prize giving. With the top runners battling it out on Elite, we were happy to sneak into first place in the Long Score. Huge congratulations to anyone that made it round any course!
Thanks to Shane and team for hosting the Marmot Dark Mountains. We’ll be back.