LAMM Trials and Tribulations

Well it’s about time their was a ladies voice on the race write ups this year (although I’m sure there are many precedents that my sieve like brain has forgotten) but as a race report virgin I may be regretting this bold move.

However, JD, Keith, Lil and I set off up to the Spittal of Glenshee on Friday evening praying the glorious weather would last at least into Saturday so we could sample the unusual experience of a mountain marathon without wearing waterproofs! This was JD’s and Lil’s second wkend in a row to the area so drive up the A93 was all too familiar for them. I’d been jammy enough to book me & Lil into the Spittal Hotel Bunkhouse (after an irate Gustav, our old landlord from the Westies Wkend at Gulabin lodge, had put the phone down on me for ringing at the wrong time!?!) so we had the luxury of a bed and cooked breakfast before a leisurely start of 9:46am on the Saturday. JD & Keith had less fortune with an assembly time of 8:15 am to be transported to a secret starting location…….no surprise when it turned out to be Glenshee Ski Centre.

Day 1 started fine and sunny so the waterproofs were happily packed away and the emphasis turned to drinking as much water as possible before the start. We had an electronic start so the fact that the 30 minute walk as promised turned into 45 minutes wasn’t a problem as the clock starts when you dib your dibber (or sport ident for technophiles). We were given control descriptions for Day 1 and I tried to dismiss the 23.8 km and 1210m climb in bold letters from my mind as we started off……anyway the first few controls flew past no problem until we were approaching control 4 which was 150 metres beneath the summit of Glas Tulaichean – the trig was not the optimum route to number 5 but it was such a nice day I couldn’t resist…err Lil didn’t get much choice in the matter.

The same quandary came up between controls 5 and 6 as control 6 was right beneath Ben Iutharn Mhor so one route choice was up and over the munro and the alternative was to contour round with everyone else…. yep we went up and over and it was Lil’s second visit to this Munro in 7 days so very accommodating of Lil 😉 – we were surprised to find that this route was actually marked as the optimum on the summary maps at the end of day 1 and splits show our time as 15th fastest out of 158 so strangely bagging this munro aided our race time! I still don’t think Lil willl believe it was worth the uphill climb………

Then things started to go pear shaped for Lil – a turned ankle, a bloody fall and the final straw when her knees packed up meant a walking finish to Day 1….however all thoughts of retirement vanished after lots of ibuprofen and finding out we’d made the chasing start on Day 2! JD & Keith still had the energy to walk across the campsite and see us after their 8th place finish on the A course and check out our a la carte dinner. We’ll leave out the comments on our palatial tent. Luckily for me Lil had a strange and totally unfathomable aversion to chocolate that evening so I scoffed all the choc mini rolls and custard for desert.

Day 2 started overcast so the waterproofs were out the bag again but the weather brightened up in time for a shorts & t-shirt start. Unfortunately the over night rest and 800 grams of ibuprofen wasn’t enough for Lil’s knees which packed up on the steep descent to the first control so we decided to retire and took the most direct route of 15 km back to the finish.

JD & Keith had a good second day and moved up to 7th place overall in the A Class and seemed to finish with no injuries or scars apart from the usual physical exhaustion and battered feeling after two days of a mountain marathon..

Overall it was one my favourite mountain marathons to date due to the fantastic weather, location, very sociable mid-camp set in a stunning glen brittle and no midges. Thanks goes to my staunch partner, Lil, who put up a good fight returning from illness and in the face of adversity….we’ve got the measure of the other ladies teams and according to split times (for those where legs had no injuries or additional munros) we’ve got a few scalps to collect next year!!

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