Dartmoor, a very long way from Scotland! Saturday morning started with blue skies and sunshine. We were the last pair to go (with only 50% Westie membership in this team) starting at 1140, still plenty of time to do 35 Km with 1200M of ascent before dark. The day began with nice running following a river upstream (well they weren’t going to start you at the top of a hill, were they?!), heading for the first of many Tors. The legs were long between checkpoints and the ground became uneven and we tried to jump between tussocks taking care not to damage the ankles. All was going according to plan except for an empty stomach thanks to the late start time – energy gels are not filling!!
As we were enjoying some nice running down hill between checkpoints 6 and 7, towards a burn, I hear what I think is a whistle. It was, a few hundred yards away, another runner was trying to get our attention, which he did. His partner was lying on the ground in a lot of pain with what looked like a broken ankle. Fortunately a pair of doctors arrived swiftly, albeit with only enough medical supplies to get through a kit check, but fortunately one of them had a mobile phone, a quick 999 call, grid reference passed and 40 minutes later the injured runner was in a helicopter high on pain relief. I’ve never carried a mobile phone on the OMM, but I might next year as it saved at least 30 minutes, which is a long time on a cold hillside.
After the excitement (and rest!!) it was on to checkpoint 7. Fortunately there was a marshal there who had seen the helicopter. It’s now beginning to get dark, so on to checkpoint 8. The darkness slowed us down as we double- checked all the navigation. Two tired runners clocked into mid-camp, in the rain, in the dark, only to find all the decent camping spots had gone. We thought of the number of times we’ve been sat in the mid-camp watching the head torches come off the hill (usually in the rain) and thought it didn’t look like much fun, this year it was us.
A brew or two later and it was time to crawl into a sleeping bag which provided about as much insulation as a crisp packet and off to sleep. It rained heavily overnight but I still slept well. We were too far south for the traditional piper to wake us up at 6am, but needless to say the organisers improvised and an air- horn managed to do the job!!
Day 2 started wet and rained all day. All went to plan, no navigation errors, a bit off the pace, but almost exactly a mid table finish based on the times of the day. Overall we finished a rather disappointing 101st. Thanks to Danny Harris for accompanying me on another OMM.
Where will next years event be?