This September saw the 3rd annual Rab Mountain Marathon, this year staged in the Howgill fells, just north of Sedbergh. It had a slightly different format from most other Mountain Marathons (such as the KIMM and LAMM) as it was a score event rather than a set course. With 6 hours competition time on day one and 5 hours on day two, the competitors had to visit as many checkpoints as possible to gain as many points as possible. Depending on location, some checkpoints were worth more than others, with a maximum of 40 points.
Timing and route choice would be as essential as fitness if you were going to stand a chance of finishing in the upper ranks, especially as points were deducted for coming in over the time limit (over 30 minutes late and you loose all your points!). With this challenge in mind, Bryan (our resident racing snake) decided to give the challenge a go, here is his experience.
Going into the event, I was aware that this was the first time that I had competed in a MM in the solo category. This would make it a bit harder than normal as I'd have to carry all equipment on my own. The weather on the first day however was perfect, the good visibility making navigation easier. After a few hard decisions on route choice, which thankfully paid off, I finished day 1 in 6 hours and 2 minutes. Unfortunately, that did mean that I lost 2 points for being over time but I was please with my progress and was happy that I had made full use of my time.
Packing my Hilleberg Akto Tent up at 7.30, there was a thick mist in the valley below Cautley Spout where we camped. 40 minutes into the race however, the mist had burnt of nicely and my legs felt strong, so I was feeling good. I therefore opted for some of the more high scoring checkpoints, which were located on the north side of the Howgills. The decision paid off and, after being paranoid about being late and losing more points, I made it back to the finish with 30 minutes to spare.
Overall I ended up in 4th position, a great result for my first points event, and so I will be back next year to compete in the elite category.
Some other Kit Bryan Used: Golite Jam Pack, OMM Kamleika Jacket, Montane Featherlite Pants, MSR Pocket Rocket Stove.