The 35th Mourne Mountain Marathon (http://mourne2day.com/) was made all the more special this year with an Official Visit from the President of Carnethy HRC who teamed up with the Lady Captain to take part in the event. The President’s subject in Ireland was delighted to act as host, chauffeur and logistical organiser for the visit, however, felt that providing security services as well may have been spreading himself a little thinly and recruited Alex to take care of crowd control during the Presidential Pair’s public engagements. The Mourne Mountain Marathon is similar to other such events, differing in that it takes place in the same area every year. This year the event centre was at Killowen Outdoor Education Centre. The rules suggest you BYOM(ap) and updates to the Harvey’s map are provided in advance.
An early start on Saturday morning allowed myself and Alex several hours on the hill without seeing anybody else, in contrast to some busier mountain marathons. The morning humidity abated on the tops and the views were (apparently) great. I was pre-occupied trying to keep up and wondering what else I could offload from my bag into Alex’s and missed much of the view, besides that of the back of Alex’s head. I managed to keep four Kinder ® eggs hidden in my bag. These were intended as an offering to the Presidential Pair and, at 20g each, collectively weighed the three times Alex’s head torch. They did produce Wallace the Walrus, who has now become my 10g mascot. Pictures to follow.
Overnight chat was dominated by talk of sore calves and sore knees, but these were no match for paracetamol, ibuprofen and Balvenie and banter.
A cracking sunrise preceded an 8am mass start for each class, with an immediate route choice, with a cluster of 3 checkpoints in any order. Great views again, with a pretty cloud inversion lifted spirits and tired legs. As a return leg, it was busier and less isolated than the previous day, but still a fun day out. The descent from the penultimate checkpoint to the start of the run-in looked great on the map. The reality was the mother of all gorse-belts which left a ‘pins and needles’ feeling in everyone’s shins. More blackberries than could be good for anyone were eaten on the track back to the download, followed by a dip in the Carlingford Lough.
The weekend was rounded off with ice-cream and Guinness. A small, friendly and scenic mountain marathon. I am hopeful that it will become an annual trip and the Presidential entourage will grow to include more Carnethies in the future.