This weekend Anthony Hemmings and I competed in the A class at the OMM in Glentrool. Neither of us had run a navigational race before so went in with no real expectations – after various injuries I’d just be happy to finish ONE race in 2016! Saturday began with a 50 minute damp walk to the starting line before getting our maps, dibbing our dibber and heading into the hills.
Conditions were challenging but we both felt that it wouldn’t be a true “OMM experience” unless we had to navigate through clag. Our route choice took us right over the Range of the Awful Hand (definitely one of the finest names for a group of hills) via The Merrick before traversing the Dungeon Hills and a few more lumps before some fun, fast descending through forestry and a sneaky final checkpoint hidden behind a knoll just a few hundred meters from the finish line. We made a few navigational errors along the way but managed to dib all the checkpoints and get to the overnight camp in about 7 hours and 40 minutes in 9th place for the day.
The overnight camp was an experience – the weather had left us damp and muddy and trying to find the optimal combination of clothing and sleeping gear to stay warm and dry wasn’t easy! We ate plenty of food and spent about 12 hours in the tent and sleeping bags getting a decent amount of rest and recovery before day two.
Sunday morning was dry and bright and the cloud had lifted enough to allow for easier navigation – or so we hoped. The checkpoints were scattered over the Minnigaff Hills to the South of Loch Trool which had a different feel to the hills of the previous day. The combination of easier terrain and better weather made for a faster paced day and we found all the lower level checkpoints without much bother. A few checkpoints on higher ground were still shrouded in cloud and took a bit more work to find but our nav skills had definitely improved from day one! We had hoped our good day may improve our position but it seems that everyone else had a good day too and we just managed to retain our 9th place for the combined two days.
All-in-all I was happy to have just finished a race this year and was glad it was such an interesting one. For a first mountain marathon I’m pretty happy with the result and look forward to racing similar events in the future!
A report on the grough website