Rather than publish an official report into the OMM in Langdale, I have decided to publish the letter I wrote to John Ryan after our race.
I am writing to offer my sincere thanks for being my OMM A Course partner at short notice last weekend.
I know that you had actually originally said no (twice*), that you were actually supposed to be in Ireland to visit your mum and watch your sister run her first marathon, that you had sworn “OMM no more”, and that the weather forecast was ‘alarming’. But, despite all these initial obstacles, you had a smile on your face when you picked me up at the airport. Thanks.
Now, about that: I know that I made you pick me up from the airport, I ate you out of house and home, I broke two of your sporks, I forgot my altimeter watch, my spare watch’s battery died, my compass developed a bubble then stopped working, my headtorch batteries died after 30 seconds, I stole two four of your nutrigrain bars, I said ‘Rad’ and ‘Stoked’ too often, you had to tell me what that wet stuff falling from the sky was, you had to explain what that blowy thing was that made the wet stuff hit my face horizontally, I forgot to pack the teabags, and I insisted on packing custard powder. Yet, despite all the continuing obstacles you still happily waited with me in your car at Hillend car park at 7am on Monday morning for Eoin to arrive, while I complained bitterly about the cold. Sorry.
That all said, I think that, on balance, we had a good time, right? Here were my highlights:
That first, steep, hands-on-knees climb on Saturday morning, where all my fond, hazy memories running a mountain marathon came back into sharp focus.
We got lost in the thick clag once or twice many times, but in general I was amazed by how well we managed to navigate around such thick fog for the entirety of Saturday.
All those times that you pointed me in the right direction when I was too cold to think.
Remember that time we failed to find that most complex of natural features: a road? Oops.
That tomato-souper-noodle-stock-cube-cous we had for dinner was pretty delicious.
Our romantic shared mars bar for dessert was a close second on the culinary front. Not custard. I forgot to pack it in the end.
Getting benighted on the first day, guaranteeing us a place in the the 90% of A course participants who failed to finish the course on Day 1. Yes, that is a highlight.
How getting your car stuck in mud on the way *in* to the car park on Saturday morning set the expectation for the weekend ahead.
Every minute of the Blue Sky Sunday (except where we made our nav error running to the finish line!)
Our debates about which parts of Mountain Marathons were type-1 and which were type-2 fun.
Your joy at the discovery of bubble wrap bedding.
I believe the Proclaimers sung it best:
‘I would fly 5000 miles and I would fly 5000 home, just to be the man who got mildly hypothermic, Brownian motioned his way around the claggy hills, missed a night’s sleep, and now can’t walk down the stairs to your door.’
If I were to get philosophical and sentimental about hill running and the community around it (as I am want to do these days, being outside it), I would say that it speaks volumes about the people in it that they find this stuff fun. Mad. Every last one of you us.
I can see you going to great heights in this running club. See you next year.
P.S. *Your friends and I do think you need to seek professional help about ‘No means No’!