Highlander Mountain Marathon - 18/19 April 2009

Report by Sam Hesling

Two sun kissed days in and around the Affric hills and pine forests provided the perfect backdrop to the mountain marathon which threatens to top them all.

By ten pm on Saturday the ceilidh band were in full swing entertaining their lycra clad audience. I (and many others) soon forgot about aches and pains and joined in the dancing. The availability of that universally approved recovery substance found in bottles and cans lubricated things wonderfully. Endless banter was had in our marquee under a star studded sky.

Saturday had seen a cloudy start lift with pairs picking their way through the Affric foothills. A, B, C, D and score classes were out. Uniquely (I think) for a MM A had 8 checkpoints to be had in any order pairs cared for. Route choice was therefore made even more critical although unlike previous years there was no opportunity to miss out one of the orange and whites.

Sunday saw a few cold folk (with sore heads to boot) but frozen tents were quickly thawed and dried in the morning sun. To add an extra twist A had 2 fixed checkpoints, a choice of one of two bridge crossings followed by four checkpoints in any order. The final two were fixed and a three quarter mile slog on tarmac saw us back in Cannich village hall where well earned sunbathing was being had by all.

As usual the organisers and volunteers did a sterling job keeping competitors on the straight and narrow.

As for our performance... well we should just gloss this race over. Suffice to say we intend to better next year.

On a rather more critical note Hands on Events need more competitors to keep this unique event alive. Hence expect a lot of gentle prodding from me over the next year to entice some of you along. Without more teams the MM which boasts an overnight Ceilidh may be over before it has begun. You have been warned.

As much as I'd like to provide a proper techy report my ibuprofen and sun addled brain didn't have the record button on...

p.s. Just to add we are planning to return to the wilds of northern Sweden to get spanked in A class on the the Bjorkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon this August. If anyone else fancies it it drop me a line (samhesling at gmail dot com) as it would be good to increase the Scottish contingent (from 2).

Cheers for reading the report and look forward to my continued harassment to get you all up north this time next year !


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