Highlander Mountain Marathon
think you are going too far right Sam".
Andy could have stuck that phrase
on loop and played it through a
stereo to save himself the effort
of correcting our line once again,
but that would have meant extra
weight and when your main aim on
day 2 is damage limitation (i.e.
not letting Tim Higginbottom and
Chris Near beat you by quite a big
a margin as day 1) every micron
The Highlander was simply stunning. After much discussion we came to the conclusion
that it was at least twenty times better than last years OMM and up there with
the best of the LAMMs. Andy and I rocked up to Gairloch on Friday evening and
stayed with a friend before heading off on the 8am bus with the rest of A class.
We weren't long walking to the start when two identically clad rather strong
looking individuals jogged past us, clearly keen to get away first. They were,
of course, the winners (by some considerable margin) but we didn't let this
out psyche us and we continued our bimble to the start. The day 1 checkpoints
were in any order so we spent a few mins at the start marking them off and
conjuring up an optimal route for the first half of the race. After a quick
decision we were off and flying through short heather and over torridonian
sandstone slabs on what has to be some of the fastest MM ground I have run
We ran strong and with few navigational errors for the first three hours on
what we thought (and was later confirmed as) pretty much the optimal route
choice. As the high cloud slowly burned off in the morning sun it became hotter,
and hotter and (you guessed it) very hot indeed. I could tell there was a problem
when we simultaneously started to slow down around three and a half hours in
and I began hallucinating about water, clearly we were both dehydrated and
had not been drinking enough. Once we sorted this out (which was surprisingly
easy considering we crossed a burn every 20 paces) it was back to business
and we ticked off the second part of the course and flew down to the overnight
Having learned that we were some considerable time behind Tim and Chris the
race was on for second place. We knew Rob Brookes and Simon Peachy would be
strong and hot on our heels and just as were about to kick back and relax in
the marquee clapping from outside confirmed our fears. Simon and Rob were in
and only 6 mins behind us...
The afternoon and evening was spent sunbathing and getting banter with friends
and we finally drifted off to sleep at 11pm then the Ceilidh music died down.
Day two dawned bright and clear and were soon wolfing down porridge and packing
kit. It was going to be tough holding off Rob and Simon who would be fully
aware of who they were chasing and psyched to give us Carnethys a hiding.
At 7.58 we were off, some considerable time behind Tim and Chris. The first
two and a half hours were heads down trying to put in as much distance as we
could from the chasing pair of Cosmics, and I swear my neck is still sore from
watching our backs. The ground was a little slower than day one and the course
was concentrated in a smaller area and around smaller hills and features making
navigation a real test. Funnily enough we began flagging in the heat once again
but applied the same time tested solution as per day one to get us moving.
We picked off the checkpoints with minimal fuss thanks to some amazing navigation
from Andy and charged through the final section of the race to finish 2nd overall
in 10:04:17 which was, as you might imagine, some considerable time behind
Tim and Chris.
After a shower at the end in Gairloch
Academy we joined the rest of the
competitors on the playing field
to soak up the sun. We each won
an uber bling neutrally buoyant
in air Haglofs Jacket which probably
retail at £999.99. Having
won the Mixed A Jaquie and Mark Higgenbottom had to make do with £500
in Haglofs vouchers which we decided
might buy them a buff each. Joking
aside the Haglofs sponsorship has
secured this awesome event for a
few years to come and we were all
grateful to them for such awesome
So whats the plan next year ? Give Tim and Chris a run for their money. Hang
on though - just saw a pig fly past the window.
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