Vomiting noodles & Mourne mountain marathon craic. 

This year Paddy and I entered C class as last year in B class we missed two clues and found the step up in navigation a bit tricky. We make a good team and once a year meet up in a car park for a run about the mountains looking for clues.

At the start line ready for the off
My pack was 5kg with 750ml water included. This gets lighter every year which makes a huge difference to how quickly I can run. We both took responsibility for the map reading and this year and it seemed to work as on day one we hit all early clues without too much ‘faffing’ about.
The all important marking of the maps, the mountain in the background was the warm up.
 Luckily the start point was Fofanny dam and I spend quite a bit of time around this part of the mountains so know the terrain quite well, this of course means a lot of racers do too.  After a lung busting warm up on the face of Meelbeg we picked up a couple of clues and were met with the first decision of which route to take. We stuck with the route we both knew best and dropped down to Ben Crom dam via the river and a much needed fill up of my water bottle.
It was hot hot hot out there!  I was trying to smile.
The heat was searing and although I had salt tablets with me I knew I was losing a lot of sweat as is usual for me.
The run down to Ben Crom dam.
After another few miles and a very senic route around Lamagan and up part of Binnian and we were heading up Moolive before dropping down to the campsite in Silent Valley.
This is round Binnian past the mining ‘stone’ village.
I had refilled my bottle three times and although I used a purification tablet the source wasn’t as high up as I would usually use.
Day one was hot but the visibility was perfect so we were happy with our performance. 12 miles with 3100ft of climb, 4.16 of a finish time and we were sitting in 7th place and 3rd mixed team which we were over the moon about.
Everyone busy eating and chatting about the days route choices.
Now the recovery happens and replacement of fluids and salts. Two ‘dyorolite’ and about 2l of water then dinner and a nap. After my nap I knew the noodles and peperami were making a second appearance. Off I went to a quiet area as far away from other tents as possible to projectile vomit the contents of my stomach. I was even sick on my trainers there was so much of it.  This seemed to help and I returned to bed hoping that it was the heat that make me sick not dodgy water I had drunk. I’d know for sure in the morning.
Morning has broken and the coffee is on!

Paddy doesn’t snore so I slept well and was raring to go in the morning,I felt good and put the vomit down to the heat.

Day two was similar to day one and the decision we made on Bernagh worked well for us given the bad visibility we played it safe climbing to the summit, taking a bearing and dropping down to the clue.  Given the conditions we opted to climb a little more but knew we would have more chance of finding the clue which we did pretty quickly.  Again I knew a good bit of the route so was able to hit several clues without a bearing.
The weather was closing in pretty quickly and we were keen to stay in the top 10 of our class so hammered on when we could.
After a drop between Luke’s mountain to some crags and a tricky clue we ran the easy route back to Tollymore centre where I knew a cup of coffee and sandwich awaited.  11.7 miles and 3300ft of climbing.
We ended up 10th in the C class 4th in the mixed and felt that given the conditions we made the right navigation decisions so were more than happy with the result.
Another brilliant two days in the hills and a fantastic event with great organising from the MMM team.  This really is my favourite race as you never really know where you will be.  I love it and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the hills as there is a level to suit all abilities.
My legs are tired and I seem to have hurt my ankle but can’t remember doing it.  Paddy and I will be back for our 3rd partnership next year hoping for similar weather and good result again!

Thanks for reading