Photos by members of CamRacers, James
R and R Photos
part of Team IPPON / Inov-8 at the World Adventure Race Championships
in Portugal over November 8-14th.
They are competing over a 900km course against a field of all the
top adventure race teams in the world. View their team
page to find out more about the team, reports and links to follow
the race in real time.
The 2009 Original Mountain
Marathon, the largest in the world, was held in the Elan Valley
in Wales. This was a new area for the OMM with areas of energy sapping
tussocks to make up for the lack of high peaks.
Russ paired up for the Elite class and Jeff found a late partner
of Edward in the A class. Adventure racers were well represented
and it was great to see so many friends during the event. After
a summer of good weather mountain marathons, the weather lived up
to it's usual OMM reputation. Rain showers and low cloud started
the day on Saturday. Showers were less frequent on the Sunday but
with a strengthening wind and a little sunshine.
Both pairs had a good saturday with Jeff /Edward coming in 8th
and Russ/Andy placed 17th as they made themselves comfortable at
the overnight camp. Sunday was a bit more runnable. Jeff/Edward
arrived in 7th place to be ranked 8th overall in the A class just
inside the prizes! Russ/Andy also had a good run placing 8th in
Sunday's race to move up the overall ranking to 12th place in Elite.
The new system of bussing competitiors worked well and the improved
communications allowed our friends to follow the race online making
this an excellent end to the UK Mountain marathon season. Sleepmonsters
Russ and Jason
travelled by train to the South Downs event cycling across London
and then from the station to the event before they even started
the 8hr MTB and foot based score event.
They rode about 60km
and ran 28km to clear the course in under 8 hours and win the pairs
category. The area was full of pheasants and deer including a close
encounter with a stag. We also spotted a glider, a hot air balloon
and some stunning views to the South as far as the sea. A great
day out rounded off with a final ride back to the station and across
London. Our navigation around London wasn't quite as good as during
Paul took part
in the Jungle Marathon - a 200km foot race over 6 stages carrying
kit and food throughout for the whole race. Despite several competitors
dropping out from the heat and exhaustion, Paul's pace was both
steady and fast.
finished in 4th place overall after the 6 stages, including the
long 87km overnight leg.
He was the highest placed British finisher. Congratulations and
what an experience!
The event forms part of Paul's charity
Benji, Sabrina and Russ
although still recovering from recent colds, ran, paddled, rode,
swam and coasteered along the 6 stages of the 20 hour course into
4th place overall.
Stage 1 started at Totnes castle and involved kayaking in a double
and a single sit on top to Dartmouth. On the way were several checkpoints.
Some at the waters edge but others involving a significant run up
From Dartmouth a final
run of about an hour collecting more checkpoints finished the stage.
With the strict penalty of loosing all your points on the NEXT stage
if you exceeded the 5 hours allowed there was a lot of calculations
regarding kayak and run speeds to be done on the fly.
Stage 2 was a more straight forward 3.5 hour MTB score stage from
west of Stoke Fleming to Start Point. The final 3.5hr stage of the
day started with coasteering in wetsuits and helmets hunting checkpoints
in the sea and on rocks just beyond Start Point before a final run
along to Salcombe Estuary. Arriving in the dark, just inside the
cut-off we were exhausted but the overnight stop grid reference
was somewhere in the estuary and we were re-united with the kayaks
to find it. It turned out to be the luxury of the
'Egremont' ICC converted mersey ferry where we were treated
to bunks, hot food and told to get some sleep for an early start.
We were awoken at 4:30am with time to get some breakfast before
a 5am start kayaking back down the Salcombe estuary and then a coastal
run with a lot of route choice and again the penalty of loosing
all points on the following stage if we were longer than the allotted
3.5 hours to the estuary at Bantham. Here it was wetsuits again
for a swim across the estuary followed by a short hike, the chance
to earn some points surfing before a kayak back up the channel and
along the river to Aveton Gifford. This just left a final bike leg
to get us back to Totnes to finish.
Some great stages and new ideas although the rules could be a
bit clearer. A fantastic area for this sort of thing so I'm sure
we'll be back! Sleepmonsters
Paul finished his Grand
Slam of all 12 ultra marathons in the Vasque Run Further series
with the Long Mynd 50 mile hike over the weekend of Oct 3/4th. However
he didn't just aim to complete these races he also raced competitively
achieving 10th place in the overall rankings for the best 4 events.
Some real determination considering some of the races were on consecutive
weekends. It should stand him in good stead for the next of his
challenges - The Jungle
|Andy also raced the Run
Further series as part of
Team Vasque. Despite Jez Bragg achieving the seemingly unbeatable
4 wins out of 4 events, Andy won the Lakleand 100 which came with
100 extra bonus points for the 100 mile event. This left him in with
a chance if he could do well at the Long Mynd to still beat Jez and
take the honours in the series. Andy went all out and won the Long
Mynd in just over 8 hours to steal 1st place overall in the series
from Jez! A fantastic achievement to end a great season.
The 2009 RAB mountain
marathon was held in the Howgills in Eastern Cumbria. Yet another
fne weekend just with some low cloud kicking around in the mornings.
Wendy and Steve made the journey North as well as Russ and Jeff
came over to join in the fun too.
Jeff and Russ entered the Elite category
as solos opting to carry all their own camping kit with 7 hours
competition on the saturday and 6 hours on the sunday. This left
Jeff with the heavier tent at a disadvantage which showed in the
overnight results: Russ came in 7th with Jeff behind in 11th place.
Wendy and Steve more sensibly opted to share the kit between themselves
and take an hour less each day. They lay 15th overnight in the Mixed
Sunday saw Russ starting off gingerly with blisters from the saturday
contouring. Jeff had a good day hanging on to his 11th place and
overtook Russ by 5 points whose slow progress dropped him to 12th
overall. Steve and Wendy also had a good day moving up to finish
12th overall. A tough area with a course that had plenty of route
choice, the event this year attracted an entry of 500 people.
The final event of the 2009 Dark
and White 4 hour adventure races was held close to Bakewell. Dark
and White delivered once again with a challenging course that couldn't
be cleared in the 4 hours. There was a short orienteering course
to be fitted in as well the run and MTB courses in the 4 hours from
the Thornbridge outdoor centre.
For once Russ had a bit of local knowledge as the course covered
ground used in the Polaris event earlier this year. He made good
use of this knowledge to take first place in the Male Vets.
Tom and Zak won the generation pair category and Nicole and Blair
went one better than last time with a second place in the Mixed
Pairs. The weather was really hot so we stayed chatting in the sun
for quite a while afterwards which made the slow drive to/from Cambridge
Benji and Sabrina competed
in a testing 8 hour kayak / run / MTB challenge organised by Endurancelife
in Purbeck. They perservered to take the top spot in the pairs as
further proof of their training towards competing in Abu Dhabi.
Tom also took the top place in the 8 hour solo event. Ben and Pat
were 11th in the pairs 8 hour.
report on the New
Sabrina finished the
Mongol Derby on Saturday as 3rd across the line, first female and
first from the UK. Read her report here
on the New Recruits website.
As part of the race she has to raise £1000 for Mercy Corps
- you can contribute to this here
ACE 1-day events are
a whirlwind 5 hours of intense running, mountain biking, navigation,
challenge and their share of getting wet! Perfect team bonding stuff.
|Teams of 4 arn't catered
for so The New Recruits made do with two pairs working together for
most of the race. Benji and Sabrina broke away to challenge the Mixed
pairs taking 2nd Mixed pair while Ben and Pat came in a little behind
them as 7th male pair.
The New Recruits hit
Sheffield for the inaugural Rat Race Urban Adventure in the Steel
City. Sabrina and Benji paired and Ben joined new, New Recruit Hannah.
Pat also competed for the Saturday night run around the City.
Read Sabrina and Benji's report on Sleepmonsters.
|The outcome of the tough
weekend of racing was 1st and 2nd placed mixed pairs (10th and 22nd
overall). Another race under their belts as the New Recruits prepare
for Abu Dhabi.
The Lakeland 100 or
Ultra Tour of the Lake District is a 100 mile trail race around
the Lake District starting and finishing in Coniston. 2009 was the
second year of the race and it was included in the Vasque
Run Further Series so numbers were up with a start list of over
100 competitors for this daunting challenge. Andy was targetting
this race looking for a good place in the series. Paul was here
as part of his charity challenge to complete every one of the Run
Further Series. Russ, well he just didn't want to be left out!
kicked off from Coniston heading up the Walna Scar Road for this
clockwise tour in drizzle at 7:30pm. The rain continued through
the night and after going their own pace initially, Paul and Russ
paired up by Buttermere heading over to Braithwaite for 'breakfast'.
Andy meanwhile was running with Steve Birkinshaw at the head of
the field using Steve's knowledge of the route from winning this
race last year. Rain turned to sunshine for the second half of the
race. Paul and Russ slowed taking care of their feet and took some
sleep as they entered the second night of the race.
Meanwhile Andy upped the pace leaving Steve behind in the latter
stages to finish overall winner of the race with a new course record
of 22:46. Paul and Russ coasted in later in the morning after 36
hours in joint 23rd position. Just 41 people completed the course
within the 40 hour cutoff.
Many of the entrants were probably not prepared for the tricky
navigation through the night(s) and the punishing 23000 feet of
ascent and descent on rocky tracks. Have no doubt this is a very
tough race even more than the 100 mile headline suggests. To complete
it is a real achievement. To win it in a new record time is something
else. To then run the Dark and White 30 mile race the following
weekend Paul is just impossible to comprehend!
Ben, Sabrina, Pat and
Benji all travelled over to Wiltshire for the Questars Duo run and
MTB race. Unfortunately the Trio with the added kayaking was already
full - but they've since made up for that with a sea kayaking outing!
This was their first full race together. They learnt a lot about
each other and worked well as a team, allocating roles and helping
each other out to maintain a good speed.
They were 7th overall in the Duo race and the first mixed team
- not bad for a first outing! Read their
report on Sleepmonsters. Results.
Richard, Pat, Blair,
Nicole and Russ all travelled up to the D&W 4 hour adventure
race at the weekend. It was hosted as part of the Cliffhanger event
featuring many outdoor activities including the British Bouldering
Champs and free taster sessions in orienteering, a fell race, trailquest
and hill orienteering. The adventure race used many of these facilities.
It started by having the start box at the top of one of the climbing
walls followed by a 90 minute run into the nearby parks and lanes
collecting as many points as possible.
We returned to the event base in Millhouses Park to run the Orienteering
UltraSprint course featuring 29 controls around the park and in
the specially constructed maze of crowd barriers. The only proviso
was that we were off the course before the finals took place in
Once completed it was time to hop onto the bikes for a couple of
hours. With Millhouses on the West of Sheffield it was possible
to get out to the Peak District but even the closer tracks were
pretty hilly and the course provided plenty of route choice.
The final checkpoint
was in the centre of the pond being used for kayak demonstrations,
so there were plenty of spectators to watch us jump in, grateful
to cool down at last. Nicole and Blair took 3rd place in the Mixed
Pairs and Russ took 3rd in the Male Vets beating Richard and Pat,
although Pat was taking it easy having raced the Endurancelife Trail-X
event in Sussex the day before! Results
The 31st Saunders Lakeland
Mountain Marathon started and finished in Coniston. Russ was joined
by Jo, someone more used to working on these types of events as
the medic rather than competing in them. But having expressed an
interest, she was soon signed up and it was too late. This was her
second mountain marathon and neither of us had competed in the Saunders
Jean drove up and helped with the event, dealing with retirees
and a couple of rescues to help injured people off of the hill,
seeing as her mobile number was given to competitors as the emergency
contact! Jeff joined us on the friday evening for a chinwag on his
way home but couldn't be persuaded to sign up for a last minute
We were one of the first starters shortly after 8am on the saturday
and it started to rain just as we were trying to plot the Bowfell
Class course on the map but it soon brightened up. The course looped
north to Birk Fell, Wrynose, past the end of Crinkle Crags and towards
Slight Side before battling through the bracken into Eskdale. Here
the heat and humidity slowed us a little before the final leg over
to the overnight camp in Seathwaite. Around 27km and 1600m ascent
in a bit over 5 hours. This gave us a long afternoon in camp to
recover sitting in the sun (between showers), forcing down all the
noodles topped off with a beer from Wilfs - a nice touch for a summer
we were in third place overall and leading the mixed pairs by 15
minutes put the pressure on for the 23km and 1500m ascent on the
Sunday. With most people starting close together the hills were
much busier. It was north again past Harter Fell to Hardknott and
Little Stand, over Swirl How and down for some fast controls in
Coniston valleys. On the final 2km, Russ struggled and Jo didn't
hesitate in taking his rucksac to much applause at the finish! We
were kit checked then an anxious wait for results. By a few seconds
we had the 2nd fastest time of the day, so winning the Mixed Team
class and perhaps more impressively 3rd overall against all the
male pairs. Results
Some people do half
or full marathons for charity. But what does someone for whom those
sort of distances are fairly routine do for a challenge?
Beyond marathons you enter the world of 'ultras'. In the UK there
is a series ('Run Further')
for ultra-runners consisting of a selection of events classified
into short (approx. 30 miles), medium and long which covers distances
of 50,60 or 100 miles. The idea is to compete in 4 of the races
with at least 1 from each length category to achieve a series ranking.
attract a surprising number of competitors. Amongst them are just
a handful who attempt all 12 races in the series and are known as
'The Grand Slammers'.
For 2009, Paul is one of those Grand Slammers. But that is not
enough. These are leading to two of the toughest races on the planet,
The Jungle Marathon
and Marathon des Sables
in 2010. These are both multi-day staged races each covering 200
km through the Brazilian rainforest and the Sahara desert carrying
all the necessary clothing, food and equipment with him for the
Finally, noticing that adding up all these race miles was approaching
the round figure of 1000 miles he decided to add in a mountain marathon
and some extra races in order to bring the total up to the round
1000. As you do.
He's raising funds via the Tesco charity for Muscular Dystrophy
and has a page
where you can donate. He is also keeping a blog
of his experiences.
Paul is over half way to his 1000 mile total and still going strong
with some good results alaong the way. Why not sponsor
him today to encourage him in these challenges?
|| Russ teamed
with Gill for the first Polaris Challenge with Karen McDonald back
in charge. It was a glorious sunny weekend with a basecamp in the
village of Bamford providing two days of excellent mountain biking
in the Peak District.
For the 7 hours on the Saturday it was a surprise to find that
all of the 40 checkpoints were worth the same values, so it was
a case of visiting as many as possible. This also bunched the scores,
but our being 2 seconds late back cost us a point and left us in
5th place rather than joint 3rd.
The 5 hours of riding on the Sunday was more traditional as points
were allocated conventionally with higher values to those checkpoints
further away or harder to access.
Again we made full use of the time with a final rapid descent from
the moors down through Hathersage to the finish. We moved up into
4th place in the mixed teams and would have been 2nd in the mixed
vets if they hadn't removed that class!
A good value, well organised and planned event that is really sociable
with the basecamp and saturday night band.
was the first year of a score class at the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon
and it was well received with 90 entries. It was also Paul's introduction
to mountain marathons and Russ' first attempt at a score class. Having
spent most of the day travelling to Kintail and quite a bit of time
sorting gear, we still managed to get an early night, leaving last
clothing decisions to the weather in the morning.
our new Terra Nova 20L lightweight rucksacs, now commonplace Terra
Nova Competition tent and Inov-8 footwear we set off in the sunshine,
choosing high ridge routes taking in the high point controls. We
were rewarded with a little scrambling and glorious ridge running
on Beinn Fhada followed by a descent and climb up the slopes of
Ciste Dhubh. Next were Beinn-an-t-Socaich and Creag-nan-Clachan-Geala.
It didn't look like we could collect the final 4 CPs near the finish
so we decided to have a go at the 3 of them. It almost went pear
shaped spending several minutes on the wrong spur which could have
cost us 2 controls and made us late, but we joined a D course elephant
track arriving at the final checkpoint with 13 minutes to spare.
Our notes on our map said 15 minutes to the finish so it would be
a sprint to the finish arriving just inside our 7 hour time. 30km,
evening was really pleasant -midge free, warm and sunny as we forced
bowl after bowl of food down. Sunday started with the 5am piper
and blue skies rather than the forecast shower clouds. Final preparations
included working out how to pack the antlers that Paul had picked
up during Saturday without spiking himself!
We chose to visit a different area on principle for the Sunday,
picking an ambitious route approaching 30km again with a little
less climb (1850m) but only 6 hours this time. Most of the terrain
was very friendly and heather free but the final valley caught us
out, having to drop a control and another race to the finish. Lying
4th overnight, we thought we must have blown it as the results were
announced in reverse order and it got to 3rd place. So we were surprised
to find we had finished 2nd overall with the highest score of the
Sunday reducing the gap to the leaders to 10 points. Results
and Paul returned to the Ardennes to do battle once again with this
30 hour race. Roel and Wim put a lot of work into designing really
mixed courses full of surprises. The mystery discipline this year
Skikke and this year started with one us us swimming across
a lake while the other Skiked around it until we met up and swapped
disciplines. Next we were out on MTB just following distances and
instructions (no map!) for 40km. This involved some great forest
single track. We were up near the front after this but the next
hike involved archery once again and despite improving we still
had to do the penalty orienteering CPs which we struggled with on
a rather old map.
Finally we were into the kayaks for a very enjoyable paddle down
a gently moving river with lots of small rapids. We hiked and skiked
into the dusk - getting tired and making mistakes. This was followed
by a long, night MTB stage mostly in forest, but Russ started to
suffer during this, being sick several times. By the end of the
stage he wasn't in a good state and 20 hours into the race we decided
to stop and sleep. This improved the situation enough to enjoy a
long cycle back to the finish but without the final race stages.
A great race, but don't under-estimate how challenging it is.
transported the team of Jason, Russ and Ben up to Weardale for this
new event. She marshalled and also managed to compete in the 'night'
orienteering. The rest of us were having a go at all 6 of the events
over the two days in Ben's first race.
Saturday started gradually with a
15km fell race with a chance to rest before 10km of orienteering
and another gap before the tough evening session of score orienteering
followed by night MTB time trial and a final shorter fell race.
Everyone competed as an individaul but also contributed points to
the team score.
Jason showed his fitness in the foot races consistently ranking
high up in the results. Unfortunately he broke a chain on the night
time trial which lost him all his points for that event. Despite
that he had still scored the same total points as Russ going into
the final event of the 4 hour MTB enduro on Sunday morning. Jason
and Russ teamed up around the score orienteering to work to our
strengths and overtake the Likeys.com team into 2nd place by the
end of that event. Unfortunately with the broken chain and Ben's
knees sufferering causing him to wisely give the final fell race
a miss, we couldn't maintain that lead.
For the Enduro, Jason once again did well but was chased by Ben
on what was a great course in the sunshine.
We were 3rd male team and ranked individually at Jason, 29th; Russ
34th; Ben 87th out of 196 competitors.
Verdict: A great introductory race for Ben. The hard work of the
organising team was much in evidence and the format of being able
to pick and choose events within the 6 worked well. A tough race
for anyone doing all 6 events. Very sociable on the campsite and
are pleased to be able to share with the world our new events calendar.
It pulls in all the UK Adventure Races and World Series events alongside
European leagues, Ultra running events and Mountain Marathons.
Anything adventurous or with a touch
of endurance that takes our fancy really. It's possible to show
or hide blocks of events and for each one shows how many people
are in teams and which disciplines are used. Finally it's possible
to select specific events and then download them in iCalendar format
for inclusion in your own calendar whether that's Outlook, Google
or most compatible software. Anyone can also submit suggestions
for events to include. Try it out here.
Those watching carefully will have noticed that our news is now
also available as an RSS feed
from the icon on the homepage and at the top right of this page.
is a bit of an under-statement for a navigation event roughly following
the Derwent watershed, starting and finishing from Edale that takes
in 40 miles of hilly off-road terrain. Oh yes, and half of it is at
You might think that this would be
enough to discourage most normal people, but it's greatly over-subscribed
each year and places are allocated via a lottery. It's also very
competitive with many top long distance runners taking part. Teams
are started at 1 minute intervals roughly in reverse ranked order.
Starting 13th from the end of 50 teams, we thought they might be
over-estimating our abilities as we expected to only just be in
the top half. Paul was the only person on the team that had done
it before and he wasn't navigating. It didn't start that well with
Andy putting Russ on tow within the first hour on the uphill road
section but we were passing a lot of teams.
We had our share of navigational hiccups during the night but not
as bad as many teams as it turned out. With refreshments at Snake
Pass in the daylight we managed to pick up the pace knowing that
there was only 3 hours left to go on much better ground. There were
several teams around us as we approached the finish but it was only
as the times were calculated that it showed we were 1 minute ahead
of the Dark Peak Ladies setting a new female team record and just
10 seconds ahead of Tom Gibbs' team in a total time of 10 hours
41 minutes and 31 seconds. There are detailed Results.
was first female at the Dynamic Challenge event held in the New Forest.
She built up a small lead during the daytime score foot orienteering
and mountain bike trailquest disciplines before
proving her navigational skills by
collecting all the foot night navigation checkpoints to take overall
was first female (and 7th overall) at the Wadenhoe Quadrathlon and
Pat was also the 1st over 50 (albeit the only one).
| The times for Nicole and Pat were
amazingly similar for the run-kayak-bike-run course with Pat stealing
a few seconds on the run and bike stages but as we would expect Nicole
made her mark on the kayak posting the 4th fastest time overall nearly
5 minutes faster than Pat. Race report on Sleepmonsters.