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Ben and Sabrina tackle the OMM.

The Original Mountain Marathon was held on Dartmoor this year. This was Ben and Sabrina's first Mountain Marathon and they entered the Medium Score class. This involves 6 hours on the Saturday visitting as many checkpoints to achieve the highest score whilst carrying all their camping equipment to be self sufficient overnight in a remote spot. This is then repeated for 5 hours on the Sunday back to the finish.

Saturday was a fine clear day making navigation easier. They started from near Okehampton in the North of Dartmoor and picked a route across the moors to the overnight camp near Lydford in the West playing it safe with 30 minutes to spare at the end. This put them in 41st place overall and the 2nd mixed team.

Sunday was a very different day with low cloud making the navigation much harder to locate checkpoints on the way back to finish. They went all out on the Sunday finishing with just 2 minutes to spare from the 5 hours achieving 19th place for the day. This placed them 26th overall for the two days and moving up to take the 1st Mixed Team. Congratuations!

Results. Race Reports.

A last minute DARE for Russ!

On Friday morning I noticed a post on facebook from my friend Eddie that his partner had dropped out for the 12 hour Dynamic Adventure event the next day in the Forest of Dean. A few phonecalls later, time to charge some torch batteries and a check of the train timetables I was on an evening train for Bristol.

It was nice to slot into someone else's arrangements. Having missed the evening registration we headed straight for the start in the morning and soon had everything under control. I've trained with Eddie before as part of Team Sleepmonsters but usually ended up racing against him rather than together - most recently he placed just above us at the London Rat Race this year. Entries for this race were limited and sold out within minutes of entries opening so I was priveleged to be able to take part.

The race basically split into run, canoe, bike with a window of only an hour to start the longer canoe choice. To clear the full run was around 27km and would be very tight to make the river in time and the choices of dropping controls had to be made early on. We set off to clear the run but soon decided to drop a control as the tracks in the forest were causing us great confusion despite (or perhaps because of) us both being good navigators. Having stopped for a climbing wall challenge we had to queue - time we would gain back at the end but not before the canoe cutoff. From there the last hour of the 4 hours on our feet was a struggle to keep going. There was a short cycle to finally reach the river where we got lost entering Ross-on-Wye and made the canoe cut-off with just seconds to spare, piling into the boat with food and water and pushing off. With a good current aiding us we managed to recover somewhat during the little over 2 hours it took to paddle the 27km to Symonds Yat. A short jog and we were back on the bikes into the forest for the evening.

Here it all started to go wrong - the netork of paths and tracks were even more confusing. Stopping off for some archery and some tricky to follow single track we finally rejoined the main cycle paths. We did ok but had to miss more controls and still didn't have enough time to clear the final night complex foot orienteering which we had identified as key to the race. We kept going with just 3 minutes to spare at the finish and collapsed.

It was an excellent course as you would expect having been planned by Tom Gibbs. Our bike navigation/route let us down but we were still pleased to take 3rd place especially as the whole race was a bonus really!

Report. Results.

A Fast Paced London Rat Race

The London Rat Race marked the 30th Rat Race event and was based once again in Potter's Field in the shadow of Tower Bridge. Russ, Hamish and Ben formed a competitive male team to take on the challenge. The saturday night 150 minutes run around the streets included the usual mix of challenges from scrambling along a net between the guns at the Imperial War Museum, eating cockles and karaoke. The mix in the course this year was a set of challenges back at the start which were only open for the mid period of the run. We planned an ambitious route to get back for these but lost some time at the start and as Ben's knee started to play up we reigned back our route clearing most of the rest of the course and saving something for the Sunday. We ranked 7th overnight and were blessed with the use of Jason's flat in his absence.

The Sunday started with a run around Fuller's pubs before using bikes as the main mode of transport for the rest of the day. We headed south this year for orienteering and other activities before the big abseil off of the Oval cricket ground for which the clock didn't stop. This loop returned to the event center for a challenge before heading East out to Docklands for kayaking and street orienteering. We lost a little time here due to small navigation errors - the pace was fast with nearly all the cycling on roads. We finished shortly after 2pm to take 6th overall and the first male team of 3.

Sleepmonsters Report. Results.

Dark and White Adventure Race Series Results 2010

After a short delay, the league table for the summer series of Dark and White 4-5 hour adventure races has been compiled. It confirms Nicole and Blair as the winners of the Mixed Pairs. Perseverance played a significant part in this, but as the saying goes - 'you have to be in it to win it!'.

Russ placed 3rd in the more competitive Male Vet Solos. Unfortunately it looks likely that this series will not continue next year but hopefully they will come up with something similar that can attract a few more competitors.

Results Table.

Terrex Race - An exciting race but disappointing for the team

The much anticipated UK expedition race for 2010, The Adidas Terrex held in the Lake District was to be a disappointment for the team. Early in the race which started with a stunning early morning run across the sands of Morecombe Bay, it was obvious that Ben was not his normal self. By the second critical stage, a 100km mountain bike, Ben - normally one of the strongest members of the team was having to be helped along as he had no energy. Having cut short the stage he took the tough decision to drop out.

However one of the accelerate teams also lost a member at the same time and the teams decided to amalgamate to continue on the course. Jeff and Jason went on to complete the course with Sabs also rejoining later.

Meanwhile Russ helped Team Cruachan around to finish the course in the middle of the rankings.
Results. Video. Sleepmonsters Reports.

CamRacers Team ready for Adidas Terrex 4 day Race

The CamRacers team of Jeff, Ben, Sabrina and Jason met up for a last joint training session at the weekend and were joined by Andy, Russ and Jean. The Terrex race will be a tough 4 day continuous race around the Lake District on foot, mountain bike and double kayaks and includes scrambling and ropes stages as well as other surprise activities. It starts with an evening prologue on Thursday 26th August with the non-stop race starting the following morning.

The weekend was a last chance to talk through the kit list requirements for the event and organise logistics. The team already raced together successfully this year in the Questars 2 day event, winning it and since then Jeff and Jason have paired up for the Open 12 and 24 events while Sabrina and Ben have competed in the shorter Questars events. The Terrex race will see all the top UK teams competing in the UK's longest event this year which forms part of the Adventure Race World Series. Russ is also racing with another team.

The main physical activity of this training weekend was the Run Further Ultra Run organised by Dark & White - The Long Tour of Bradwell. This is a fixed route fell run of around 31 miles and over 6000ft ascent in a roughly circular route around the village of Bradwell in the Peak District. Although a fixed route, it does require navigation to stick to the route and reach all the checkpoints.

The day started overcast heading over to Edale and onto the moors before swinging back over Lose Hill, down to Bamford and a stiff climb up to Stanage edge where there was a light drizzle but some great views running along the edge amongst a lot of visitors. The sun came out for the final stage back to Bradwell though. Russ managed to break 7 hours with the team coming in just over 8 hours. Results.

A very successful weekend and we are all geared up for tackling the Terrex!

Dartmoor Mountain Marathon

The Dartmoor mountain marathon was Endurancelife's first attempt at staging a mountain marathon. They chose to make it one of a select few of these events that allows solo competitors as well as pairs.

Russ entered the Long Score class: 7 hours on saturday, 6 hours on sunday running with your overnight camping kit - self sufficient for the weekend.

Saturday started from Princetown with controls spread around the ranges to the North. Decisions had to be made early on which controls to head for as there was a committing loop far to the North followed by a lot of points near the finish.

Opting to miss 2 early controls gave Russ time to complete the long loop of around 49 Km in just over the 7 hours, taking the lead for the day with a score of 551 points, 34 points ahead of Jon Brooke. Jon made a bad control choice at the end of the day otherwise it would have been much closer. Overnight camp was near Dartmeet.

So everything to chase for on the Sunday using the area to the south of Princetown. A quick calculation soon showed the course to be clearable. Russ dropped an early 20 pointer which meant he caught Jon as they both searched for a checkpoint in the mist before going their separate ways. It was Jon's turn to pick the more efficient route however and when the cloud cleared and the temperature rose, Russ was unable to maintain the pace and was forced to drop further controls. Jon managed to clear the course and take a well deserved overall win by 31 points with Russ keeping second place with a margin of 41 points over 3rd place. A fun weekend and an interesting way to see the variety of terrain that Dartmoor has to offer.


North Wales in 24 hours!

Following soon after the Open 12, Jason and Jeff paired up again for the Open 24 in North Wales.

With over 60 pairs competing, this was the largest field assembled for an open 24. It started with coasteering from Rhoscolyn. Untimed but you needed to do it to get the points. A swim, some climbs and jumps followed by a fast and rough RIB ride to Rhosneigr.

With the rough sea state the race started with bike and run sections followed by the kayak being limited to the relative shelter of the Menai Strait. This was followed by another bike stage working across in preparation for a night stage across the Glyders. This wasn't easy with the cloud down. A final bike and run sections lead to the finish in Betws-y-Coed with visits searching for controls around a mine and a tricky foot orienteering section.

They made good use of their time finishing just a few minutes short of the 24 hours and achieved 7th place amongst a field of 35 male pairs - (consistent with their placing in the open 12) against some very fast and experienced male pairs.

Sleepmonsters Reports, Results.
Questars 1 day in the Chilterns

The 3rd event of the Questars one day series saw a return to the Chilterns based at the Rugby club in Tring. The masters category had the usual format of 6 hours split betwwen foot, MTB and kayak. Ben and Sabrina played to their strengths by being one of the few teams to clear the kayak within their time slot and also cleared the run stage.

So the race was really on during the MTB stage. Making full use of all the available time they managed 205 of a possible 450 on the MTB but despite the extra kayak checkpoint it wasn't quite enough to take the win and they had to be content with 2nd place of the 14 Mixed Pairs teams, 20 points behind the winners. The final event of the series is based in Cannock Chase on September 11th.

Dark and White Series finale at Cliffhanger

The Cliffhanger festival in Sheffield once again provided the background for an exciting race. This year the race started up at 'The Big Shakeout' event campground which made for a much less chaotic start/finish. It also meant we woke up in our tents only a few hundred metres from the event!

However because of the large number of checkpoints in the event it was fixed that everyone would have 2 hours MTB first followed by a break and download before2 hours on foot. Checkpoints took us further North this year out to Rivelin Dam as well as to the edge of the Peak District again, showing off different tracks, but just as many hills! The twist this time was that the course was clearable by the fittest. Russ managed all except one checkpoint finishing 11 points below the lead while Nicole and Blair were 15 points adrift of the leaders in the mixed pairs.

The foot section started with a climbing puzzle - to lift the biggest rock in a single grip. We all played it safe rather than risk the single attempt to gain a few extra points at the risk of getting nothing. Then it was out onto the run proper which involved checkpoints down in the Cliffhanger event. None in the maze this year but still a tricky course with plenty of river crossing to keep the spectators happy! This of course meant uphill in the heat of the day back towards the finish and the extra checkpoints.

Nicole and Blair scored 20 points more than their rivals to pip then overall by 5 points to take an overall win in the mixed pairs. Russ cleared the run in the 3rd fastest time of the day and 15 minutes ahead of the overall winner in his class but there were no bonus points according to time in the run so had to settle for 2nd place in the male Vets overall. We await the calculations for the series overall but it must be looking good for Nicole and Blair and could be very close for Russ.
Round 3 Results

Open 12 - A Race of two halves

Jason and Jeff represented CamRacers at the Open Adventure Open 12 event of the Planet Fear Endurance Series this year. It started from Wensleydale but with a key difference this year - there was to be an overnight stop and no night stages. Camping equipment was transported making for a very sociable evening.

This split the event into two faster halves than the usual 12 hours with overnight recovery being included as a necessary discipline. Saturday was 7 hours with the remaining 5 hours on the Sunday. Saturday started with a run ending will a Gill scramble in Hell Gill transitioning into mountain biking with a shallow diving checkpoint near the finish at Hardraw Force. Jeff and Jason finished in 6th place in the male pairs overnight.

Sunday started in reverse order with an abseil down Hardraw Force followed by a foot stage - Short or Long so not much choice there. The special stage was a swim across Semer Water followed by another MTB stage without too much choice of controls. 10th place on the Sunday but only dropping 1 place overall in the rankings to finish 7th overall. Results. Sleepmonsters Race Report.

Dark and White - Longshaw Estate
Longshaw Estate up above Hathersage in the Peak District was the venue for round 2 of the 4 hour series. The estate itself has been used for orienteering competitions and provided an excellent map with plenty of contour and crag features for some of the foot stage. In the areas without crags the organisers added their own fun by planting the punches up trees! The foot stage continued out onto the moor with strict instructions to stick to the tracks to avoid nesting birds. It was a beautiful day with great views. The foot stage had fewer points than the bike stage and was clearable in under 2 hours, but the MTB part was much harder. As always using the time just right was the key and neither Blair and Nicole or Russ made the best of what was on offer. With such an elevated start/finish point the day always looked like it would end with a stiff climb against the clock up from Hathersage to the Finish, but we all did well at that arriving within a couple of minutes of the 4 hour limit. By virtue of having done both events so far Blair and Nicole lead the Series in the MIxed Pairs and Russ in the Male Vets although we are unlikely to be able to hold on to those positions in the last event (Best 2 scores to count from 3). Sleepmonsters Report.

CamRacers win Questars Q2 - The Quest Challenge
This event was a step up for Questars from their normal 1 day events to a 4-stage event spanning 2 days. Ben, Sabs, Jason and Jeff travelled down to Purbeck for this new event. It started fast and furious with a mass start for a stage on foot together with challenges.

Team Boosh lead the stage but CamRacers were only 15 points adrift still beating the rest of the teams and solos. Stage 2 in the afternoon involved mountain biking and kayaking. Clearing the kayaking stage and beating everyone else apart from Patrick Meldrum competing on his own, the team moved up into first team overall. Stage 3 headed into Saturday night. The team cleared the foot course but were slightly late loosing a few points but still retaining their lead. After grabbing some much needed sleep the final monster Sunday stage combined foot, bike and kayak activities. Another solid performance saw them clinch victory with nearly a 100 point lead over second place. Sleepmonsters Report.

Paul takes on the Marathon des Sables
For Paul, the Marathon des Sables marked the end of his mega charity challenge. It all started last year with taking on the Run Further ultra series and signing up for every single race in the series including the full Lakeland 100 mile event.

This was topped with the Jungle Marathon out in Brazil and has now completed with him finishing the Marathon des Sables. This 6-staged race across the desert is one of the hardest challenges out there, carrying all your food and equipment for 7 days. For most the achievement is just to complete it. But Paul raced it up there with the Elite finishing an amazing 44th overall out of a field of around 1000 as the 4th British finisher. What more can we say?

The Dark & White Adventure Race Series 2010
Dark and White are back this year with three 4-hour events in the Peak District involving map reading on foot and mountain biking to amass as many points as you can in 4 hours.

The first event was based in Edale with the foot section on the fells to the North, with snow still present underfoot. The biking used the most of all the trails towards Hope and the ridge to the South. Blair and Nicole raced in the mixed pairs and Richard and Russ soloed in the male vets against each other with Russ getting ahead of Richard but then almost blowing it by attempting a bit too much. Very well planned event as always.

CamRacers Events Calendar updated for 2010
Events for 2010 have been added to the CamRacers Events Calendar. It pulls in all the UK Adventure Races and World Series events alongside European leagues, Ultra running events and Mountain Marathons.

A special UK No Navigation adventure event category has also been added. There are more events than ever for 2010 and many have early-bird entry fees. Try out the calendar here.