> Karrimor International Mountain Marathon 2001 - Steve Birkinshaw

KIMM 2001

I had no idea there were hills west of Glasgow between the city and the sea. Morgs did not know of them either and he spent 3 years at the university in Glasgow. But we were to get to know them well as we were running there together in the elite class in this year's KIMM. A look at the map showed that they only rose to about 500m and they looked pretty flat and so we were expecting long courses and loads of heather and tussocks. We were not disappointed.

The journey up on the Friday night with Lucy and Jane was spent trying to eat and drink as much as possible, although this did mean frequent breaks at the services. We stayed the Friday night at Lucy’s sister’s. Whilst me and Morgs tried to reduce our packs as much as possible, Lucy and Jane seemed to be trying to pack enough chocolate to feed them for weeks.

On Saturday morning we woke to normal KIMM weather of wind and rain. But by the time Morgs and me started something strange happened for the KIMM. The wind and rain had vanished and there was even some occasional sun. We were given a map each on the start line and Morgs put his in his rucksack (apparently in case mine blew away !!!) and tucked in behind me. He stayed there throughout, apart from when he ran ahead to punch and the numerous occasions I fell over face first into the tussocks, whinging and moaning.

The 45km course this day seemed to zig-zag across the whole area and after about 25km we were almost back where we started. By this point I was feeling pretty awful, but every time I looked behind Morgs was smiling whilst jogging along easily. I gave him more of my kit and ate some more food, which helped slightly. Soon afterwards I ate some marzipan which had been sitting around at home for a couple of months. Minutes later I was on my knees throwing-up everything in my stomach. Morgs looked worried but I seemed to recover fairly quickly, although I could not eat and drink much on the rest of the course that day.

Eventually after 7½ hours we finished and surpisingly for the KIMM, we found a nice, flat grassy site for our tent. Morgs had let me look after the food and the stove but after his 3rd cup of crunchy cous cous I think he regretted it. Luckily we were camped next door to Gary Thompset and Ranalph Fiennes and they had a bit of spare food which Morgs scoffed.

The Sunday brought another 38km and more heather and tussocks. Two teams in front of us dropped out overnight with twisted ankles and so we set off in the chasing start in 6th place with a lot of good teams just behind. We spent the whole day with the 7th placed team but eventually we broke them on the final hill so could have a relaxing run into the finish. There at the finish were Lucy and Jane who had really enjoyed the Medium Score and they had managed to eat all of their chocolate!

Steve Birkinshaw

> top