> 2011 race reports
02/07/11 Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon - from Frank Shillitoe

This years Saunder’s MM started and finished at Chapel Stile in The Langdales with the overnight camp at Steel End at the southern end of Thirlmere. This was my second MM having completed the LAMM score course a few weeks earlier, and the first MM for my race partner Paul Gaines (Tynedale Harriers).  We entered the Carrock Fell course which had nominal straight line distances of 18.8km (1080m) on Day 1 and 18.3km (1090m) on Day 2.

Day 1 started with a sharp ascent then descent to Stickle Tarn, and then up to Pavey Ark. The weather was fantastic - sunny with a cooling breeze on the tops. From Pavey Ark it was fast running to Pinnacle Bield and then we followed the route of the Borrowdale fell race, in the opposite direction, to Rosthwaite Fell. We were both feeling pretty strong until this point. There was a quick descent down and along Langstrath Beck and then a punishing climb up Ullscarf which was when we started to lose concentration with tiredness setting in. Some rough navigation meant we took some non-ideal lines and finished with a cruel descent through bracken and rocks to the finish. Still we came third and were only ten minutes behind the leading team. The afternoon was spent wallowing by the stream swatting cleggs and in the evening drinking milk and Guinness whilst fighting off the midges.

We were in the chasing start for Day 2. When the start whistle went I was still faffing around with my bag so lost a few minutes there, and in the fluster took a non-ideal route to the first control, with other teams behind us catching up. We soon picked things up and headed in a westerly direction to Angle Tarn and then down along Mickleden to a set of controls just south of the event centre. Although these were near the end of the course some fine navigation was required. We lost about 15 minutes trying to find a troublesome control at a “re-entrant”. At this point we realised there were a couple of other teams on the same course in our vicinity and this motivated us to pick the pace up and sprint for the finish. We just about managed to hang onto third position although the other teams behind were only a few minutes behind with the winning team an hour ahead. Overall we took just over eleven hours and were chuffed with our position. A big thank you to the organisers for a fantastic weekend.

Frank Shillitoe

results and more info on the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon website

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