Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Mourne Mountain Marathon & lightening up

Slieve Beg in the foreground, Slieve Donard & Chimney Rock Mountain in the back

The Ulster Way left me with aspirations for the future, and with the Mourne Marathon coming up in the middle of September, it seemed like a likely addition to the calender. A few other ideas were thrown into the possibilities folder, like Niall Quinn's suggestion of setting a new record for the completing the Wicklow Way, however they are still in the air for the mean time. The plunge into mountain marathoning was made at the end of July and myself and Alan (who joined me for a small jaunt across the Mournes while out on the U.W) signed ourselves up for the C class, thinking that the D class wouldn't pose too much of a challenge and that B would be a bit too much for moutain marathon virgins.

C Class

The C-Class demands a lower level of speed, endurance and navigational skill than the Elite and B Classes. It is suitable for Teams who have, perhaps some mountain marthon experience or who are good hill walkers who want to stretch themselves and their navigational capabilities on a 2 day event.
Distance - 35km over 2 days.

The Mourne Mountain Marathon is only eleven days away and I've been trying to cut all unnescesary weight out of my pack. After the Ulster Way I've a pretty good handle on what I can go without so I think it really will be a skelleton packing list for the day, well except, maybe a bottle of port or atleast some sort of alcoholic beverage may make it into my pack or shared between us, but some things come first.

Granite Tor and view from Slieve Bearnagh

Obviously trying to cover the ground in as little amount of time possible means the less carried the better, I could start giving advice for lightening up your rucksacks, however I don't really think I'm that much experienced to tell people what to pack. Instead the following couple of links give a pretty good insight into getting your pack weight down. The advice is as applicable to mountain marathons as it is general hiking.

Have a look over at Hendrik's blog and his very well written guide to Ultralight backpacking (part 1, part 2, part 3, part4, part5) check out the comments as well as theres some interesting observations and discussions there. Some basic sound advice can be found here. Another resource which is certainly very useful is PlanetFear's Mountain Marathon kit list, all the kit listed gets very decent reviews, and I wouldn't mind having some of it myself.

On a side note are the mountain marathoners and fell runners a driving force behind the Lightweight revolution? maybe something for another day

May all your rucksacks be made of dyneema and your roll mats of bubble wrap
Travel light, freeze at night!!

Read the full report on the Mourne Mountain Marathon

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8 comment(s) so far, add your thoughts -->>here<<--:

Mac E said...

"Travel Light, Freeze at Night" LOL

I'll have to check the website.

Hendrik M said...

Hei Keith, thanks for the shout out!

That photo is superb, very beautiful view you captured there (the b/w one).

Good luck on your first (?) Mountain Marathon, looking forward to your kit list and write-up.

Keith said...

Its nice to know someone is reading!!

Hi Mac E, good to see you here again! Probabaly nothing revolutionary said but a good starting point for anyone I think. "Travel Light, freeze at night" is a favourite saying from nights on exercise with the T.A, very true in certain circumstances.

Hi Hendrik, good to see someone else commenting :) More than happy to send people your way when theres something worthwhile to read. I do try with the pics, think they are slowly getting better. Excited about my first moutntain marathon, the weather looks like it will hold and me and my partner are certainly going to race hard to make up for a lack of preperation!

More to follow

Wandering Photographer said...

Keith - I'm heading down to try and get some photographs of the MMM this weekend. If you see a bloke with an oversized pack, replete with tripod and other gubbins then its probably/possibly me ... wave and say hello but DON'T stop - it is a race after all! Good luck!

Keith said...

Hi Wandering Photographer, hopefully our paths will cross on Saturday or Sunday. It is a race but I'm sure I could spare the time for a quick hello, even if I will be sucking air from Dungannon!

Wandering Photographer said...

Hi Keith - this is of course dependent on me actually finding out what the route is! Lol I think it is still under wraps. All I know is that it is starting in Tollymore...

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Beautiful pictures, it is one of my hobbies to take pictures of landscapes, specially with mountains included.

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It sounds pretty hard to do a marathon in middle of the mountains. You need a lot of resistance.