Mountain Marathon Orienteering Running

Duncan’s 2014

The new year is always a good time to reflect on events gone by, achievements as well as disappointments, and start to make plans for the coming year.   So what of my 2014?  As far as training goes I did:

  • 2471 km of orienteering + running.  That is the most I’ve ever run in a year for the last 10+ years.
  • 289 hours of training, made up of 113 orienteering, 140 running, 10 strength training, 26 cycling.

That is more orienteering and running recent previous years except 2011, but in several years I’ve done more overall when you include cycling, strength, swimming etc.

You’d hope some good came of all that training, so here is a round-up of events I did:

  • Lipica Open 5-day orienteering in Slovenia: 6th overall M21E.  A great relaxed multi-day orienteering event, allowing for some nice sunny weather in Slovenia whilst the UK is still warming up.
  • JK International Orienteering: Sprint 1st M35, Sat/Sun Long 1st M35L.  Obviously nice to come first, although to be fair most of those in the 35+ age class who do any training run up in the 21 class instead.
  • Northern Orienteering Champs: M21L: 1st.  Pleased with this result, proper Lakeland orienteering, and beat a couple of good rivals.
  • British Orienteering Long Champs: M21E: 4th.  I was quite fired up for this, as it rotates around the country and this year was in the north east, up in Northumberland.  Tough course, as I expected it would be, and a good result, so close to the podium too.
  • Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon: 1st (with Jim Mann).  Great to see this event back after a year off – and it justly delivered as the “connoisseurs mountain marathon” – and pleasing to win for the third time in a row with Jim.
Martin Stone presenting Jim and I with the LAMM trophy
  • Durham parkrun 5km PB: 16:59.  Good conditions, feeling fresh, but still surprised myself with this.  So much so that I haven’t run it again since as it might not be repeatable.
  • O-Ringen 5-day orienteering in Sweden M35: 13th overall (best day 2nd place).  A bit of a holiday really, but some great orienteering, and a reminder than Scandinavia has a LOT of orienteers to compete against.
  • Berghaus Trail Chase 1st.  I was at a loose end, and this new race organised by Shane Ohly caught my eye.  The novel format was fun, just a shame I can’t make the date next year to do it again.
Winning the Berghaus Trail Chase
  • Veteran Home International orienteering: 1st M35, 2nd on course.  Happy to be selected for England, although disappointing to realise I’m now classed as a “veteran” for this event.
  • Senior Home International orienteering:  12th in SHIs, 4th England counter, 37th on course.  Even happier to still be being selected for England in this, against the top orienteers.  I’ve now been selected for the SHIs in 11 out of the last 12 years, although admittedly hardly ever made the first selections but pulled in as a reserve as others wheel out their late season excuses.
  • Original Mountain Marathon: retired (with Jim Mann).  My main disappointment of the year.  I’d been really excited about racing, but then tore my calf halfway round the second day.  We were lying 3rd at the time, about 10 mins down on 2nd, and with a good cushion to 4th, so it could have been another podim finish.  But I just came down badly on the wrong side of a tussock and had to call it a day.  Bother.

My calf took about 6 weeks to recover back to normal running again, but after a busy year it was probably good to give my body a rest.  In that time Pippa and I fitted in a climbing trip to the Anti-Atlas mountains in Morocco, where I led my first E1 “Golden Compass” – a superb, sustained flake/crack climb.  I hadn’t really planned to lead it, until I was standing below it, and decided to give it a go (much to Pippa’s disappointment, as it was a great line!).

Overall, despite the injury, it has been a pleasing year.  And the races are only part of it, there have also been many fun times out running and walking for pure enjoyment in the hills.  Especially over the last week around new year, with one run in the snow round Skiddaw and Blencathra, and twice in upper Weardale (peat hags but strangely enjoyable all the same!).  Lots of running, enough to tip my fell shoes over the edge after 850km spent together, and time for a new pair for the new year.

So what of 2015?  I think maybe the time has come to have a crack at the Bob Graham Round.  20 hours seems like a good target.  There, I’ve said it.  Hopefully that will make me do it.  I don’t particularly want to do all the recce-ing of the route that many BGR aspirants do, indeed there are some tops I’ve never been up, and it would be kind of nice to leave it that way till I do the real thing.  To be honest, my ideal would be to run it solo (with road support), but equally I want to get my name on the BGR list, so I’ll play by their rules and have some ‘pacers’.

What else?  The World Orienteering Championships come to Inverness in August….. no I’m miles off being in the team, but I will go to spectate, and run the Scottish 6-days orienteering that runs alongside it. The Glencoe Sky Race has caught my eye, and I’d love to compete, it sounds like a totally awesome course.  Shane and Heather are planning to run the Tour de Mont Blanc over 4 days (for fun, not part of the UTMB), and I hope to join them for that.  And I’d like to get more rock climbing done outdoors, lead some more E1s (to be honest I should probably lead some more HVS first), and Pippa and I are considering a climbing trip to the Dolomites for some long multi-pitch trad fun.  Lots to look forward to!

Lastly, thanks to H18 for letting me try out some of their products over the last year, and I look forward to continuing to use them in 2015.

Dreaming of the Dolomites