Monday, 26 January 2015

Mamot Dark Mountains

The Mamot Dark Mountains ( is a Mountain Marathon for pairs taking place overnight in January. Obviously the weather overnight in January can be really tough, but that is the beauty of the event, it is a real test of mountain ability and navigation.

Last years event was in the Peak District and I was in the winning team with Tom Gibbs. This years event was taking place in the Howgill Fells. I was running with Jim Mann and we were expecting 10 hours of hard running and navigation. With two other top teams  (Kim Collison running with Adam Perry and Tim Higginbottom running with Alex Pilkington) it was going to be hard to win again. The weather this year was actually very kind. Patches of snow, but dry and a bit windy but nothing too bad.

Kim and Adam had a storming run to easy win in a time of 8 hours 34mins for the 53 km course with 3000m of ascent. So congratulations to them. I have run with both these two at recent OMM’s and I know how talented and determined they are.

There was something strange with the map at the 3rd control on the elite course. It was in a sheepfold and although it was in the right place the contours all seemed wrong, its altitude seemed to be around 20m higher than it was meant to be. Kim and Adam found it quite quickly, Tim and Alex looked for around 10 minutes found another bit of wall and decided it was not there, whereas me and Jim eventually found it after 35 minutes searching (including going back to three different attack points and trying again). We certainly know that slope well!

After that I started to struggle and the next three hours was really bad. Jim was brilliant and just accepted I was doing my best and carried my pack up the hills. But I am really disappointed. I thought I was running well again and it is hard to realise this is not the case. I do actually wonder if I am good enough to compete at the top any more. However, I always try to look at the positive side of a race so these are:

  1. We actually finished the course with a time of 10 hours 41 minutes. I seriously felt like dropping out at times but as I have said before feeling a bit tired is not an excuse to give up (
  2. After feeling absolutely awful for 3 hours I picked up a bit
  3. I am not injured and got round without doing myself an injury (which is probably surprising considering thenumber of times I fell over
  4.  It was great being out all night with Jim, navigating around the Howgills
Thinking about it I have not done a run longer than 2 hours since the OMM at the end of October. So I guess my body was just not prepared to run this far. 

Below are the before and after photos from Ian Corless ( The photos speak for themselves.

Thanks to Shane, Charlie and the team of volunteers for putting on a great event.


  1. I reckon the Wainwrights have a little more to do with this. It's still not that long since and whilst I doubt I will ever amass the experience that you have Steve, what little I have done has meant that I've found that the really big stuff takes a lot longer to come back from that any of us care to admit. It all catches up in the end. I think the subsequent times one does these things the recovery gets quicker, but by any standards the Wainwrights run was pretty darn big so I think this is far more to do with time and the type of recovery you can't quite put your finger on, rather than not being able to compete any more. Reckon there are a few more years left in you :)

    1. Thanks, Chris. Over the last month I have finally reckoned I have got over the Wainwrights but you maybe right. It is hard to know. Hopefully my running will improve over the year.