Another Big Burn-up on B - Who wouldn't want to be in the Langholms in late October?
After the success and pain of last years KIMM, it was always going to be tough to top it this year. Sadly Alan and Wayne were not able to make it, nor were Emma and Anna, leaving only Ryan (an outsider from Bath uni) and myself. With no grudge match, we were forced to race against the clock and try and top the 3rd place of last year. I wasn't happy with the situation, Ryan is much fitter than I and no Wayne meant no beer at the overnight camp...
The weather was fine for the first day of running and we set off in high spirits. The Langholms are steep, but the scenery stunning and inspiring to run through. For the first 4 ½ hours we flew, with route choices falling into place nicely and 15 or so miles covered through pathless heather. But there was a sting waiting in the tail. The final 3 legs of the day consisted of 3 destroying ~250 meter climbs up the steep sides of the same valley as we zigzagged to the finish. My legs struggling by this point, I set a trend for sledging the descents on a map bag, returning the grin to the faces of those who joined in and a bigger grin to those who watched us through the rocky sections.
Overnight Ryan and I were lying 2nd - 20mins down on 1st (2 veterans of elite who ran like machines) and 20mins up on 3rd (a couple of Swedes). The night was clear, still and freezing (-6 was recorded near by). Thanks to Alex Rothmans super light tent we (almost) got a great nights sleep. The poles (almost) fitted, the pegs (almost) sank easily into the rocky ground and it (almost) did not collapse under the weight of condensation frozen to the inside. I could (almost) feel my arms and we (almost) did not have to resort to the use of survival bags.
The second day dawned after too long and we celebrated with a breakfast of Ibuprofen and energy gel. On the way to the start we binned socks, thermals, karrimats and all other non essentials - the plan to save weight and catch the leaders. The course dragged us through the steep heather for another 6 ½ hours despite a shortening on the day, and I hit the wall with a control and a bit to go - which is standard for me in a KIMM. An agonising sprint finish left me lying in a puddle unable to see, but just ahead of a team who 'we might need to beat'. We didn't need to of course and sadly the leaders had pulled away from us. But second place was secured keeping the Swedes 15mins behind us. So we managed to top the pain and the result from last year, but sadly not the company or inter-Cambridge competition. Hopefully I'll be running again this year, hopefully I'll be fitter (but I doubt it), and hopefully there will be more Cambridge faces, I mean, who wouldn't want to be in the Brecon Beacons in late October?
Written by Ash Bown