Orienteering race 10:09:15  45.0 km (13:32 / km) +2000m 11:05 / km
Marmot Dark Mountain Marathon, Forest of Bowland B class.
Big birthday called out for something daft and immature to celebrate it. This offered itself up on the right day so J's arm was duly twisted. Hadn't done anything through the night before, so really couldn't imagine how it might pan out. The only real plan was to enjoy it.
Started 9:20pm with a 3km run out to the edge of the fells. After a steep climb we found ourselves on an exposed spur with a brutal side wind that was pushing us around and having trouble staying on our feet... hard to imagine how we could survive 10 hours of this and doubt had already set in. Thankfully, that was the strongest winds we experienced all night and we soon settled into our plan of keeping moving steadily and nailing the navigation smoothly whilst others faffed. Soon found ourselves in a bit of a B class train (including DB and NC), which was not good as it was hard to do our own thing navigationally and pace-wise. Thankfully it had split up again before we reached the end of the long leg to 2. After that we were with a few other pairs at various times, but only for a leg or so. Things got tough heading out towards no 6 through deep heather (cramp threatening by now) and up onto vague tops in low cloud, but we executed the leg fine, and suspect we pulled away from a few teams here. Biggest mistake of the night was at no 7 where we failed to check our position carefully enough on a track before dropping to a re-entrant and lost ~5' looking too low. After that we really didn't see anyone else on our course. The rain came on at about 4:30 and it got pretty unpleasant for a while. We weren't moving very quickly but took a couple of nice route choices and nailed the controls.
The last 3km back down the roads to the village seemed an eternity, especially with sore feet in dobs, but we were at least managing to run it. Finished to discover we were the 2nd team home on the B course with only 1 other team likely to finish in the next hour according to the tracking - delighted!
Endless, endless bog the whole way, with either tussocks or deep heather throw in, which made for a tough night out. However with 50% completion rate this was apparently one of the easiest MDMs. Amazing experience and a massive buzz. One for the bucket list.