The KIMM this year was up in the North Eastern Lake district. We had the luxury of staying with friends on the Friday night and then an early start (2nd pair off) on the Saturday. The forecast was good for the early part of the day so we were optimistic.
We arrived at the start and the weather coming in looked terrible, it started raining whilst we waited and we donned waterproofs. The first checkpoint was a fairly none descript spur foot in amongst boggy ground. We ran pretty much straight onto it and were pretty chuffed with our start. As we progressed through the checkpoints it became clear I didn’t have my usual mountain legs. Matt was pace setting and doing alot of the navigation, it was only on the very steep uphills I felt like my usual self.
We were making steady progress hitting the checkpoints and were enjoying being out the front of the field. Heading to CP6 we messed up – had exactly the right plan, but a combination of not following a bearing tightly enough, the cloud clearly and us optimistically assuming the path we could see was ours resulted in a navigation error we reckon cost 15 minutes. It took us the next hour to re-pass a pair we’d motored by about 10 mins before the error.
This was very frustrating but it got me motivated and I felt I started running better. We really motored round the last few checkpoints and belted along the final 2k stretch along a road to finish in 5th place overnight. About 35 minutes behind the leaders but only 8 minutes adrift of 2nd place.
The overnight camp was quite an experience. Despite my race tent slapping us in the face regularly as the poles buckled in the wind, giving our butts a good kicking as the wind bashed the side and virtually lifting us off the deck in the strongest gusts it didn’t collapse, rip or let any water in. Matt re-assuringly informed me in the middle of the night that this was just the tail end of Hurrican Wilma.
Next morning the wind hadn’t abated and they’d decided to use the Bad Weather course. This really played into the leaders hands as there would be precious little time to make up the deficit.
We set off well nailing the first two checkpoints but again I felt lethargic, I didn’t have my mountain legs. CP 2 to CP 3 was classic over or round decision and for once Matt and I could not reach a concensus. We plumped for round hoping to avoid the worst of the weather. This was trackless and as we progressed it dawned on us our error, it was confirmed when we had to approach the checkpoint across a precipitously steep grassy bank and we could see several pairs running down from above. We met at the CP and found that they’d set off 20 minutes after us. We were now in a race.
Luckily I started to run better at this point. On pair went by as we headed down to a sheep fold and another pair were behind us. Now it was important to hit the checkpoints accurately as the pairs behind could just follow and correct if we made a mistake. We ran straight onto the stone circle and then headed to a re-entrant. This was well hidden but we ran straight onto it, keeping low as we left it we hoped to not give the other pairs it’s location. It appears the pair ahead cocked up here as they chased us down and passed us approaching the last checkpoint. We did hold off the pair behind to finish in 6th place, about 30 mins behind the leaders, 15 behind 2nd, for our best finish in the KIMM