The weekend of the 17th February saw the first of three Spring Dark and White Mini Mountain Marathons. It took a little persuasion from a friend for me to decide to give it a go and enter.
Until then I had only taken part in a small number of 3 and 4 hour MTBO events and maybe a handful of short night orienteering races through the Winter. I was a little unsure of how I would fair on a 3 hour running score event. My main concerns were that I would either go out too hard and tire myself out too early, or as I usually do, not study the map enough before setting off and get my route choice completely wrong.
At the start I made a conscious effort to spend at least 5 minutes studying the map to plot a flexible route that would match my fitness. There is a map below of the course and my route choice. I made one error on my route by over shooting a checkpoint on the way back to the finish, I think this was a mixture of tiredness and loss of concentration. I wasted a lot of time looking for this checkpoint and ended up being 4 minutes late. This took my score down from 210 to 206. Not a bad effort for my first 3 hour running score event. I had a look at the GPX of the winner and was pretty happy with my route choice, it seems Iím not quite as fit as him! Here is the Strava route of the winner.
I donít think that the event organisers could have picked a better weekend for this event, the weather was amazing; clear blue skies and really cold temperatures. I have entered Dark and White events before and as usual the organisation was amazing. It was the first event of this type that my friend Jamie had entered and he also commented on how well it was planned and how helpful the event staff were. I would highly recommend these events for anyone looking to build up to the longer two day mountain marathons.