Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon (SLMM)

Eskdale, 2022

What is it?

‘The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon (SLMM) is a two-day mountain navigation competition (or race) that is held annually in the Lake District for teams of two runners.

The event comprises  6 linear courses of varying lengths and technical difficulty and one ‘score’ course where competitors choose which controls to visit over a 2 day total of 12 hours.

The first day finishes at a mid-way campsite. Competitors must carry the lightweight camping and safety equipment listed in the rules. Competitors need to be competent in the use of map and compass in the mountains’

How did the 2022 SLMM go?

This year the event centre was in Eskdale. A beautiful location. DFR member Joe Addison had headed over earlier in the day on Friday with his running partner, armed with beer and deck chairs ready to do some carb loading whilst soaking up the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the weather was distinctly ‘unSaunders’ like (sunshine is usually pretty much guaranteed). For those of us who arrived on Friday night, heavy rain meant it was a mad dash to complete registration and then back to tents or vans to hide from the weather.

For Andy and I this was our fourth Saunders together and our eighth mountain marathon. So we have our getting ready routine pretty sorted. By this I mean Andy keeps telling me to stop faffing and aims to leave 5 mins before we actually need to leave so we passed James Osborn’s van in plenty of time on our way to the start. Andy stuck his head in to wish them good luck to be met with James and his partner Matt staring at food laid out on the van floor with James realising he had forgotten to pack anything for his breakfast on Sunday morning. It seemed best to leave them to it. James can run for 8 hours on one mini snickers bar so we weren’t overly concerned for them!

Thankfully, the worst of the weather cleared by Saturday. There were some heavy showers during the day but nothing too dramatic, the cloud stayed high enough and the wind was not as high as forecast.

Andy, myself, James, Matt and Digby were all in the Kirkfell class. Digby and his partner had a great run on Saturday, finishing top of the DFR entries. Andy and I did not have our finest day. We made some questionable navigation decisions, running 36km (3km further than James and Matt). Cue plenty of self-analysis!

In the Wansfell class, Patrick Bonnett was running with his daughter Emily. This was also the class that Joe Addison was running in.

This year the mid-camp was in Wasdale Head. It really was a spectacular location. A lovely breeze coming off Wast Water kept any midges at bay. Two camping fields meant we could all spread out and there were plenty of non-boggy, flat spaces to pitch your tent. A real treat. Although we did spend the evening staring up at Yewbarrow towering above us promising that no one was going over that in the morning!

Patrick’s camp
If you ever come to a Saunders, don’t camp next to Patrick. He always has the gourmet food. And isn’t up for sharing.
Patrick enjoying his gourmet grub.

On Sunday, Digby had another strong day and finished well in 8th place. In consoling ourselves on Saturday night, I told Andy that we always have a strong second day and we did have a much better day. We concentrated a lot better and continued to move OK. We came within two minutes of the next pair but this was not enough to make up for Saturday’s losses and move us up any places.

James and Matt, Kirkfell, start of day 1
Fran and Andy, Kirkfell, end of day 2.
Patrick and Emily, Wansfell, finishing day 2

Overall, it was another fantastic event. Always so well organised. It is hard to describe the intensity of spending two days out in the hills hunting for checkpoints but I find it such a welcome relief from the everyday. I would be no good going for a spa weekend. I would just lie there thinking about all the other things I should be doing. For me, these two days of pure mountain fun are such a treat.

‘A great weekend in a rarely visited part of the Lakes. Well organised, friendly and competitive enough to make for a challenging couple of days but without being too ‘hair shirt’ Patrick Bonnett

‘Another fabulous weekend at the Saunders hunting down checkpoints, this time in Eskdale and surrounds. We were blessed with an overnight camp beside Wastwater to debate the day’s route choices over a beer. A civilised and inclusive event catering for people of all abilities’ Digby Harris

‘A great way for like-minded individuals to have as much fun as they can and eat as much rehydrated food as they can possibly carry. It can be a ‘leisurely’ holiday or a real challenge and anything in between.’ Joe Addison

‘Matt and I both agreed in the run up to the event that we would take it easy. Matt was recovering from a ruptured Achilles a couple of years ago and I was still recovering from a round of tendinitis. Neither of us were on our A-game. It started well and we were moving well together. The Blacketts were only 5 minutes behind so we could hear their intimidating calls at the early checkpoints. We made some great route choices through the day that played out well despite our relaxed effort. Only one nav error, which is pretty good for me! Matt had his poles out most of the time that left me to do the nav – a risky move! Overnight camp on the side wastewater was incredible. Just enough breeze to keep the midges away and good chat with everyone else. Day 2 and Matt was struggling a bit with his hip. We decided to walk back. The route choice changed from ‘fastest’ to ‘easiest’ and we had a nice day in the hills. Overall a great weekend with great people and plenty of hours in the hills. I give Saunders Mountain Marathon 5*. Would recommend.’ James Osborn

If reading this has tempted you to think about having a go then we have plenty of club members with incredible mountain marathon experience. I would not even like to guess how many Mark Bevan, Alan Hunt, Patrick and Steve Lumb among others have done between them and I know they would be happy to answer questions/give encouragement.

Roll on the next one; Kong Scottish Mountain Marathon on Arran http://kongmountainmarathon.org.uk Entries open until 20th August. I can’t wait. 

Ladies on Tour

This morning a group of ladies from our Tuesday sessions (plus special guest Clare O) had a wonderful run from Reeth. We had the wind to our backs as we made our way up on to Fremington Edge and then, sheltered by the wall, had a lovely run along the ridge. Then came the fun bit! It is such a wonderful descent down a springy, grassy path before a short, steeper technical section. The section along by the river is always more undulating than you would like it to be but we were back in Reeth before we knew it. A fabulous, relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable run out!

Kettlewell Anniversary

Start Briefing

Kettlewell Anniversary [S2] - 9 Jun 2022

posnamecattimepoints
10Martin WilsonMSEN0:42:3340
20Paul HodgsonM400:46:5439
26Dan HoyleMSEN0:48:3638
35Andrew StimsonM400:50:3937
59Megan McCarthyFSEN0:57:1340
74Denise TunstallF551:04:1239
82Dougie NisbetM551:06:5636
Results
Club Champs 2022 - Fixtures and Details

Club Champs 2022 - Results Men

NAMETOTALS1S2S3M1M2M3L1L2L3BEST-SBEST-MBEST-LBONUS
Andy Blackett11940394039404039
Michael Sturla11539403738403738
Mark Smith103383332383332
Dougie Nisbet10037363231373231
Chris Alborough40400040
Martin Wilson11840403938404038
Joe Addison37370037
Owen Carter36360036
Andrew Stimson1233739363935403939405
Paul Hodgson11639383439393839
Adam Bridges67343303433
Dan Hoyle76383838380
Andrew Henderson35350350
Tom Carter40400400
Max Wilkinson37370370
Stan Gibson37370037
Dan Rhodes38383800
Club Champs 2022 - Fixtures and Details

Club Champs 2022 - Results Ladies

NAMETOTALS1S2S3M1M2M3L1L2L3BEST-SBEST-MBEST-LBONUS
Dawn Hosking120404040404040
Denise Tunstall80393940403840400
Meghan McCarthy11940403939404039
Roslyn Kelsey38380038
Club Champs 2022 - Fixtures and Details

New ‘Durham Hewitts Round’ Record for Duncan

Duncan Archer went out on Saturday at took 41 minutes off the record for the Durham Hewitts Round. If you aren’t familiar with the route it takes in all the mountains over 2000 feet and with 3o metres prominence in County Durham. The record has been held since 2011 by Will Horsley.

Duncan completed the round in 9:58:39s

Read all about it here.

http://duncanarcher.com/blog/2022/05/28/durham-hewitts-round/

Online entries open for Kettlewell Anniversary

This is the second short race in the 2022 Club champs. Racebest are saying there are no entries on the day. Use the following link for pre-entry.

Online Entry at Racebest for Kettlewell Anniversary

A reminder of the Club Champs events …

DateRaceFRA CategoryDFR CategoryLocation
26/02/2022 Substituted with Windy Gyle on 19/06/2022
High Cup Nick (postponed)
SiEntries
BMMEDIUM [M1]North Pennines
13/03/2022Carrock Fell
Entry on the Day
ASSHORT [S1]Lake District
20/03/2022Bilsdale
Enter Online: SiEntries
ALLONG [L1]NY Moors
30/04/2022Guisborough 3 TopsAMMEDIUM [M1]NY Moors
09/06/2022
Racebest stating no EOD
Kettlewell Anniversary
Online Entry at racebest
ASSHORT [S2]Yorkshire Dales
19/06/2022Windy Gyle EODBMMEDIUM [M2]Northumberland
09/07/2022Wasdale
Enter Online: SiEntries
ALLONG [L2]Lake District
20/07/2022FellsideAMMEDIUM [M3]Lake District
06/08/2022Osmotherley ShowBSSHORT [S3]NY Moors
19/11/2022Tour of PendleALLONG [L3]Lancs

Club Champs 2022

The replacement event for the postponed High Cup Nick race will be Windy Gyle. The revised Club Champs calendar now looks as follows:

DateRaceFRA CategoryDFR CategoryLocation
26/02/2022 Substituted with Windy Gyle on 19/06/2022
High Cup Nick (postponed)
SiEntries
BMMEDIUM [M1]North Pennines
13/03/2022Carrock Fell
Entry on the Day
ASSHORT [S1]Lake District
20/03/2022Bilsdale
Enter Online: SiEntries
ALLONG [L1]NY Moors
30/04/2022Guisborough 3 TopsAMMEDIUM [M1]NY Moors
09/06/2022
Racebest stating no EOD
Kettlewell Anniversary
Online Entry at racebest
ASSHORT [S2]Yorkshire Dales
19/06/2022Windy Gyle EODBMMEDIUM [M2]Northumberland
09/07/2022Wasdale
Enter Online: SiEntries
ALLONG [L2]Lake District
20/07/2022FellsideAMMEDIUM [M3]Lake District
06/08/2022Osmotherley ShowBSSHORT [S3]NY Moors
19/11/2022Tour of PendleALLONG [L3]Lancs

DFR Ladies Nights are up and running

It was not planned that our very first Durham Fell Runners Ladies session would take place on International Women’s Day but it felt pretty powerful that it did. 

Having recently completed my Leader in Running Fitness course it was my main aim to set up these sessions as a way of making that leap into joining a new running club a little less intimidating and for new female members. The vision is that these sessions are accessible to all, regardless of current fitness levels, with the focus being on getting out into the forest, building confidence and just taking in the magic that running somewhere remote gives.

And so it was that last night thirteen brave ladies took the plunge and came to Hamsterley Forest for the very start of this adventure. It was a lovely early spring night with little wind and a lovely moon peeping through the trees as we completed our warm up then set off for a lap of the Gruffalo trail where we learned and practised the art of looping back. When we run out this will mean that no one is left behind and that everyone is able to keep moving at their own pace. Then we completed a paired activity with the focus being on maintaining a consistent pace. It is fair to say that everyone absolutely smashed it with some very impressive timing. Then we had a cool down and before we knew it the session was finished. 

 A huge thank you to everyone who turned up – you were fantastic.    See you at the next session on 22nd March.    If you have any questions then please email me at fblackett@outlook.com.   If you fancy joining us then come along for our next session, we meet at 1900 in the main Hamsterley Forest car park.   

Thank you for a truly inclusive first session. And having the moon out and listening to the river added to the magic.

Rachel