Rab National Mini-Mountain Marathon

29 November 2014 – Round 3 of 3 – Edale/North Derbyshire/Dark Peak

195 reasons never to follow a P & B runner

There is an old adage in fell racing that if you’re not exactly sure of where you are going then follow somebody in a local club’s vest. This is all well & good, but there is also another saying that you should never follow a P & B runner as they are usually lost.

The Rab Mini Mountain Marathons are not really local races for P & B but definitely an opportunity for all things navigational going distinctly pear shaped.

As far as I am aware none of the maroon & gold massive had turned up for round 1 or 2 of the event but for round 3 it was advertised as a your’s truly v Boff v Alex v Martin face off.

On the day Boff cried off so it was left to me to go solo against the might of Alex and Martin, running as a pair, hand in hand, in Alex’s mythical pink snow goose gloves (google snow geese if you must, they really do have pink dangly bits).

This is an orienteering score event over 4 hours where you get your map on the start line and have to get to as many checkpoints as possible within the 4 hour time limit. Higher scores are further away, so as well as navigation, timing is critical as if you are late back points are deducted.


All week the forecast had been for fog and Edale didn’t let us down, a thick murk enveloping the whole valley from the start line all the way up to the mountain tops. This would put off many a hardened fell runner but the P & B three were there, and ready to go. Alex even arriving early for what I think could easily be the first time in his life.

Martin, not being a regular fell runner or orienteer, had a bit of a fixed grin plastered across his face. This may have been the worry of the fog, the worry of Alex navigating or the worry of just running with Alex ‘wrist breaker’ Jones (see previous posts). But he was set to run with his P & B vest on view when all others were fully clad to suit the November clag. Top marks Mr Landells.

I was first off into the gloom, following a well trodden path, and what appeared to be just about everybody else, in an anti-clockwise route setting out low along the valley & then up onto the tops for the big points.

Alex & Martin, decided to plough their own furrow, so off they went south and looped back clockwise to the bigger scores. This may have been the work of genius or potentially that of fools, only time would tell.

3 hours 54 minutes later I was on my way back to base, & tempted by one final checkpoint. A 15 pointer so maybe worth a risk.

“You going for checkpoint ten then?” I huffed to the random guy trotting beside me.

“Not me mate, only ten minutes left, legs are buggered, got to get back.”

“Shine on, I’ve only 6 minutes, better get a shifty on!” says I, now with a slight panic on.

To the uninitiated anything over 5 minutes late is a killer on these events. 1 point off for each minute late up to 5 minutes, then it gets exponentially worse, much worse. An absolute kick in the pants, after gaining all the points over the previous 4 hours of wandering about the fells in thick mist……. and they can potentially nick the lot if you are really late.

Suffice to say I got a bit of a shake on and managed to finish only 4 minutes over, so 4 points lost, not too bad really, and a finish on the first page of the results, which is always nice.

The winner got over 150 points more than me, and in less than the 4 hours time limit, really quite something in those conditions, but what about the Alex & Martin dream team? Well I had to shoot off so they weren’t back by the time I left. I would have to rely on the internet to check them out.

Did the unorthodox route prove a success? Well I’ll let you check out the results on the Dark & White website too. Let me just say, they did find a few checkpoints, but they also had a slight problem with their timings on the way back. What is it they say in Eurovision? ……..Null point?

In fact I think their result of +195 points scored and -195 points deducted has got to be a record. It certainly has lovely symmetry to it and should be celebrated right up there towards the top of the P & B annals of navigational lore.

(It also made me laugh for quite a long time………….. in truth a very long time, I still have the giggles now)

Quite how they managed it, I’m not really sure, as if they had just gone to the nearest checkpoint, then gone back to HQ, put their feet up and had a coffee and a cake, waited out the next 3.5 hours,  they would have scored more. But hey that’s not the P & B way, so let’s celebrate another navigational master class and roll on the next one, and as I’ve said before never follow a P & B runner. You now know 195 reasons why not.

Full results available here: http://www.darkandwhite.co.uk/results/edaleoverallresults.html

PS – Next year’s events are already up on the website and if you fancy a bit of a change from just following the guy in front of you then they are definitely worth a look, £18 a go, full chipped timing/splits and including scoff afterwards.


(Compass photo by Jamie Dobson and used under Creative Commons)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *