Report from Tom Lynch:
The Kong Mini MMs are a series of 4 hours score course orienteering races over mountain terrain across the North of England and Wales. Normally there are a 4 events in the series, and there are series prizes for completing 3/4 races. This year one of the races was cancelled, and so there were only 3 races, and 2 to count for the series. I took advantage of this, having only entered round 2 in the Howgills on a whim after watching Tanya race round 1, and entered round ‘4’ (round 3 was cancelled) in Snowdonia to complete counters for the series.
The location is only announced 1 month before the race, and started from Llanbedr, just south of Harlech in Snowdonia. This meant the course was going to be somewhere in the Rhinog mountains, a less well know area, south of the big peaks around Snowdon.
You get 4 hours to collect as many points from the controls as you can, and return within the 4 hours, penalty points being awarded for being late back, on a sliding scale, if you’re late enough you can wipe out your points completely. The route map gets issues just after the start, after which you hastily decide your route.
I made a loose plan to try and do a circuit of the summits that I liked the look of, and pick off extra controls on my way, it’s probably completely the wrong strategy, but I just couldn’t help going for the highest scoring 50 point checkpoints on top of all the summits I’d not visited before, and seeing where I ended up. I had a good run, despite the very rough ground anywhere other than on one of the faint paths across the area, and had completed about 3 hours or so before I started to plan the final few checkpoints to get me back to the finish. I was tired by this point falling on my face in a bog at one point, covering my map in brown gunk, but managed to fit in a 40 point summit checkpoint, and then 3 further 20 points checkpoints, before an easy jog down to the finish, with 15 mins or so to spare. At the last checkpoint, I did realise I was probably about to blow up, and so had a hasty gel..still no problem, I could actually see the finish across the fields. Then I ran into a horrendous patch of bracken and brambles, which was supposed to be the easy path down some fields into the finish. I wallowed round in this for about 5 minutes, including falling headfirst off a rock ledge, before I finally managed to find a trod (completely unrelated to the path), and work my way to the path into some grassier fields….time still counting, and I still wasn’t done. There was now no obvious way out of the boggy fields, and frustratingly I could see and hear the finish only about 100 metres away, and couldn’t find a way out. I knew I had only a few minutes by this point, and picked a random gate, which thankfully took me onto the right track, and into the finish only about 50 seconds late, a slightly annoying end – I did realise after some reflection, that I was probably pretty tired by this point, having made some random nav choices coming up the last summit, so was fairly happy to have not been much later in.
Results (full results here):
|1st||601||Neil Talbott||Ambleside AC||M||655||04:04:27||660|
|2nd||268||Tom Leather / Craig Connor||Tattenhall Runners||M||537||04:02:44||540|
|3rd||550||Ian Jones||Eryri Orienteers||MV50||527||04:02:23||530|
|4th||561||Tom Lynch||Otley AC||M||519||04:00:55||520|
With my combined result from the Howgills race, I also came 6th in the series in the M category (there is no ‘overall’ series result – only by age category).
2nd claimer Tanya Shepherd also had a good race, 7th woman in the race, 4th F, and 3rd overall in the F category for the series.