Celebrate 2016 with a Spectacular mountain challenge!

Girlguiding Aberdeenshire’s Clare Martin blogs about taking on a mountain marathon as part of Girlguiding Scotland’s Senior Section Spectacular Walk, Run, Fun! challenge.

I did my first mountain marathon with a friend when I was 18, on Dartmoor. There was mud – lots of it. I got sore legs. And sometimes the weather was a bit nippy. But knowing we worked together as a team to cross the finishing line made it all worth it. And I certainly appreciated my shower and bed when I got home!

You could say I graduated up to mountain marathons from orienteering, which we started as a family when I was in my teens. I loved the experience of getting away to unusual and out of the way places.  Like orienteering, mountain marathons combine map reading and running and can be in woodland or on the moors.

It’s important to make sure you have the right level of fitness and that you practice covering rough ground. And to give some thought to where you can find or borrow the mandatory equipment or adapt what you have to suit. Some runners invest in ultra-lightweight kit but it is possible to keep weight to a minimum using existing clothing and equipment.

The maps are very detailed and you need all your navigational skills to reach the checkpoints without wasting unnecessary time or energy.  There tends to be lots of other runners and walkers from UK and abroad and it’s great to chat along the way and at the overnight camp, swapping stories from your day in the hills.

Now I’ve taken the plunge and entered the Highlander Mountain Marathon in 2016 as part of Girlguiding Scotland’s outdoor challenge for the Senior Section Spectacular, Walk, Run, Fun! Check out this video to get a flavour of what it’s all about. I’m looking forward to marking 100 years of guiding’s oldest girls’ section with another adventure!

If you’re up for giving it a shot then find a partner and enter online. Places are limited to 300 and are selling out fast – so it’s time to decide whether or not you’re up for the challenge!

Visit http://www.handsonevents.co.uk/ to enter the Highlander Mountain Marathon 2016.

Visit https://grampoc.com/ to enter the Grampian Mountain Challenge 2016 – bookings now open!

Find out more about Girlguiding Scotland’s Spectacular Scotland Challenge: Walk, Run, Fun! – you don’t have to be fit enough to run up mountains to take part!