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Discussion Forum - Events - Saltmarsh 75

Author: Michael Jones
Posted: Mon 14th Oct 2013, 10:35
Joined: 2011
Local Group: Heart of England
Not confirmed yet, but they're definitely intending to.
Author: Andrew Gilbertson
Posted: Sun 13th Oct 2013, 20:39
Joined: 2005
Local Group: Beds, Bucks and Northants
Sounds like a brilliant event. We really like the idea of camping at the overnight stop. Will it be held 2014 ? Hope so as Gill & I would like to give it a go!
Author: Michael Jones
Posted: Sun 13th Oct 2013, 16:20
Joined: 2011
Local Group: Heart of England
Not a LDWA event, and I didn't see any familiar faces there, but I thought I'd post a bit about it in case anyone's interested for next year (the organisers are hoping to make it an annual event).

Format: 75 miles (or thereabouts - no-one seemed too sure of the exact distance), linear route, over two days. There was the option of only doing one day, but the majority of entrants chose to do both (or at least started off with the intention of doing so!).

Timing: day 1 walkers started 09.00, runners 10.00. Day 2 everyone started at 09.00. Cut-off times were 22.30 for day 1 (slightly longer), 22.00 for day 2. They turned out to have got the time limits spot on: the last group of four walkers, of whom I was inevitably one, reached the overnight stop at 22.27.

Route: from South Woodham Ferrers along the River Crouch to the sea, north along the seabank to Bradwell, then following the southern side of the River Blackwater to cross it at Maldon, and back along the north side for the remainder of the distance. Only strayed from the waterside twice - soon after the start, then to reach the overnight stop at Steeple. As a result of following the coast, the course was almost completely flat - Creeksea Cliff, at all of 15m above sea level, was the highest point. Surface mostly grass, with some parts of the bank concreted and a few short sections on roads. Next to no mud.

Logistics: no accommodation at the start on Friday night, but there was a B&B a mile or so away, or for the impoverished, the option of pitching a tent by the roadside. Cars could be left at the start, with transport back provided from the finish, overnight stop or checkpoints. Camping spots were available in the pub garden at the overnight stop; equipment could be left at the start.

Route description/navigation: the description was issued one part at a time - at each checkpoint you picked up the directions to the next (intended to stop runners charging straight through checkpoints without stopping to allow the marshalls to record them!). It was clearly expected that some entrants would be unfamiliar with the use of a map and compass, since the directions included no bearings or grid references (although everyone was given a 1:50,000 route map). Navigation was straightforward for the most part since the route followed the river/sea wall, but there were one or two tricky bits for those doing the inland sections at night - the organisers helped by marking some sections with glowsticks.

Numbers: 100 or so individuals and a few relay teams started; walkers and runners were equally welcome, but walkers were in the majority. Despite the flat course, it turned out to be tougher than many people had expected: there were 15 retirees on the first day and a significant number of those who did reach the overnight stop decided to cut their losses and not attempt the second day. Quite a few more (including me) found that starting the second day had been over-optimistic and dropped out at the first checkpoint; only 39 finished.

Checkpoints: mostly every 6-8 miles, with one or two longer stretches. Various venues including sailing clubs, pubs and one remote religious community! Plenty of food (mostly cakes and cereal bars) and water available at each, and medical attention was always on hand. Hot meals at the overnight stop and finish.

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