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Yet again, the lovely Sharon and I have finished the Mourne Mountain Marathon.  We don’t really know the exact reason we did it.  It did fill us with dread before we did it.  We hated many aspects of it while we were doing it, but we can say that we are glad we did it.   Other aspects of it that we are glad about include the fact that it was an amazing weekend with respect to the weather.  The views of the mountains were majestic and the real beauty of the marathon is that it takes you to vantage points that you don’t normally go to.

The campsite in the evening is another gem.  With over 200 tents and 400 people squeezed into a tiny field, the atmosphere is extremely friendly and humorous.  Everyone talks to everyone and you meet all sorts of interesting people from far and wide and all walks of life.  As a result of all competitors having to carry all their own equipment and food for the camp; lightweight seems to be the main theme of everyone’s kit.  That said, we were surprised to discover that not as many people had heard of balloon beds (animal balloons slotted into a thin sandwich of parachute silk).  As I sat and inflated our beds, all 14 balloons, several people dandered over to ask what the hell was going on.  To keep our neighbouring tent happy I finished by making a poodle and attached it to our guy rope.  The lovely Sharon says that this helped her find our tent when wandering around the camp site.  But I am not so sure, more about that later.

Nearly everyone used some sort of dehydrated dinners.  Not the tastiest of meals but amazingly light.  A few people did ignore this school of thought and decided that after day 1 and 20km of distance and at least 1100m (3600ft) of climbing, they needed their luxuries.  One of these groups were our neighbours.  After competing in the same category as us they arrived into camp, slept for an hour or so, then proceeded to light their disposable barbecue.  A while later they pulled out two steaks, a full bottle of red wine and smash (complete with herbs and butter).  We worried about being so close to them as people seemed to draw close like hyenas.  All turned out well as everyone agreed that to carry all that they deserved their feast.  I wonder if everyone was as sympathetic to the group who were frying sausages right at the entrance to the camp site.  The smell must have been tormenting to the groups arriving late.

Later that night as I was preparing myself for the long sleep and the long day that was due to follow, I heard the laughter of the lovely Sharon as she returned from filling her water bottle.  She clambered into the tent in fits of giggles claiming that she had just been stealing other peoples socks.  It turns out that she had got a little confused on the way back and arrived at the tent to begin to remove her muddy socks that were drying (as best they can) on the guy rope.  As she was calling into me, ”hello, hello”.  Our group of friendly neighbours caught her attention and pointed out our actual tent which was 4 tents over, and complete with poodle.  What strikes me as most unusual was that she was laughing at the fact that she had got confused and was not in the slightest bit aghast at having touched someone else’s socks.  Socks which are guaranteed to be absolutely stinking judging by our own.  My own socks were relatively new and are now completely trashed, destined for the bin.

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