Last weekend saw the last race of the Open Adventure series with the Open 24 taking place in the Lake District. The event follows the very popular Open 5+ and Open 12 and is a 24 hour endurance race where pairs of athletes compete against each other over a course that involves mountain biking, fell running and kayaking, as well as several ‘special stages' over the course of the day. The event is incredibly challenging and arduous, and is not for the faint-hearted.
24 hours on your feet can leave you rendered pretty sore.
After a briefing about the route that they would be taking, and the issuing of maps and safety equipment, competitors began by hopping in their tandem kayaks and setting off from Pooley Bridge, Ullswater at 11am.
Competitors race South down the lake just after the start of the race.
Whilst on the water the teams had to visit checkpoints that were scattered throughout the lake and planted on the lake shore. Some were worth more points than others, and there was also a short course for those competitors who were entering the race to test themselves on a personal level.
pF athletes Anthony Cooper and Sally Ozanne cruising across Ullswater to take 4th place in the Open 24 and 2nd place in the series overall.
For the first special stage, immediately after the kayaking, the competitors were plunged in to darkness as they weaved their way through a series of man made tunnels. Again, there were checkpoints inside the tunnels and the teams had to find these checkpoints before moving on to the next challenge.
Navigating the tight and windy tunnels on the shores of Ullswater.
The teams also completed three sections of mountain biking over the 24 hours. This included a significant distance at night and in the early morning. The competitors generally agreed that the hardest part of the challenge was the bike push up the pass to Haweswater.
Registering the checkpoint on a sign post outside Ambleside during the night stage of the mountain bike section.
The other main sections of the challenge were the fell running stages. These sections contained checkpoints and targets that were distributed seemingly without correlation over a wide area, and athletes had to use tactics and cunning in order to determine the most effective route for bagging as many points as possible. The athletes also had to complete a section on Pinnacle Ridge that required them to gear up with harnesses and helmets in order to complete the ridge and progress on to the next running stage.
Heading down from the running stage after Pinnacle Ridge towards the next special stage.
The athletes also had to complete three further special stages involving ghyll scrambling, orienteering and a coasteering style traverse. The competitors strongly believed that these stages were the most fun and interesting of the whole course, and added a real sense of unique personality to the event.
pF athlete Matthew Martindale plunging in to the ghyll as part of the special stage.
Overall the event seemed very popular, with over 80 athletes competing in the competition. Whilst there was definitely fierce competition amongst the top end teams, the event is by no means reserved for professional athletes and many people from all walks of life enter the Open Adventure events every year.
Open 24 Results
1st Kim Norman/Jan Rogers - JaKim
2nd Jill Eccleston/Sharon McDonald - Castlebergoutdoors.co.uk
3rd Maria Dixon/Esther Hobson
1st Anthony Emmet/Alex Pilkington - Haglofs/planetFear
2nd Matthew Martindale/Jake Morgan - Team planetFear.com
3rd Edward Clifford/Alex Hinton - Tri Adventure
1st Astrid Gibbs/Tom Gibbs - Team adidas TERREX
2nd Fi Spotswood/Andy Wilson- For Goodness Shakes!
3rd Barbara Lonsdale/Andy Mitchell - Calder Valley
planetFear Open Endurance Series Final Standings
Female Pairs :
1st Maria Dixon/Esther Hobson - 295.65 Points
2nd Jill Eccleston/Sharon McDonald - 209.10 Points - Castlebergoutdoors.co.uk
3rd Kim Norman/Jan Rogers - 207.94 - Jakim
Male Pairs :
1st Matthew Martindale/Jake Morgan - 395.33 Points - Team planetFear.com
2nd Mark Howells/Tony Price - 296.67 Points - MLC
3rd Andrew Morris/Chris Morris - 269.44 Points - Mos Bros
Mixed Pairs :
1st Astrid Gibbs/Tom Gibbs - 422.83 Points - Team adidas TERREX
2nd Anthony Cooper/Sally Ozanne - 382.31 Points - Team planetFear.com
3rd Emma Van Der Gucht/Jack Venner - 366.69 Points - Team Berghaus Adventure
A huge congratulations to Team planetFear.com who not only achieved podium places in the Male Pairs category of the Open 24 but finished 1st in the Male Pairs category and 2nd in the Mixed Pairs category of the Endurance Series overall. Well done guys!
All images Matt Pycroft.
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