Competitors and organisers are gearing up for this year’s Karrimor International Mountain Marathon which we must now call the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM).

The event, which will forever be the KIMM to most involved in it, takes place next month in the Galloway Forest Park in southern Scotland. It runs over two days and is for teams of two. There are still a few places left, but only on the elite, A-class and ‘long-score’ courses.

This will be the third time the event has been run in Galloway during its 39-year history. The first mountain marathon took place around Muker in the northern Dales and has spawned similar cousins in Norway, Indonesia and Japan.

The OMM is a test of strength, stamina and navigational skills. Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers are banned and competitors must be self-sufficient during the challenge, carrying their food, tents and equipment. Distances covered range from 80km in the elite class down to 40km in the C class. Fell-walkers as well as adventure runners take part.

Karrimor dropped its lead sponsorship of the race, hence the change of name.

Competitors do not learn the course until they get to the start and reconnoitring is strictly forbidden. The marathon takes place on 28 and 29 October, a time of year deliberately chosen to add a little extra in the way of potentially challenging weather. Base for 2006 is Talnotry, near New Galloway.

The classes for the shorter events fill up quickly, and at least one of the team will need mountain marathon experience even to be considered for entry. There’s a forum on the website on which you can register and begin your search for a partner. Entries for next year’s OMM open in March, so if you’re considering entering next year’s get looking for a partner now and get training.