OMM competitors finish the 2016 event

OMM competitors finish the 2016 event

One of the grand old institutions of the outdoors reaches its 50th birthday this year.

The Original Mountain Marathon has been held every year bar one since its inception in 1968.

It began life as the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon as a combined test of fellrunning, orienteering, hillwalking and trailrunning with an overnight wild camp. More than 100,000 entries later, it will be run again in October in a still secret location, in keeping with the event’s tradition.

The ethos of self-reliance and endurance means competitors are at the mercy of the elements – and their own decisions. In 2008 the elements got their way and the marathon was abandoned in mid-event as wild weather swept the Lake District fells and the OMM headquarters in Borrowdale was flooded.

The mountain marathon camp in 1977

The mountain marathon camp in 1977

Competitors in the event have included fellrunning legend Joss Naylor and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who took part in the mountain marathon in October 2006 before attempting his climb of the North Face of the Eiger.

More than 100 volunteers help run the OMM each year, and the event covers an area of 420 sq km.

The event is not-for-profit and any surplus after costs is donated to charities to improve hill access and outdoor education.

The OMM was the first event to have its own custom map after discussions with elite competitor and Harvey Maps owner Susan Harvey. To this day the OMM hill team provides ground assessments to improve UK mapping.

The mountain marathon is a test of navigation, strength and endurance

The mountain marathon is a test of navigation, strength and endurance

Organisers said: “The event is an important part of the UK outdoor history and we want to make sure the event will continue for generations to come.

“Everyone behind the OMM wants to keep the event fresh and exciting and we’re pleased to see our longstanding competitors return each year as well as new competitors coming in from other sports such as orienteering, ultrarunning and fellrunning.

“Uniquely the OMM is one of the few places you’ll see competitors predominantly from one sport compete against competitors from other sports. You’ll often see ultrarunning teams standing on the start line hoping for clear weather, next to an orienteering team hoping for bad weather.

“Looking ahead to this October we have a very special weekend planned and it will be one not to miss. We would like to invite anyone who has been involved or competed over the years to join us on the Friday night for an evening celebrating the community that has made the event what it is today.

“We would also welcome any supporters of competitor to join us and cheer them all back on the Sunday.

“As is the 50 year tradition the event location will be released in August, but OMM have said it will be in England on 28 and 29 October.”

Entries are open now at the OMM website.

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