Competitors take part in last year's OMM

Competitors take part in last year's OMM

A challenge event that grew out of a pub conversation will celebrate its 50th anniversary this weekend.

The Original Mountain Marathon will be staged over two days in the Lake District, with an expected 2,000 competitors.

The OMM began life as the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon after a 1968 interchange in the pub between two protagonists over bragging rights as to who was the most capable in the UK mountains.

It became the Original Mountain Marathon in 2004 and four years later had to be abandoned midway through after storms lashed the Lake District and flooded the Borrowdale headquarters.

The challenge is held in a different location each year, with the course being revealed only shortly before the event. Organisers said this year’s OMM will take place in Great Langdale over Saturday and Sunday, when runners in teams of two will disappear into the Cumbrian fells in search of checkpoints across 100 sq miles of upland terrain.

An OMM spokesperson said: “The competitors are a special breed who relish the enjoyable suffering of clambering through bogs, river and anything the UK weather can throw at them.

“Wendy Dodds will be completing her 47th out of 50 year races this year. 200 under-21s will start their first event, some running with their parent, while brave competitors running with their partners will be heard arguing their way around the course.

“The OMM is an excuse for a load of like-minded people who love the mountains to get together. It’s a special event; the sight of 1,000 tiny tents at the halfway camp surrounded by competitors sharing stories in the pouring rain. It’s some serious type-two fun.”

The OMM promotes self-reliance and taking responsibility for your actions. No GPS is allowed; no phones, just the runner, a map and his or her team-mate trying to figure out a route across the mountains.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary the team behind the OMM has invited everyone who has been involved over the years to the event. The spokesperson said: “Given the event’s pedigree this includes most of the great running legends, product creators and influential people that have made the UK outdoors what it is today.

“We wish all the competitors the best of luck.”

The first KIMM took place around Muker in the northern Yorkshire Dales. The event has been staged in areas as diverse as the Isle of Arran; Brecon Beacons; Scottish Borders; the Cowal Peninsula; Howgills; Kielder Forest and Dartmoor.

This year’s OMM starts on Saturday 28 October.

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