The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) is a two-day Mountain event, set in a different region throughout the United Kingdom each year. The OMM is the pinnacle of mountain challenges, designed to test orienteering skills under extreme circumstances. What makes the OMM unique is that participants must battle with complex variables throughout the race – skill must equal speed for any hope of completing the challenge which was first held in 1968 (the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon).
A challenger must run – as part of a team of two - through the rugged underfoot terrain of mountainous landscapes, dealing with difficult October weather conditions, to find a route around a course, that is not disclosed until the race begins. Participants must carry their own food, kit, and equipment, which includes all the gear for an overnight camp. For those who make it through day one, day two requires the same exceptional navigation skills and good mountain judgement of the previous day, but on tired legs and with limited sleep.
The event is designed to challenge endurance and test mountain skills from the start line, where each team is given a map of their choosing. The pair must plan a route to find the checkpoints around the course. Those checkpoints are worth points, which vary in value depending on difficulty of location. The team with the most points at the end of the race are crowned the winners!
The event is gruelling and forces individuals to confront their skills, capabilities, fortitude, and stamina at every turn; but those who have beaten the test pledge that it was worth every moment of battle.
The race directors at OMM advise, “The OMM is designed to test your abilities in the mountains. Anyone can get up Scafell Pike on a sunny day, but can you make good decisions when the clag comes in, visibility has gone, you’re tired, you’re wet, cold & there’s no paths to follow? Held at the end of October to guarantee bad weather.”
“To compete you’ll need a teammate, mountain experience & dogged resilience. It’s all about decision making, what kit you’ll need, what route to take, how hard to push & what to do when you get lost… which you will. “It’s not easy, at times soul destroying, but the experience is unmissable!” – OMM.
Still here? …
… Then let us delve deeper into what is needed to take on the OMM – for those wild enough to still be contemplating their participation!
Are you ready to take on the OMM?
Similar to the Barkley Marathon – where the start line brims with international elites yet the DNF rate is 99% - the OMM is not a simple test of endurance, but skill, ability and orienteering experience. A stellar form, solid nutrition plan, and a race history full of FKT’s will aid - but not assure - on a course where the landscape can swallow those who go along unprepared.
Comprehensive preparation and training for this mountain marathon are as crucial as salt tablets and jelly tots at the Great North Run. Participants should have a good understanding of the elements involved and the skill set to navigate them.
Luckily, for those who are keen to sign up to the epic mountain challenge but are not confident that they have the skills required (or those that would like to develop their skill set further) the OMM offers detailed training courses for these events, which are delivered through OMM approved training providers around the country …
… Not only are no-mad Adventures one of those registered providers, but they are also the only OMM approved training source in Wales!
no-mad Adventure OMM Training weekends
Training weekends are set in Snowdonia National Park, where no-mad Adventures guides groups through wild spaces, supporting them to practice the level of navigation that is required to compete in the OMM.
As the quickest routes do not always follow a straight line, being able to look at the map and pinpoint the most efficient way forwards is essential, this will help with route selection from the start line. A good ‘map-trained’ eye can quickly spot whether the fastest way around will ascend or descend, or if the ground ahead is rocky or likely to be bogged. Often, efficiency is far more important than speed – this is especially true at the OMM.
Over the course of the training weekend with no-mad Adventures, you will wild camp, giving you the opportunity to learn campcraft in preparation for the two-day event. The campcraft section of the weekend will highlight how to stay warm and dry, maintaining comfortability at the OMM - two soggy socks can be the trigger to a speedy downfall!
In addition to sustaining dry feet – you will learn how to prepare for a good night’s sleep, which can make all the difference in a challenge comprised of good judgement, detailed focus, and execution of trained skill.
The training weekend also delves deep into kit selection. The mountain marathon challenge is an event where kit is particularly crucial – but knowing how to use your gear is much more important. Not only will this guidance help you during the camp out at the OMM, but it just might save you a pretty penny too! Knowing how to use inexpensive kit - in the correct way - can deliver as effective results as higher cost items.
It is recommended that you attend the training weekend with the person who will race with you at the event.
During the no-mad Adventures OMM training weekend, you and your teammate will learn all the essential skills required to take on the mountain challenge, reducing the risk of mishaps and errors, while enhancing the chances of an awesome experience.
Mountain Marathon Days
For those who would like to practice a specific skill or would prefer to commit to one day as opposed to a weekend, no-mad Adventures also offer mountain marathon days – training that focuses on answering your questions and equipping you with skills in a single day.
Learning how to move efficiently in mountain terrain, understanding navigation, campcraft, and getting to grips with equipment, as well as, good nutrition and hydration practices, are some examples of areas that can be successfully targeted and discussed in a single day training session.
For more information on how no-mad Adventures can support you, or to book your place on the OMM training weekend/Mountain Marathon days, get in touch email@example.com or
01341 29 30 31
Written by Sophie Hunt, freelance journalist check her website here - https://sophieoutdoors.wordpress.com/