The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM), formerly known as the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon (or KIMM), and initially simply The Karrimor, is a 2-day Mountain event, held in a different region across the UK every year.
The UK's biggest mountain race has shaped the UK outdoor community for 50 years. Since 1968 the UK’s greatest running legends, product creators & influential people have stood on the start line.
This year the Lake District National Park is hosting the 50th-anniversary race as part of highlighting their world heritage status and to also to get more people active.
The competitors spend 2 days of enjoyable suffering battling bogs, river crossings and weather. They only stop once they reach the overnight camp where 1000 tiny green tents are each crammed with 2 hardy competitors trying to get a good night sleep.
The 2017 race will be held around Scafell Pike with the course reaching 5 miles in every direction. The 2000 competitors represent 30 countries including 4 teams from Japan & Australia. The Elite Class have a 50-year rivalry between the Scandinavian Orienteers and UK Fell Runners. In 2016 Team GB Orienteers beat the Scandinavians at their own game to take the Elite title. With all the Elite winners from the last 10 years wanting the 50th title the Elite class will be an interesting race. The main field comprises of 60/40 men/women with all sizes, abilities and backgrounds attending. The race has a long history being passed down through generations. Many parents compete with their sons/daughters teaching them the skills needed in the mountains.
Duncan and Shane return this year to defend their 2016 Elite OMM crown.
Duncan Archer from Cleveland Orienteering Klub (CLOK), says:
“I’m super excited to be racing the OMM this weekend. Mountain marathons are an ultimate test of physical endurance and map reading skills, and orienteers can gain a real advantage with good macro route choices and fine navigation. Plus the 50th event, the largest entry for several years, and the backdrop of the iconic Lake District will all make it a memorable experience.”
Elite Men's 2016 Winners: Shane Ohly (Helm Hill) & Duncan Archer (Durham FR/CLOK).
Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer caught up with Steve Birkinshaw from West Cumberland Orienteering Club and Tom Fellbaum from Manchester and District Orienteering Club who will also be competing at this year's OMM 50th event this weekend taking place in the stunning scenery of the Lake District.
Steve Birkinshaw from West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC) competing says:
"I started orienteering my myself when I was seven and running and navigating in the mountains was for me a natural progression so when I was 16 I ran the OMM or KIMM as it was then called with my Dad. I have now run 26 OMMs and 20 on the Elite course."
I really enjoy entering the OMM as it takes place at the end of October, so any sort of weather is possible. For me the worse the weather the better I do as the navigation and my orienteering background become the key skill in getting round fast."
Tom Fellbaum from Manchester and District Orienteering Club (MDOC), says:
“I am taking part because I see the OMM as the ultimate test of strength, endurance and navigation ability. There are many aspects of the race to consider: fuel, hydration, speed, route choices, tactics and teamwork, all which make it a challenge for the mind as well as the body. From my background in orienteering, I have developed strong map reading skills which are so useful in mountain marathons, where avoiding climb, picking lines through terrain, flowing through controls and avoiding time losses are crucial when racing for around 6 hours a day. My main preparations for the race took place in September where I spent two weeks running up mountains across the west coast of Scotland. I also had two big weeks chasing juniors around forests in Stockholm. Apart from this I have been orienteering and fell running every weekend for the last three months.
Seeing orienteers dominate this event every year is really great to see. I think we take for granted our mental toughness, terrain running ability and navigation skills, which all combine to set us apart from the rest. I think this event is the main opportunity of the year to compete alongside non-orienteers and demonstrate the capabilities we have as top athletes, and hopefully, orienteering will continue to gain respect as the true adventure sport it really is.”
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish all British Orienteering members who are heading up to the Lake District to compete in the OMM 50th event this weekend all the very best with their route choices and navigation in this multi-day highly challenging navigational competition this weekend.
More information and Start Lists are available here.
Photos: kindly supplied by OMM.