50 Years and Counting!

Fifty years and over 100,000 entries later, the Original Mountain Marathon continues to go from strength to strength as an icon of the UK’s outdoor and running community.

The extreme two-day race, held at the end of October, started in 1968 to combine fell running, orienteering, hill walking, trail running and an overnight wild camp. With an ethos of self-reliance and endurance, competitors are at the mercy of the elements…and their own decisions.

The fifty year history of the OMM event is entwined in the development of the UK outdoor community and industry as a whole. Here’s some things you didn’t know about the OMM:

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  • In the early years, compact & lightweight equipment simply wasn’t available. Mountain Marathons pushed the boundaries of racers and kit, OMM innovated to meet this need.   Today’s OMM packs and clothing are less than half the weight of 1968 products and designed and tested for the event competitors needs.
  • The course requires a 420km2 area of wild space.
  • It takes over 100 volunteers to put on the weekend.
  • The impressive list of previous competitors competing regularly includes Joss Naylor & Sir Ranulph Fiennes.  “My last race prior to attempting the Eiger was the Karrimor Mountain Marathon (renamed the Original Mountain Marathon) in October 2006, aged sixty-two years. My team-mate and leader was John Brooke.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
  • 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 HARVEY Maps’ directors, Robin and Sue Harvey, themselves competitors.
  • To this day the OMM hill team provide ground assessments to improve UK mapping.
  • The planning team are advisors to the governing bodies and national parks. The teams’ decades of experience with ecologically responsible events has helped the BMC develop guidance for access and use of upland areas.
  • In 2013 after impressing the Brecon Beacons National Park with the organisation and ecological responsible approach the planning team helped the park to write their best practice documents for events.
  • In 50 years the event has only been cancelled once… ‘The great storm of 2008” made headline news.
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As the OMM heads to it’s 50th Anniversary the future looks exciting.  An increasingly diverse field and a new OMM LITE event series introducing the next generation and new outdoor enthusiasts to the October event, ensuring the OMM will continue for many years after the 50th.  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 long standing competitors return each year as well as new competitors coming in from other sports such as Orienteering, Ultra Running & Fell running. 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 Ultra Running team stood on the start line hoping for clear weather, stood next to an Orienteering team hoping for bad weather.

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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. Entries are open now, see you in October.

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