This article was originally published in Intrepid magazine August 2020
One cold October weekend I completed my second Original Mountain Marathon. After two quite contrasting experiences, I think I’m starting to have an idea of why some people come back year after year, while others understandably say, 'never again!'
The OMM isn't like a typical trail race and if you were hoping to follow the red flags you'd be disappointed. However, the added challenge of having to navigate your route is what brings people back year after year. It is also probably why so many of the top mixed and female teams last year were of ‘veteran’ age. Rather than blindly running for the next checkpoint, having the experience of knowing when to stay high, or what ground is fastest to travel across can make all the difference.
Overall, the navigation in the Black Mountains felt easier than the Lake District the previous year, although the horrendous weather did mean that lots of the checkpoints required a bum slide down a gully to reach.
The weather is a major factor when assessing the difficulty of the OMM. Last year was pretty epic with 60mph winds and 5m visibility on the Saturday. This year was no easier and saw us running through hail and snow with reported temperatures on the Saturday of -12c and a freezing overnight camp.....
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