Mountain marathon proves a little hairy

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:53 18 June 2010

Mountain marathon men Jim Pyne, left, and Pete McKeown

Mountain marathon men Jim Pyne, left, and Pete McKeown

The OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) is a peculiar event. It has been on the calendar for over 40 years and was formerly known as The Karrimor.

The OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) is a peculiar event. It has been on the calendar for over 40 years and was formerly known as The Karrimor.

Not strictly speaking a marathon, it is held over two days and the night is spent camping on the mountain using only the gear that you have been carrying around all day. Map reading skills are also essential as there are different routes and entrants are not allowed to reconnoitre the area beforehand and to this end only the general area of the race is announced when you first enter. This year it was Wales and eventually competitors were told that it would be based on the Elan Valley.

Teams of two have to navigate their way around the course, to various checkpoints, collecting points along the way and, disregarding the warning in the alternative name of the event (Older Maidens Mustn't), Bev Tarry and a friend set off together. They had practised the camping bit but the course and the weather was a pretty mixed bag. High winds, rain and sunny periods formed the backdrop to the hills made up of tussocks, peat bogs and hags. Bev disappeared into one bog thigh deep in mud which she found highly amusing, only when others suffered the same fate.

At times it became a bit hairy with winds pushing them towards cliff edges but eventually they completed the course and were pleased to have collected enough points for the award of a certificate. Bev recommends the event to all her fellow runners but we gave up listening to her advice a long time ago.

Veterans of tough events Jim Pyne and his Exmouth Harrier mate Pete McKeown spent too long admiring the scenery on day one, missing a turning (and 50 points) so they set out to raise their game - after spending the night at the 'hellish windy' campsite, and gathered 310 points in their six hour allocation on day two.

Jim said: "The terrain was similar to Dartmoor, open grassy expanses with areas of peat bog (Jim disappeared on one). It was a great weekend in the hills and big thanks to Pete, the Pyne family support crew and all the teams who made the pilgrimage from Devon."

With warmer temperatures and less daunting terrain Jo Earlam opted instead for the Island of Majorca and the Palma Marathon.

A quick flight, a night in a comfortable bed, a PB (well done, Jo) and the odd glass of wine on the beach seems like a much better deal.


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