The Mountain Marathon Thread

16 messages
15/10/2012 at 08:21

Any one else entered?

I am in for Long Score class. All good training for the winter 100. Hope the conditions are as good as on the RAB MM!

Not much on the forum about mountain marathons. For folks who have never tried them they are seriously fun and with the added twist of navigation.

15/10/2012 at 10:15

My hubby is in for the short score and has done ZERO training - so that will be 'interesting' for him!!!! Don't think his partner has done much either though so at least they are evenly matched!

I guess it depends what you consider 'good' conditions, OMM weather is usually pretty vile from my own recollections from taking part - but then that is what I love about them.

We are due snow in Scotland by early November ...

15/10/2012 at 14:17

I'm in with Matt, my mental approach has always been expect to be wet, cold, hungry and knackered and anything else is a bonus, had a break the last two years so looking forward to it....

cougie    pirate
15/10/2012 at 14:27

What kind of footwear do you use for these ? I'm rubbish off road - I'd be much better in walking boots - slower - but at least I'd feel more confident of not needing a rescue helicopter !

15/10/2012 at 18:16

Not done a mountain mara this year, but I've always worn trail shoes ... normal road trainers will be absolutely useless. I am guessing if you don't have any trainers that are worn in but you have boots that are and you can move well in them then they would be better?  What course are you entered in, are you hoping to 'just get round in timescales' or feeling more up for a race/competition?

And yes, I always enter these things expecting the absolute worse (cold/hungry/wet) and anything different is definitely a bonus!!!

15/10/2012 at 20:00

cragchick: How much (weight wise) do you have to carry on these? I'm thinking it would quickly reach 10 kg with tent, sleeping bag, food, water, emergency clothing etc. - which is more than 20% of my bodyweight!

15/10/2012 at 21:10

Hmmm, Debra, never actually weighed my pack. I'm just under 5ft 3 and probs weigh in about 7st 4 ... last summer when I did the Saunders my friend and I went what we felt was pretty light (too light actually as we froze! - the skies were so clear that there was nearly a frost). Some people have mega mega light packs, but they are the ones who do this stuff regularly and invest in pretty lightweight gear whereas mine is a bit cobbled together ... however I carried the following:

  • Tent: Terranova 1.5 man thing (one pole mega light);
  • 3/4 length thermarest (others use balloon beds or the like)
  • 1 x tesco value sleeping bag (think piece of tissue paper!!!) so will stick to my usual down 3 season next time!
  • 1 x full set waterproofs (used these in sleeping bag to keep warm!!!) - lightweight Marmot ones though
  • 1 x small plastic mug
  • 1 x small pan to heat water in
  • 1 pocket rocket with smallest gas cylinder + matches
  • Petzl torch + spare batteries
  • spare socks
  • thermal leggings
  • spare fleece
  • hat & gloves
  • very basic 1st aid kit (think plaster, sanitary towel, bandage)
  • food (porridge, packet raisins, sachet hot choc, sachet soup, hot meal cook in bag, choc rolls, flapjack, rehydration sachets, teabags, jelly babies), food bags


Think that's about it. Felt fine, could yomp quite well with it. Fine line between too much and not enough kit. Food and tent is split with you and partner. I have a 25 ltr OMM (well mines a kIMM) sac and that is sufficient. If I did it more regularly I'd invest in a better sleeping bag for sure.  Like everything else, you have to train to conditions so I usually go out with a fairly laden rucsac whatever the terrain - even along canal towpaths!!

Edited: 15/10/2012 at 21:12
15/10/2012 at 23:12

OMM basic kit should fit in a 25l pack. Most carry a 6-7kg pack( without water) add 2kg for first timers and subtract 2kg for the elite class who are quite happy to shiver all night for the sake of less weight! Light weight tents and sleeping bags are expensive.

Shoes -- Fell shoes addidas swoops, walsh ,salomon speedcross, inovate rocklight/mudclaw.   Trail shoes and boots are not much good as they are too wide and don,t have enough grip.

Mountain Marathons have several classes:both linear and sometimes score. The score classes are favoured by orienteers as they are far more tactical and demand numerous navigation decisions. On a score course you have a set time to visit as many checkpoints as possible, if you are late back you rapidly loose points! The linear courses are graded so the navigation is more complex on the longer courses.On a linear course you have to visit all the checkpoints in a set order.

If you like running  in wild places and would like to learn to navigate then give it a go. Having said that you should remember that the OMM is specifically staged in late october so the runners are tested by the conditions.

16/10/2012 at 09:21

Ian has summed it up brilliantly! And there is a great selection on offer in the UK what with the OMM (October), Lamm (June), Saunders (July), RAB (Sept?) and the Mourne in Ireland but don't know when it is! Plus another one down in the SW possibly in the summer too. So plenty of choice, and being Britain, specific weather is not guaranteed relating to the time of year ... spent a whole weekend on the Saunders micro naving the whole way due to no visibility in the height of mid-summer! But the OMM is usually pretty 'challenging' weather-wise!! 

16/10/2012 at 09:50

So, 6 - 7 kg plus water - I was not far off in my estimate. I do regularly run my long runs carrying about 4 - 4.5 kg including water, but it looks like I'd be at least doubling that.

I've been looking at prices of lightweight tents and stuff for a while. Lightweight tens appear to be £300-£400+. Sleeping bags £150-£200+... Gets expensive to do one of these events! Not so bad if you're backpacking regularly and gradually buying better gear, I suppose, but a lot of outlay otherwise.

As far as navigation goes, I've done a bit, but there's a reason I'm going on the Sunday navigation course after the November Lakeland 50 recce... And I don't think I know anyone else who would be interested.

Oh well, something to consider for the future, if I do find a potential OMM-ing partner!

16/10/2012 at 12:40

We got our 'mountain marathon' tent in a sale for about £150 I think about 3 years ago now. Would never have paid full price for it but then we have quite the collection of tents in our house, what with mountain camping tents (quasars), base camping tent and a family camping tent too!!!  It does all add up which is why I haven't splashed out on much specific stuff - just things like a decent lightweight waterproofs which works for rougher ultras, a lightweight stove which I use on daytrips out with the kids too! shoes which I would have anyway for all the other stuff and the rest of the kit is bits of mountaineering stuff, buffs, gloves etc.  For my first ever event my partner and I managed to borrow a tent.

Finding a willing partner who is also willing to run is always my biggest struggle and I have failed so far on that ... most of my 'victims' are from a mountaineering background and the concept of running is totally alien to them!!

16/10/2012 at 15:16

Check Ebay for tents. The standard is the Terra nova laser (used by 80% of mm runners) There is a continual upgrade reducing the weight so the top runners upgrade and sell off last years gear. Most competitive runners have tents under 1kg but a 2kg tent is only an extra 500g each between two of you. If you do buy second hand and are over 6ft tall get a standard laser as the laser comp and photon will be too short for you.

As far as navigation is concerned try orienteering. Ordinary nav classes are ok but wont teach you to nav on the run. Navigation under the pressure of a race is a whole different ball game! Orienteering will instantly expose any nav weakness besides which it is seriously fun once you grasp the concept that you can only move as fast as you can nav. A good time to start orienteering is while you are injured and physically can,t move fast.

Orienteering clubs are a good place to find a MM partner.

Edited: 16/10/2012 at 15:18
22/10/2012 at 21:04

Forecast  of - 8 c and snow this could be an interesting weekend in the Howgills!

Widespread panic buying of down gear also forecast.

29/10/2012 at 21:58

Turned out not as cold as first forecast. Day one V cold dry wind then day two wet/windy with clag on the tops. Don,t know about the linear classes but day one on score was steep climbs and fast contouring (averaged 5km/h). Day two the planner lured us off to the east and a long slog through the bogs that I had not anticipated.

Back home now with one enormous blister, sore feet and a cut hand. Feel all the better for 7+6 hrs in racing mode over steep terrain . Thank god for grippy fell shoes anything wider would have made contouring impossible given the steepness of the sides of the Howgills.

How did the rest of you get on?

29/10/2012 at 22:36
Class A - Day One started with a steep climb and an out and back descent / ascent on decent ground and then some nice runnable trail last 60% was a bog slog but not as bad as ??lan Valley.

Day 2 was tough, lots of straight up and down and contouring, hardest class A day I have experienced by a margin and didn't have enough food so a bit of a suffer fest. Lots of DNF's not sure if this was across all classes?

The Howgills impressed both in vista and toughness.

Final thought living in Wales, a few more sheep and sheep tracks would have been prefect
30/10/2012 at 21:16

I  must admit I was surprised by the number of teams who came in way after dark on day one. Several must have been timed out. Sounds as if day 2 was even worse. The  conditions won,t have helped, driving rain and clag really sap your energy.

Another good reason for entering score classes , at least you know when you will get to the camp site.

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