One of the biggest events on the fell runner’s calendar is the Original Mountain Marathon, or ‘The OMM’, a two-day orienteering challenge that’s been held in various wild corners of Britain since 1968. This year’s race came to Glentrool in south-west Scotland’s Galloway Forest Park. There, as OutdoorsRadar’s Will Renwick and his friend found out, the conditions were perfectly dreadful. Here’s the advice Will would like to pass on after his first time on the OMM…
Be prepared for bog. We knew that the course for the OMM would be tough going, but we had no idea it would be as boggy that.
Choose your footwear carefully. I had considered bringing some waterproof trail shoes I’ve been running in lately, and with hindsight I’m so glad I didn’t. Your feet will be wet no matter what so it’s best to have shoes that let water in but also let it out. And good grip is vital.
Pack light… really light. Most people who take part will be running with a sub 30-litre rucksack. Anything too big and you’ll struggle to move quickly enough over the terrain.
Brush up on your navigation beforehand. There’s no point being fit or fast if your navigation isn’t any good. There was a couple from Japan in our category who were always ahead of us despite the fact they were never running – their pinpoint navigation gave them the edge.
The direct route is rarely the fastest. When going from one checkpoint to another consider whether it’s better to take an indirect route and hold your height, rather than tackling contours.
Bring plastic bags for the camp. After a day in our soaked and mud caked shoes the last thing we wanted to do was get out of the tent and put them back on when nature called. We were just about the only pair who hadn’t thought to bring plastic bags to wear as socks at camp.
Get there early the night before. Not just for the famous ‘Pasta Party’, but to get some tips from those who’ve raced before. If we’d done this I like to think someone would’ve told us to check the code on the first checkpoint to make sure it was the right one for our category. Like headless chickens, we set off and scanned in at the first checkpoint we encountered – by scanning the wrong one we were disqualified within the first 20 minutes…
Have a laugh. Enjoy the mud, the views (if you’re lucky enough to be able to see them) and the camaraderie of it all. It’s a special event.
I’ll definitely be doing this again… and next time I’ll make sure my first checkpoint is the right one.