Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) 2006

Alex – where’s John?

It was an early start for the first ever OMM this year. Held in the Galloway Mountains, it was a toss up between going up on the Friday and having an extra night under damp canvas, or a 4.30am start on the Saturday. In the end the comfy dry bed won out and it was a half asleep me who joined Alex, Jan and Brian in the wee small hours for the journey north.

Alex and I were in the A class, Jan and Brian the long score and Gary and Pete the short score. We had a long walk from the car park to the start and at 9am we were off. There were some familiar faces from previous LAMMs and KIMMs including the southern London boys, but no sign of our friends from the LAMM who’d trailed us all the way just to pass us at the end!

It was a tough first day with fog and rain, a real test of the navigational skills, and we had a good day route choice wise. After about 3 checkpoints Al started to really struggle, looked like he might stop altogether and I even had to carry his rucksack! (Or was that me, Al? Hmm… maybe!) Seriously, I learnt a harsh lesson that you can’t tackle the OMM after not eating anything since porridge at 4am! A sandwich and a Mars bar later and things were looking a lot better.

Approaching the finish we had a mild déjà vu when one of our LAMM friends popped up as a B class contender and a sprint for the line was on the cards. Al was up for it, but I sadly didn’t have the legs. We finished in the rain thinking we’d be about 20th and so were made up to find out we were second overnight. The first placers were young GB orienteers Neil Northrop and Matthew Crane (who cropped up again in December as the fastest Leg 2 pairing on the Calderdale, running for Dark Peak) who had a significant lead.

Once the tent was pitched it was time to look forward to a restful, comfortable night’s sleep. Actually, it was another typical mountain marathon night spent pretending to be asleep and listening to snores all around!

On the winners’ podium

Day 2 dawned much brighter and dry with good visibility. We set off well and had a good day. We felt we were really flying so we were surprised to find at the end that we were only seventh fastest for the day. We were delighted though, because overall we had held onto our second place by just three minutes. The first place team had increased their lead to win by about an hour and a half, a really impressive performance.

I’m not sure about finishing positions for Jan and Brian but I hear they had a good run. I don’t think Gary and Pete had their best result, but still enjoyed the weekend. Overall we covered about 40 miles and about 13,000ft of climb. A great event, enjoyable experience and certainly one of the highlights of my running year. Cheers to Al for another good partnership on the mountains.

John Murfin