Less Than 3 Weeks To Go!

LESS THAN 3 WEEKS TO GO!

Not long until we will all be gathering in a field, deep in the Black Mountains of South Wales for the 51st OMM.

We hope your training is going well (or at least going!).

Below you will find some more useful info ahead of the event plus a few friendly reminders.

DOING OUR PART FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!

Events can be heavy on single use items like plates & cups. Our goal is to reduce the environmental impact of the OMM event as much as possible. We need your help to do this….

RECYCLING
As with all our events, we will be using a specialist waste management firm to collect, sort and recycle all the waste from the event. They work to keep as much, if not all, of the waste collected, out of landfill plus do all the sorting off site, meaning we don’t have to worry about sorting it at the event!

DEPOSIT SCHEME
This will be our first year using a deposit scheme for pint pots at the bar. A £1.50 deposit gets you a reusable pint pot that you can then either return when you’re finished or else keep as a memento! This will drastically reduce our plastic use and hopefully set the standard for future events.

USE YOUR OWN MUG
You are free to use your own mug for hot drinks at the Event HQ, we will have cups available but we hope by using your own mugs, we can reduce waste further. Keep your mug handy at the finish on Sunday for squash and water!
Note: You are unable to use your own mugs for beer!

You can find out more about our commitment to sustainability at the event in our latest article.

CALLING NEW YEAR CLUB MEMBERS.

To recognise the incredible achievement of competing or being involved in the OMM for 20, 30 or even 40 years! The OMM year clubs highlight these committed (or need committing) individuals.

If you think you may qualify to become a member of this elite group email emma@theomm.com and let us know!

PASTA PARTY & TEE-SHIRTS

+Update 12th Oct+

Pre-orders for the event are no longer available but the following can be purchased at the event:  

  • T-shirts
  • Mugs
  • Gas
  • Friday Pasta Party.

COACHES TO THE EVENT CENTRE

Update 12th Oct Online booking of transfer is no longer available but if you require one contact emma@theomm.com who may be able to assist you.

TEAM CHANGES & CANCELLATIONS

Changes to your team or to the course you have entered can be requested up to Friday 12th October, by emailing emma@theomm.com.

After 12th October, amendments to teams can be made at registration.
Note: We can not guarantee course changes but will do our best to accommodate any requests.

CANCELLATIONS 

+UPDATE 12th OCT+   We have no further teams on the waiting list and the list is now closed.   Our usual cancellation policy now applies (see below)

For any cancellations received up to  1 Aug 18, a refund (-10% admin fee) is made.  After this date we cannot offer a refund as we have already paid for your attendance.  The event is run on a not for profit basis and one of the ways of keeping the costs as low as possible is to agree numbers as far in advance of the event as possible, hence why it becomes more expensive to enter as we get closer to the event.  For these reasons we are also unable to defer entries to future events.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to fill out the Competitor Declaration, this will speed things up at registration.

You can keep up to date with all the event news on our News Feed, where you’ll find useful links and articles ahead of the big weekend.

Event HQ & Latest Info

Not long to go now!

We will be keeping you up to date via emails in the run up to the event plus here on our Event News Feed, where you’ll find all the latest updates and key info.

Please ensure you read the Event Details which include the all important rules and everything else you need to know about the weekend.

You can also check our Kit List to make sure you are fully prepared ahead of October.

Event HQ & Location
The 51st OMM Event HQ will be in the beautiful Llanthony Valley in the Black Mountains:

Maes-y-Beran
South of Llanthony
NP7 7NL 

Parking/Camping
Parking (on grass) for cars and campervans is included in your entry, as is camping on Friday evening.
Please arrive with at least 2 persons per vehicle.
Spare seats? Why not offer free spaces to other competitors on the OMM Competitors Facebook page.

Accommodation
If you’d like a little more luxury for Friday night, there are several accommodation options within a few miles of the Event HQ – but book early to avoid disappointment!

Motorhomes/minibuses
No vehicles longer than 7m can access the event parking due to the size and steepness of the access road.  If you have any concerns about vehicle access contact emma@theomm.com.

Coach Transfer

+Update 12th Oct+ Online booking of transfer from Abergavenny Station to the event HQ is no longer available.   If you require a transfer and have not yet booked contact emma@theomm.com who may be able to help.

Cancellations 

+UPDATE 12th OCT+   We have no further teams on the waiting list and the list is now closed.   Our usual cancellation policy now applies (see below)

For any cancellations received up to  1 Aug 18, a refund (-10% admin fee) is made.  After this date we cannot offer a refund as we have already paid for your attendance.  The event is run on a not for profit basis and one of the ways of keeping the costs as low as possible is to agree numbers as far in advance of the event as possible, hence why it becomes more expensive to enter as we get closer to the event.  For these reasons we are also unable to defer entries to future events.

Amendments to Team or Course   
Up until Friday 12th October, any amendments to team details or course you have entered should be emailed to emma@theomm.com after that time all amendments must be done at registration.

We cannot guarantee it will be possible to change course after September 27th. 

Food at the OMM
The fantastic menu for the weekend is here.  Friday night pasta party pre-orders are no longer available but can be purchased on the night.

If you have a gluten free or vegan diet please let us know by filling out this form.

Pre-Orders
Pre-orders for gas, t-shirts and mugs are no longer available but can be purchased at the event.

Questions
If you have any queries not answered in the event details then please get in touch by emailing emma@theomm.com or use our new Live Chat function here on the website (Mon-Sat 9:00am – 5:30pm)

Happy training and see you in October!

Team OMM

GPYes or GPNo

GPYes or GPNo?

The use of GPS devices in fell races is under question, which side do you fall on?

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past few months or else are lucky enough to not have an internet connection, it can’t have escaped your attention that there has been something of a furore (a ruckus even!) over changes or proposed changes, to rules surrounding the use of GPS devices in fell races.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR?

The debate has, arguably, been a long time coming as the growth in popularity of GPS enabled devices and their availability has meant every start line now rings to a chorus of beeps from the off.

The first rumbles were quite muted, with a general discussion on the FRA (Fell Runner’s Association) online forum.

Initial statements from the FRA committee were fairly open to the use of the devices, pointing out that (particularly) Champs races are rarely a matter of navigation.

This stance was soon put into question when the first counter in the British Fell Champs turned into a very definite navigation exercise in thick clag over the often featureless Mourne Mountains.

Several clubs had already made their position known, though only on race entries as opposed to a public statement, with CFRA (Cumberland Fell Runners Association), organisers of Wasdale and Ennerdale among other races, stating that GPS devices may be carried but not used for navigation.

THE FIRST MOVE.

It was Ambleside AC who fired the first major salvos across the bows of the fell running world though, with a thorough and detailed public statement laying out what they believe the effects of these devices are on the sport of fell running and the rules under which all their future races will be conducted.

With a fairly unambiguous message that:

“use of a GPS-enabled watch for navigational assistance is not permitted.”

See the full statement here

This triggered a landslide of responses from all corners of the hill, fell and mountain running world with thousands of comments and replies across social media and online forums.

The debate even made headlines nationally, being picked up by The Telegraph among others.

GPYes says…

  • Fell running is about running and the majority of people just follow the person in front, so navigation rarely comes into it
  • A GPS device can be the difference between getting a bit lost then finding your way back home safely and getting completely lost, off course and left exposed on a hillside with potentially fatal consequences.
  • GPS just represents one more advancement that will be inevitable absorbed into the sport, just as lightweight kags and sticky rubber were.
  • All runners are required to carry map and compass under FRA rules but how many actually know how to use them? There is no way of checking if they do or not, yet they are allowed to enter races.
  • There are plenty of orienteering races if you want a navigation challenge.
  • These devices are so cheap now (and most phones have it built in), anyone can have one.
  • Those that have recce’d the route or raced it before will have an advantage anyway
  • It will be impossible to police.
  • Map and compass is not infallible
  • It will put off new-comers

“I believe that navigation with a map and compass is a fundamental part of fell running and fell racing. The history and fundamental skills required are based on this as well as the obvious physical requirements.” – Wendy Dodds

GPNo say..

  • Fell running is a test of all round mountain-craft i.e. the ability to get oneself around a set course (or between set checkpoints) over challenging terrain using skills honed over many hours in the hills
  • Reliance on electronic devices erodes self-sufficiency and puts the user at risk when the device fails, and the skill required to navigate without it are rusty or lacking entirely
  • A GPS enabled device is an unnecessary distraction on the hill, a place where most of us go to avoid the encroachment of modern life
  • All those that enter races sign a declaration that they have the necessary skills to get themselves around the course safely. If they do not have these skills and require a GPS to do it, they should not be entering the race.
  • There are plenty of fully-marked trail races if that’s what people want to enter
  • It is not in the spirit of the sport
  • No everyone can afford such devices
  • Recce’ing these routes is part of the fun
  • GPS is not infallible
  • It will put off new-comers

THE CURRENT POSITION.

As Ambleside point out, these rules apply to runners vying for 1st, 5th, 50th or 500th place as it is the runners around you that you are racing, even if you’re not troubling the podium.

The current position from the FRA is that it is up to the RO’s discretion to ban the use of these devices in races but the requirement to carry map and compass remains unchanged. The matter is currently being discussed and any amendments to current rulings will be published in the next issue of the newsletter. No doubt the AGM in August will see some lively debate too!

The challenge for the FRA and Race Organisers is balancing safety of competitors while still preserving the spirit of the sport and ensuring a fair playing field.

The policy is you can:
Wear or carry a GPS device
Record your route
See your distance travelled.

What you cannot do is:
Follow a pre-loaded so-called breadcrumb trail (i.e. set points previously run or plotted that lets you just follow the arrow on the watch face).
Use a device with a map display
Preload checkpoint locations onto your device.

HOW OMM MANAGES GPS USE.

As for our position, it remains unchanged; The OMM is an all-round test of mountain skills, a very big part of which is a competitor’s ability to navigate their way (as a team) around a series of checkpoints, using a map and compass. This was the spirit in which the event was founded 51 years ago, and it remains so to this day.

In recognition of the growing popularity of GPS enabled watches and phone apps, we do state that they may be carried but not used for navigation. If they are used for navigation, it must only be in an emergency, in which case you will be retired from the event anyway.

“We are very happy for competitors to carry GPS… (but) they should not be used for navigation and their use goes against the Corinthian nature of the competition” – Stuart Hamilton, OMM Events Director

The obvious problem we and any race organiser faces is that of policing. How can a RO know if someone is hiding a device and surreptitiously navigating with it?

The simple answer is they can’t. Any rules such as these are only as good as the integrity of the competitor. Thankfully, ours is a sport well defined by its spirit of sportsmanship and the general consensus from online discussion was that while it may be impossible to police thoroughly, once the rules are made clear, the spirit of the sport will prevail, and the vast majority of competitors will abide by them. Those that don’t or are tempted not to will only really be cheating themselves and run the risk of being dobbed in by fellow competitors.

Whatever the ruling from the FRA and whatever the future developments lie in store for fell running, we just hope the spirit of the sport and the sense of fair play that attracts so many of us to it, is preserved.

Postscript: For an interesting discussion on this matter (and a variety of other subjects!) check out the Kong Adventure ‘Running Talk’ Podcast here.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The poll is now closed. Thank you for you responses you can view the results following the link below. You are welcome to download a copy to use elsewhere.

Last Of The LAMM

LAST OF THE LAMM

Last weekend it was announced that it was the end of the LAMM.

The treasured Mountain Marathon, held for the past 24 years among the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, this highlight of the racing calendar will be sadly missed.

But there is hope!….will there be another Highlands & Islands MM?

We look back at the history of the event and the future of Mountain Marathons as a whole.

This year sees the end of a 24 year era, as the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon, or LAMM, announces this to be its final year. With a fittingly dramatic swan song on the Isle of Harris earlier this month, organiser Martin Stone declared that this was to be it and with it, nearly a quarter of a century of Scottish Highland and Island adventure.

a gentle breeze, pristine beaches, flat dry grass and the sound of the pipes reverberating around the glen

The LAMM followed a similar structure as the OMM, with an overnight camp and self-supported navigation but always held in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Being held on the first weekend in June ensured there was a (slightly) better chance of (slightly) better weather than in October’s OMM but did mean there was a high likelihood of losing several pints of blood to the infamous midge.

Each year of the LAMM felt like a classic, thanks to the stunning Scottish landscapes that competitors passed through. From its inception in 1994, held among the spectacular Arrochar Alps, the quality of venues and course setting has always been of the highest standard.

Notably among the 23 editions, the 1997 event was held on the island of Paps, whirlpools, Orwell and whisky; Jura. This was a rare treat for mountain marathons and was immortalised in a documentary, available to watch below..

Being held on the first weekend in June ensured there was a (slightly) better chance of (slightly) better weather than in October’s OMM

Founder, Martin Stone, was at the forefront of fell and mountain running and endurance racing for many years, with several podium finishes in the Elite class of the OMM and famously taking the win, along with race partner Helen Whittaker (nee Diamantides), in the inaugural 1992 Dragon’s Back race. Needless to say he know’s a thing or two about what makes a race special.

30th-1st July

15th-16th September

29th-30th September

27th-28th October

Whats next for Mountain Marathons in Scotland?

We’re saddened to hear that Martin and the LAMM are calling it a day. The big open wilderness’ of Scotland are some of the best Mountain Marathon territory in the UK. But there’s good news, we spoke to Shane Ohly, organiser of the ROC Mountain Marathon, who has confirmed he will be creating a new Mountain Marathon in the highlands & islands on the same weekend to take the place of the LAMM.

Speaking to Shane he wants to keep a mountain marathon in the  Highland. He mentioned that the expansive terrain & large ranges are perfect mountain marathon country. We look forward to hearing more details about the event and will keep everyone informed as information is confirmed.

How we’re growing Mountain Marathon participation.

If you’re reading this then you’ll be as passionate about our sport as we are. We want to see all the Mountain Marathon events growing and the awareness of the ethos behind the events reach the wider outdoor users.

Our approach is two fold. One, to support all the existing Mountain Marathon events and inspire our existing competitors to keep coming back each year.

Secondly to bring new competitors in. Over the last few years we’ve developed the OMM LITE format as a feed series. OMM LITE uses the same basic format as the big MM’s but without some of the gnarly bits. This has been very successful every year which last May culminated in the first ever OMM Festival.

The OMM Festival was attended by over 2000 competitors and spectators with 50% experiencing the Mountain Marathon format for the first time. We’re pleased to see an increased number of first time competitors feeding into the October OMM from the Festival as well as Orienteering, Ultra Running & other activities. Next year will be the second OMM Festival and we hope to build on the success of this years event.

Results from the last ever LAMM

For more information and a great race report of the final LAMM, look no further than Jon Brook’s great write up, we are also indebted to him for these great photos: http://www.lamm.co.uk/2018/saturday.html

The only other medical emergency was a man at the overnight asking for Vaseline, but he didn’t specify what he wanted to do with it.

The calendar ahead has some great racing to come with some places still available in most of the events. Check it out here: http://theomm.com/british-mountain-marathon-calendar-2018/

Thank you Martin!!

On behalf of all the competitors & the Mountain Marathon community who have competed in the LAMM over the years we would like to thank Martin and everyone that has been involved.

If you would like to thank Martin he will be at the October OMM in his other difficult role of processing the 2000 competitors results.