Adventurer Chris Nicholson to set Guinness World Record completing the OMM Festival’s 10km trail race in a wheelchair

Adventurer Chris Nicholson to set Guinness World Record completing the OMM Festival’s 10km trail race in a wheelchair

For all but a few Elite runners, Mountain Marathon’s are a test of your mental and physical mettle.  Your determination to succeed pushes you through normal barriers and as you experience challenges it redefines your limits.  When Chris Nicholson turned up at the OMM office in his wheelchair, we thought nobody had better exemplified this mental grit to get things done.

“But there will be rocky sections and tree roots with drop-offs, and we can’t be sure how the weather will have changed the surface,” we explained when he told us that he wanted to compete on the OMM Festival’s trail race.

Chris’s response, “I need mud, rock and countryside. If there is a stile I’ll get out of my chair and haul it and myself over it.  You set the challenge and let me worry about how to get around it.”

Pretty difficult to argue with and, as many OMM competitors will experience, there is often a moment when self-doubt creeps in and they question whether their body can get them through the challenge; it would be unacceptable for us to focus on Chris’s disability rather than his ability.  So he’s in!

The race is the 10km Outdoors Magic Trail Race which is part of the OMM Festival, being held on the first bank holiday in May (3rd – 5th May).  Over 1000 people are expected to attend and take part in a mix of activities including OMM Lite and OMM Bike score courses plus flagged trail races at Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km distance.  The Festival is OMM’s way of opening the fun and adventure of Mountain Marathons to people at earlier stages in their off-road career, giving them a bit of advice along the way and letting them share it with their families. We don’t promise sun, but it is a lot more likely than it will be in Scotland in October later this year for the main event.

Chris explained that he had looked around for a trail race he could take part in but all the event organisers he spoke to said they couldn’t cater for disabled athletes.  He didn’t see any reason why the accident that occurred on the rugby field should confine him to the tarmac, something that he had already proved with a record setting summit of Mount Snowdon in 2017.

The race will be attended by Guinness World Records, who will create the first Wheelchair Trail race record. The race has support from Paralympians, Invictus athletes and military charities and we hope it will lead to new opportunities for disabled competitors in the future.  If you would like to enter and race alongside Chris then click here.  If you have any special requirements then please contact organiser: emma@theomm.com and we will be happy to discuss how we can support you.

Mountain Marathon Kit List

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OMM MANDATORY EQUIPMENT LIST

Each individual and team is responsible for being properly equipped for two days unsupported racing in exposed terrain at the end of October.

This list should be seen as a minimum requirement only. Check the weather forecast, your previous experience and use sound judgement for the kit you should be wearing and carrying. The organisers reserve the right to disqualify any competitors who, in their opinion, do not have the necessary kit to survive in an emergency situation. Cotton clothing is not suitable.

EACH COMPETITOR MUST WEAR OR CARRY THE FOLLOWING:

  • Taped waterproof jacket with hood
  • Taped waterproof trousers
  • Clothing suitable for mountain running and walking
  • Spare base layer top
  • Spare full leg cover
  • Warm layer top
  • Hat, Gloves & Socks
  • Footwear designed for trail and fell use
  • Head torch capable of giving useable light for a minimum of 12 hours
  • Whistle & Compass
  • Map (as supplied)
  • Insulated Sleeping bag
  • First aid equipment
  • Pen/pencil and paper capable of being used in wet conditions
  • Survival bag (not a sheet)
  • Rucksack
  • Emergency rations
  • Water carrying capability

Spare warm kit and insulated sleeping bag must be waterproofed (i.e. in a drybag)

EACH TEAM MUST CARRY THE FOLLOWING AT ALL TIMES:

  • Cooking equipment including stove with sufficient fuel for duration of the race, plus some spare for emergency use, left at the end of the event
  • Tent with sewn in groundsheet
  • Food for 36 hours for two people
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Run’spiration: DanKeeley

Run’spiration: Dan Keeley

Everyone likes an A to B run, you get dropped off and make your way home. This summer Dan Keeley took this to epic levels. Starting at the Colosseum in Rome Dan spent 65 days running the 1250 miles home to London. You can watch the highlights from his trip in the video. It looks epic and a trip like this has got to go on everyones bucket list.

A huge congratulations to Dan from everyone at OMM for his incredible achievement and also for raising £15,000 CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) and £2000 for Snow-Camp.

You can read more about Dan and the epic route he took on his blog site here.

If you have an adventure of challenge planned for 2018 let us know!

Email al@theomm.com

Dan’s pack setup was:

CLASSIC 32

Trio Map pouch

2 x GoPod

550g Classic 32 – The benchmark for pack design, simple, effective, reliable.

Used around the world for mountain marathons, extreme races, ultra’s, biking, hiking, skiing and many other activities – including ascents to the summit of Everest! The simple, effective design offering extensive mesh external carry has never been bettered and is the standard by which all others are benchmarked. Find out more….

OMM Essential Skills: Switching navigation techniques

OMM ESSENTIAL SKILLS: Switching navigation techniques

Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run talks through some essential skills he’ll be using on this years OMM Elite Course. To complete the OMM course requires many different skills to operate safely in the mountains at the end of October.

Switching navigation techniques – It’s important to change how you navigate depending on the conditions. When the clag comes in and visibility is poor you should focus on collecting and catching features and hand railing to track your position and still move quickly.

Charlie wears: AETHER SMOCK

195g FULLY FEATURED MOUNTAIN RUNNING SMOCK

The NEW Aether smock is lightweight fully featured mountain running smock. We’ve focused on creating new innovative closures around the wrist, waist and face. We then combined these with eVent’s new DVSTORM 3 layer fabric. Find out more….

OMM Essential Skills: Moving through checkpoints

OMM ESSENTIAL SKILLS: Moving through checkpoints

Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run talks through some essential skills he’ll be using on this years OMM Elite Course. To complete the OMM course requires many different skills to operate safely in the mountains at the end of October.

Moving through checkpoints – For those looking for an edge over the competition. Try and avoid hanging around at checkpoints. The leading team mate navigates into the checkpoint whilst the trailing team mate sets up the bearing for the next leg. The leading runner dibs the checkpoint and the trailing runners takes over the navigation.

Charlie wears: AETHER SMOCK

195G FULLY FEATURED MOUNTAIN RUNNING SMOCK

The NEW Aether smock is lightweight fully featured mountain running smock. We’ve focused on creating new innovative closures around the wrist, waist and face. We then combined these with eVent’s new DVSTORM 3 layer fabric. Find out more….

OMM Essential Skills: Thumbing the Map

OMM ESSENTIAL SKILLS: Thumbing the map

Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run talks through some essential skills he’ll be using on this years OMM Elite Course. To complete the OMM course requires many different skills to operate safely in the mountains at the end of October.

Thumbing the Map – Keep your thumb on the map at your current position. As you move along your route rotate the map and move your thumb along your route. Progress to thumbing the map on the move. Use your peripheral vision and self awareness to maintain your location  and balance whilst running.

Charlie wears: AETHER SMOCK

195G FULLY FEATURED MOUNTAIN RUNNING SMOCK

The NEW Aether smock is lightweight fully featured mountain running smock. We’ve focused on creating new innovative closures around the wrist, waist and face. We then combined these with eVent’s new DVSTORM 3 layer fabric. Find out more….

OMM HEROES: Wendy Dodds – 42 OMM’s and counting

WENDY DODDS – 42 OMM’s and Counting

For the majority of competitors, completing one OMM event is a huge effort and a remarkable undertaking, for those who have endured everything that the last weekend in October has to offer, one is never enough.

If you’re one of those people that has done enough OMM events that you’re well into double figures then you might have your sights set on the OMM ‘20 Year’ and ‘30 Year’ clubs. These special clubs, recognisable by their 20 and 30 Year club jerseys, symbolise a huge achievement. There are now quite a few competitors to have achieved such a milestone and this year will be the 49th edition of the OMM and also the 43rd OMM event for Wendy Dodds…just let that sink in for a moment for the incredible accomplishment that it is.

Wendy completed her first OMM, then the KIMM, in 1972 and since then she has completed a further forty-two events, missing only two: in 1982, she was in New Zealand and in 2003 when she was en route to Namibia…I think we’ll let her off!

IMAGE COURTESY OF IAN CHARTERS

MOTIVATION

We asked Wendy what motivated her to enter her first OMM and what inspires her to come back each year?

W: In 1972, Val Pacey, a top orienteer, suggested we enter as no women’s team had ever done it (a women’s team started in 1971 but DNF). The start was at St Mary’s Loch in the Borders and we stopped and had a picnic lunch on day one. I took a spare pair of shoes, a toothbrush and a small towel – not my lightest pack, and I’ve never taking these items since!

I enjoy going to new areas with new navigational challenges; I’ve not won many running events, setting only a few race records over the years, so I make up for it by doing multiple events & setting ‘completion records’ instead! As the KIMM was my first mountain challenge I’ve had longer to ‘notch up’ my events.

MEMORIES

With 42 OMM’s under her belt Wendy has completed the OMM during some of the toughest years to be seen:

W: “Memories – too many! I’ve been fortunate to have many good running partners and there have been lots of favourite years so it’s impossible to select a single one…although beating two top female (and younger) orienteers in the Elite at Rannoch was rewarding.

The one that did not go to plan: 2008 when we moved up to the Elite and arrived at the overnight camp before 3pm, only to learn that the event had been cancelled and, as a result, were not to be allowed to complete day two after having been through the worst of the weather! Of the Elite and A Classes I’ve done, they were all good, but I’m most pleased with a chasing start on day two on Arran. It must have been going well as we were less than an hour behind the leading men in A Class on day one.

Image courtesy of Stephen Wilson www.granddayoutphotography.co.uk

ADVICE

Wendy particularly enjoys the long distance fell races and being in the mountains. She also recently completed the Ultra Tour of Monte Rosa as part of a three-day race and with 42 OMM events under her belt she has more experience than most.

When asked what advice she would pass on to those starting their first OMM:

The most important thing is to select your running partner carefully. It is far more important that you get on with your partner and are psychologically suited than being physically similar. For this reason I would advise against finding a last minute partner unless you know them well enough to be sure they can look after you when you’re cold/tired/hungry. You have to be sure that you can do the same for them whilst also being at close quarters in a one-person tent.

More often than not, I have competed with far more able folk than myself and been carried along. Ideally you should go for some long runs together and practice your navigation together. It’s important to have a ‘game plan’ for how you share the route planning and navigation and kit needs to be a balance of light, warm and comfortable equipment, agreeing with your partner what you are taking. Good communication on the hill is important and it is important to keep checking your location in bad weather. When you get to the start, set off slowly so you get used to the map and navigation and above all enjoy the weekend!

Thanks to Wendy for taking the time to talk to us, she certainly is an inspiring lady and has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the OMM. We look forward to catching up with her again at the Friday night pasta party in Glentrool.

See you all in October.

TEAM SPOTLIGHT: SCANDINAVIANS LOOKING FOR ELITE CLASS WIN

SCANDINAVIANS LOOKING FOR OMM 2016 ELITE CLASS WIN

The OMM ELITE CLASS’ reputation attracts athletes from many disciplines and from all over the world. So far this year 15 countries are represented across the 8 Classes. The Scandinavian countries have a strong record of wins in the OMM ELITE CLASS here are 3 teams looking to add this years OMM trophy to their record:

NAME: Daniel Hansson & Lelle Moberg
TEAM: Swedish Armed Forces
BASED: Sweden

Daniel and Lelle are the current course record holders for the famous ÖtillÖ race in Sweden (10km swim + 65km run). Daniel last competed on the OMM in 2007 with previous OMM winner Björn Rydvall and finished 4th in the ELITE Class. Speaking to Daniel he said “Last time we put up the tent at a bad place. During the night it started raining and we woke up sleeping in a water stream..” This year they are hoping to improve on their 4th place. Let’s hope their swim skills won’t be called upon.

TOP 3 RESULTS

DANIEL HANSSON:

  • 1st Swimrun world champion 2014 and course record holder

  • 1st Swimrun ÖtillÖ WS Engadin 1st 2016

  • 6th Adventure Racing World Championship 2011

LELLE MOBERG:

  • 1st Swimrun world champion 2014 and course record holder

  • 3rd Norsman 5th 2013

SPECIFIC TRAINING

We are preparing for the Swimrun world championship (10k swim, 65k run) and we do this race (theOMM) to get good training and teambuilding.

KIT CHOICES

We will take the minimal amount possible whilst taking the mandatory equipment list.

TOP TIPS

Do your own race, focus on not making any mistakes and don’t worry about other teams. Stay focused until the finish line on day 2.

NAME: NIELS TORP MADSEN & BJØRN AXELSEN
TEAM: SALOMON ADVENTURE DK
BASED: COPENHAGAN, DENMARK

Niels and Bjørn currently race for the Salomon Adventure Racing team in Denmark they are looking to add the OMM Elite Class title to their impressive record. Speaking to them Bjørn said “We’ve heard a lot about the rain and terrain, which we love. Our strategy will be to maintain a steady pace and not make any mistakes. We have good adventure racing experience and are used to difficult conditions but we are getting in specific training for the OMM which i think will be required. We’re looking forward to Scotland and just having fun.”

TOP 3 RESULTS

BJØRN AXELSON:

  • 1st Nordisk Extrem Marathon, Denmark, 2013 (mountain marathon)

  • 1st 50 km orienteering, Denmark, 2013 (Denmark’s longest non-stop orienteering competition)

  • 10th Adventure Racing World Championships, Portugal, 2009

NIELS TORP MADSEN:

  • 1st Tietoenator Adventure Race, Sweden 2004 (male)

  • 1st Aarhus Coastzone Challenge, Denmark 2007 (mix)

  • 2nd Nordisk Extreme Marathon, Denmark 2016 (mix  50 km)

SPECIFIC TRAINING

Living in Denmark, we have to take care of getting enough mountain training. We don’t have a lot of mountains near Copenhagen but we will go to areas in Sweden to find demanding, rocky terrain.

KIT CHOICES

  • Pack light, depending on the weather also pack warm
  • Pack dry (using dryback)
  • Good trail running shoes (Salomon Fellcross)

PACK SIZE / WEIGHT

  • If weather is good, 20 L / 8 kg
  • If tough weather conditions 25 L / 10 kg

TOP TIPS

  • Do specific training for this competition, training on paved roads alone is not going to make you well prepared.
  • Navigation in this type of terrain can go from easy to extremely difficult in no time in case of low visibility. In that case be very careful about getting your navigation safe and combine different navigation techniques (like compass bearing, contours, significant features in the terrain etc.)

NAME: Kenneth Kofod & Simon Rosell Holt
TEAM: Tejn IF & Køge Orienteringsklub
BASED: Strøby Egede, Denmark

“We both live in a little town called Strøby Egede (try pronouncing that!) in Denmark. We’ve been training together the last 5 years (we live 500 meters apart). Kenneth is the motor of the team, whereas Simon will be pointing us in the (hopefully) right  direction. We’ve both run quite a few trail ultra races. We came across it through a Danish equivalent called VUMB (Winter Ultra in Mols Mountains). Have heard that it should be a great experience, and that the weather is always nice 😉

We really love the multifaceted aspect of the race – that it comes down to not only running speed, but mountain skills, orienteering and shaving your kit down to the bare essentials.”

TOP 3 RESULTS

KENNETH KOFOD:

  • 1st Hammer Trail 50 miles
  • 3rd Danish Trail Championship (50 miles)
  • 40th Zugspitze Ultra Trail (103 km, 5,500 m+)

SIMON ROSELL HOLT:

  • 1st Hammer Trail 50 km
  • 6th Hammer Trail 100 miles (6,600 m+)
  • 22nd Südtirol Ultra Skyrace Short (68 km, 4,200 m+)

SPECIFIC TRAINING

Kenneth’s weakness is the orienteering part, so that is what he’ll focus on, while keeping in good running form. Simon is running a long mountain race in the summer and will train as much as the body will let him afterwards. Our focus will be hill training and running as much as possible in terrain. Together we’ll test the equipment and our camping skills running back to back runs with some bad sleep in between 😉

KIT CHOICES

We’re aiming at running w/ sub 9 kg and are planning on going pretty minimalistic. It should fit in a 20 or 25 l packs.

TOP TIPS

Enjoy the race! Remember to look up once in a while and be grateful to be able to go running in such a fantastic place.

NEW Ava Jacket wins OUTDOOR industry award!

NEW Ava Jacket WINS OUTDOOR industry Award

OMM products are created from a demand of competitors wanting the lightest equipment possible that can also cope with the harsh Scottish Mountain weather at the end of October. In 1974 the first OMM pack was born. OMMs’ philosophy of unrestricted innovation to achieve the highest performance usable product for the lowest possible weight has evolved to create an expanding range of innovative products. The varied terrain and skills required for the OMM event provides the ideal testing ground and makes OMM products ideal for all Outdoor use.

Our new OUTDOOR award winning “Ava Jacket” is indicative of our approach to design and performance that’s required for an OMM race. Ava Jacket uses the latest eVent DVStorm fabric to give outstanding weight, durability and breathability in real life conditions. In addition, OMM have re-examined closures with unique solutions at the hem and cuff to improve comfort and performance. Even the pocket linings have been changed to use OMM’s POINTZERO fabric for a weight saving over 50% on mesh. Consumers will be pleased to hear that the Ava will be available mid September 2016! OMM says: “We are grateful to the OUTDOOR judging panel and the industry for recognising the work we have put into the Ava Jacket.”

With the 50th year anniversary of the Original Mountain Marathon race in 2017 OMM has an exciting future ahead.

How to do a Mountain Marathon with a 14litre pack

HOW TO DO A MOUNTAIN MARATHON WITH A 14 LITRE PACK

Author: Sam Atkinson

Tested: Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon July 2016

With the Original Mountain Marathon coming up in October, I am beginning to think about what I hope to achieve and also if there is any more kit I need (hopefully not). Well with the latest OMM Backpack the Ultra 8 being only 8 litres. It begs the question, how much capacity do I really need?

With the really lightweight kit that OMM have produced I think I can do the event with just 14 litres. This may not seem revolutionary to some, but for me who used more than twice that volume last year, I am pleased and excited about this set up. When i mentioned this to Stuart Hamilton (OMM Event Director) who did point out that “my kit selections should be able look after me if i had to go static for a number of hours in an emergency.” Very sensible advice, but i felt i could put together a very small pack that provided the protection i personally needed.

I have done over 250km in the Ultra 8 so far, and it has not disappointed. It’s a rugged and tough pack weighing only 220 grams which makes it my go to pack for long runs. Due to this I knew I wanted to use it for the OMM, but doing it with 8 Litres would be crazy so combining it with the OMM Ultra Waist Pouch is a great addition. It means I have 14 litres of capacity and because the packs are separate my back can stretch and bend as normal.

Last weekend i decided to test how well it worked as a setup on the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon. I know there’s a world of difference between a Mountain Marathon in July and at the end of October but it would give me a starting point and guide for improvements.

When using this setup I found that putting the heaver items (stove) in the Waist Pouch keeps the weight low and helps with balance over rough terrain. This also rests in the small of the back and sits comfortably on the hips. The items that reduced the capacity the most were the tent and sleeping bag and well worth investing in a lighter option to reduce the pack size. I used the Mountain Raid 1.0 sleeping bag which compresses down to the size of a couple of tennis balls and was able to fit the sleeping bag, t-shirt, leggings, shorts and socks into a 3 litre dry bag in the Ultra 8. The weather forecast was changeable so i elected to keep my waterproofs to hand in the the large mesh pockets on the side of the Ultra 8 which was really useful when the heavens open. The stove I use is called the mKettle, it’s just a simple chimney design and only boils water but it’s all you need when traveling lightweight. Here’s the full list of kit i used.

MY KIT LIST FOR THE SAUNDERS:

Overall this kind of setup worked well and is a good alternative to the normal pack. It gave me a lot of flexibility and freedom of movement when running additionally the easy access to the pockets on the Waist Pouch was very useful in the conditions. The pack weighed 5kg exactly and that is with me carrying both the tent and stove. The Ultra 8 weighed 3.4kg and the Ultra Waist Pouch was 1.6kg. Looking ahead to the OMM in October if we were to split the tent and stove up i would be able to get an extra layer that would be needed for the harsher conditions. Overall i think this setup is an interesting option and the freedom it provides when running makes it worth investigating further.

Thanks for reading

Sam Atkinson