The Mountain Marathon is a classically British institution and one that has a dedicated following. They are, however, very friendly affairs and most have options that open the experience up to newcomers as well as the die-hard elite.
For those that are unaware, they are generally defined as being a mountain based running event, held over two days, and with orienteering being a critical element (mostly with no GPS technology allowed). Competitors usually participate in teams of two, and have to carry their own food and tent for the duration.
If you love the outdoors and want a proper weekend challenge then get packed and discover the world of mountain marathons. You won't regret it.
1The OMM Mountain Marathon
The classic one.
The OMM is the Original Mountain Marathon, has been running since is 1968 under various names, and is the forerunner of modern adventure racing. These days there are various options to chose from based on either linear courses or timed navigational courses if you don't fancy the classic double marathon. Locations vary year to year but are always very remote.
The ROC (formerly RAB) follows a very similar format to the OMM but with options for a beginner course where GPS is allowed (shock horror!), and being a month earlier than the OMM, it is often regarded as a more friendly event for those finding their way in the world of mountain marathons. It also has events for 14 yr olds through to 'super veterans' so there is no excuse!
The Saunders Lakeland MM is less well known than the OMM and the RAB even though it has been running for 37 years. It is run in mid-summer rather than Autumn, and being in the Lake District rather than deepest Scotland should make the going a little easier for the less hardcore among us, though it is by no means a walk in the park.
The LAMM is held in Northern Scotland and even though it is in June it is an event for people who take their Mountain Marathons very seriously. 5 linear courses and only 1 score course - which take in munro summits and overnight camp at a wild mountain location - ensure you will get the full experience.
Scotland - location revealed closer to time
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5Great Lakeland 3 Day™
The scenic one.
Moving away slightly from the strict rules of the classic mountain marathons, the Lakeland 3-day event has a focus on enjoying an amazing mountain experience rather than complex navigation. Your overnight equipment is transported for you to the overnight camps so all you need to do is worry about getting there. It's also over 3 days giving you more time to enjoy the views!
The UK’s (the World’s?) only overnight, Winter mountain marathon. This event gives the classic mountain marathon a new, darker twist, packing 2 days worth of running into one Winter night. As daylight diminishes, most folk head indoors, for a few, it will be the time to lace up and head out into the hills.