Original Mountain (and Road) Marathon

I’m still not sure how it happened… Neil stepped down as my OMM partner so I asked Roderick. Roderick said he wasn’t as fast as Neil so we wouldn’t do as well on the B. So how about we do the A instead? (He had some excuse about qualifying races for the Tour of Mont Blanc.) I said ‘yes’. It was on this basis that we found ourselves racing to the start on Dartmoor near Okehampton last Saturday. Sadly we were eight minutes late having been held up, firstly by the buses going to the far start, and then by the queues for the toilets!

The course length for the first day was a massive 46km but looking ahead on the map as we set out along the road towards the first control, it was obvious that this wasn’t the first bit of tarmac we would see. In fact, almost 10k of the course would be along roads. I did, however, also discover that Roderick intended to set a steady pace for the day and that meant we weren’t going to be running the uphills, even if they were on the road! The navigation was also pretty simple (you can see our route on RouteGadget) with only one leg (6-7) not having significant linear handrails. We made one minor blunder on the way from 3-4, missing the bottom end of the wall (it may even have been a fence there) and finding another unmapped one a little further on. We finished in just under eight hours and well before sunset (our major concern before starting).

The rain and wind arrived soon after we’d pitched our tent and I certainly got little sleep during the night. There was a brief respite whilst we packed up our tent in the morning but I started in my full waterproofs and kept them on for the whole day. The course was certainly more interesting both from the point of view of the terrain and navigation. We lost significant time on the way to 4 as we back-tracked up the river to find somewhere to cross only to see people crossing at the point where we’d originally hit the river. It was up to our knees on that crossing and the second river on that leg was up to our thighs. On the leg from 5-6 we braved the raging torrent and survived the waist deep crossing clinging to another pair.

We finished the second day in just under 6.5 hours putting is in 32nd place over the two days. That was in the top half which I consider to be a respectable position. Thanks Roderick for standing in at short notice and persuading me to give the A a go. Would I run the A again? Maybe, but I think I’d prefer to try the Long Score. It may be academic though – with next year’s OMM likely to be somewhere in the far North I’m not sure whether I’ll be going.

One Response to “Original Mountain (and Road) Marathon”

  1. GerryA says:

    Well done Dave.
    Having read your description and listened to competitors on the B and D courses it looks like the C course was planned by a different person. We had little option for paths and tracks apart from the latter part of day 2, and certainly no road running. I thought it a good area, and am surprised they couldn’t avoid all your road running.