Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2017 Open for Registration

©iancorless.com_MDM2015-8660

Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2016 saw an unprecedented 200 competitors take to the Northern Fells of the Lake District, starting from the event centre in Mungrisedale, in what can only be described as windy and wintery conditions.  As Andrew Higgins (competing on the Elite course with Adam Stirk) put it:

 “…one of the best challenges of sound mountain judgement, endurance and skill that I have ever had the pleasure of competing in. By retiring with windburned eyes after 8.5hrs of pretty full on fun – I think Adam and I passed the test, despite not completing the challenge. We will be back…”.

 

©iancorless.com_MDM2015-0669

Marmot Dark Mountains™ follows the usual two-day mountain marathon format but condenses it into one winter’s night.  Elite, A, B, C and Score categories set off in pairs on a staggered start, the longer courses followed by the shorter ones, all hoping to converge back at the event centre as dawn breaks.  Live GPS tracking enables the organisers, alongside friends, family, and any other keen followers, to track the progress of the competitors through the night.

On the back of a sell out 2016 event, entries have just opened for the fifth edition of Marmot Dark Mountains™, the world’s only overnight winter mountain marathon, which will take place on 28-29th January 2017.

Race Director Shane Ohly said:

“There are very few events that are as demanding as Marmot Dark Mountains™ and require such an all-round skill set from the competitors. When I started the event in 2013 I had no idea how many mountain runners would step up to the challenge and it has been a delight to see the event grow year on year. I can’t wait for 2017 and to reveal the brilliant area we have lined up”.

Marmot have been the title sponsor of the event from day one, and UK Sales Director Hugh Harris added:

“We’ve been on board with this event right from the start in 2013, and we couldn’t be happier with how it’s grown over that time. Very demanding events like Marmot Dark Mountains™ are perfect for us to showcase our brand and we look forward to supporting it again in 2017”.

 Janet Hill, who was competing with John Williams on the Short Score course got in touch to say, “First of all I would like to say how much I enjoyed this event, and I am in awe about the amount of time and effort it must take to put on an event like this. The snow, strong winds, river crossings and darkness made this a challenging but exhilarating event… …Thanks again for a great weekend. I hope to be there in 2017”.

©iancorless.com_MDM2015-0454

Marmot Dark Mountains™ has something for everyone; the Elite course to challenge the most seasoned of competitor through to the C and short score courses which would be suitable for a first timer.

We look forward to revealing the location of the 2017 event on Monday 5th December 2016, and welcoming both new and old competitors to another superb race area.

Ourea_Events_Logo(600)

Key Event Information
Date: Weekend 28th 29th January 2017
Venue: Final venue disclosed December 2016.
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Long Score and Short Score
Entry Fee: From £55.00
Image ©iancorless.com - Marmot Dark Mountains

Image ©iancorless.com – Marmot Dark Mountains

Marmot Dark Mountains™ Howgills 2015 – Race Preview

Marmot Dark Mountain - FINAL (BLACK)

Marmot Dark Mountains™ is the only overnight winter mountain marathon and the 3rd edition of the race will take place on Saturday 24th January in the Howgills.

The Howgill Fells are hills in Northern England between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The fells are bounded by the River Lune to the north by upper reaches of the River Lune and to the east by the River Rawthey. The Howgill Fells include two Marilyns: The Calf – 2,218 ft (676 m) and Yarlside – 2,096 ft (639 m) and a number of smaller peaks, including five Hewitts. Parts of the southern Howgill Fells lie within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, though they have been within the modern county of Cumbria since the county boundary changes in 1974. They were originally shared by the West Riding of Yorkshire and WestmorlandThe name Howgill derives from the Old Norse word haugr meaning a hill or barrow, plus gil meaning a narrow valley. – wikepedia

screenshot_468

This year’s elite course is a tough one, with a potential 3000m of elevation gain and an optimum distance of 53km. Famous for their steep rounded hills, the Howgills will be a tough challenge. Having viewed weather forecasts the organisers have issued a stern warning to all the competitors about the challenging nature of the terrain and event.

Needless to say, mandatory kit will be checked prior to the event.

©iancorless.com.©iancorless.com.P1100141

Marmot Dark Mountains™ is a true test of mountain craft for experienced mountain runners. Challenging terrain, night navigation and a wintery environment will test each runner over the variety of courses available: Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score.

©iancorless.com_IMG_5450Marmot24_2014_

“Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new… darker twist.” said Race Director, Shane Ohly. “Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one winter’s night!”

Steve Birkinshaw

Three of the UK’s leading teams are of particular interest in the 2015 event: Steve Birkinshaw and Jim Mann, Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom and Kim Collison and Adam Perry.

Kim Collison at Mourne Skyline MTR

Kim Collison at Mourne Skyline MTR

Runners will start to race at 1900-hours and  Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom will be first off! The dynamic duo have won practically every elite mountain marathon and they have held various long distance mountain running records. In 2014, Near and Higginbottom missed the race due to last minute illness, they will be looking for victory in 2015.

Steve Birkinshaw needs no introduction. His incredible Wainwrights record in 2014 was a highlight of the year for many a trail, mountain, fell and ultra runner. Steve’s partnership with Jim Mann is fitting as Mann holds the record for the winter Bob Graham Round. Birkinshaw won the 2014 event when partnered with Tom Gibbs, so the pressure will be on! Birkinshaw and Mann start at 2000-hours chasing the other runners down.

Kim Collison and Adam Perry will be a tough pair to beat and setting off at 1940-hours. Collison won the first Marmot Dark Mountains in 2013 (running with Alex Pilkington) and finished the 98km Fellsman with Perry in first place last year. The duo are evenly matched and are considered favourites by many!

©iancorless.com.©iancorless.com.P1100347

Offering a range courses to suit a range of abilities, every year there has been a small but steady increase in the number of participants.

“The event kicks-off on the Saturday evening with the longest classes setting off first for dusk-to-dawn racing. The shorter classes will set off later in the evening with the aim of most competitors finishing within an hour or so of each other the following Sunday morning. This makes for an exciting finale as all the courses and most of the competitors converge on the finish as dawn breaks.”

There are four linear courses that follow the standard Elite, A, B and C format of ordinary mountain marathons and two score format courses.

This year there will be two manned checkpoints in the Howgills that competitors on the various courses may visit and the organisers intend to post updates to the event website as the night of racing unfolds.

©iancorless.com.©iancorless.com.P1100383

Follow the race at Ourea Events HERE

Marmot Dark Mountains HERE

OureaEventsLogo(500x500-cropped) copy

Marmot Dark Mountains™ – 2014 Race Preview

Marmot Dark Mountain - FINAL (BLACK)This weekend will see the second Marmot Dark Mountains™ take place in the Peak District. “The Peak District has the perfect blend of high moorland areas, challenging terrain and a wonderful sense of wilderness… especially at night.”

Taking the classic two-day mountain marathon format, Shane Ohly (RD) and Ourea Team have given the race format a new… darker twist. The Marmot Dark Mountains™ will pack everything into one night. Derbyshire in January can only mean one thing… cold and potentially wet. Current weather forecasts are showing at best an 80% chance of rain, wind speeds of 17-22mph and lows of 2degs. Navigation is only going to be one element of this race!

©benwinston

©benwinston

Based on the classic mountain marathon format, competitors will compete in 2-man teams in categories Short/ Long Score, A, B, C and Elite. The nature of the terrain would normally dictate the distance of each course and the Ourea Team are sticking with this format and planning with a certain winning time in mind.

The addition of darkness, potentially bad weather and navigation will all make Marmot Dark Mountains™ a tough challenge.

©benwinston

©benwinston

“The knowledge gained from the first event shows that with experienced and vetted competitors, you can run an event in atrocious weather and allow the competitors to make decisions about their own safety.”

Although the winning time for the chosen race class will be similar to a normal mountain marathon, the distance covered will be reduced.

Departing from Glossop (Peak District) on Saturday evening, the longest classes will set off first and conversely; the shorter classes will set off later. This dusk-to-dawn style of racing will look to have all competitors finishing in a 1 to 2-hour window come Sunday morning. The break of dawn as runners converge on the finish line will without doubt make this an exciting finale to a long nights racing.

Marmot Dark Mountains™ is a challenging event, however courses will remaining open until 1200 on Sunday; this will allow sufficient time for everyone to complete their respective courses.

BW-Sponsors-Marmot

Shane Ohly when asked about the event and who would be the main protagonists had this to say, “My suspicion is that the elite race will be a battle royal between the duo of Steve Birkinshaw / Tom Gibbs and Chris Near / Tim Higginbottom. Both Steve and Tim are excellent navigators but with a 14-minute difference in their start times, I am hoping that they will remain in the ‘dark’ about each others positions until they have finished. I wouldn’t dismiss Simon Patton / Dave Troman either as both have intimate local knowledge and the darkness can be a great leveler of speed. Dark horses will be Jim Mann (recent winter BG record) / Stuart Walker – they are not renowned as a strong navigation team but they are fast.”

BW-Sponsors-Silva

It goes without saying that there will a hearty breakfast and hot drinks available to everyone as they finish. Competitors may also sleep at the Event Centre, which is recommend, before travelling home.

Race sponsorship comes from Marmot, Silva and Trail Running Magazine.

Entrant Numbers (teams of 2):

  • Short score – 20
  • Long score – 15
  • C category – 15
  • B category – 7
  • A category – 7
  • Elite – 13

Links:

Marmot Dark Mountains™ – Peak District National Park in January 2014

Image ©benwinston

Image ©benwinston

The second Marmot Dark Mountains™ mountain marathon will take place in the Peak District National Park in January 2014. Race organiser, Shane Ohly from Ourea Events, elaborated on the special allure of this area.
“The Peak District has the perfect blend of high moorland areas, challenging terrain and a wonderful sense of wilderness… especially at night. Precisely because of the superb nature of the area, we have had to negotiate over a two year period with the National Trust, National Park and other agencies to secure permission for this event. We have six different courses on offer and they all take advantage of some of the best parts of Bleaklow and Kinder Scout. It promises to a superb test of competitors’ mountain running skills.
Marmot Dark Mountain - FINAL (BLACK)
Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes place on the last weekend of January each year, and the inaugural event took place in what can only be described as diabolical weather (just have a look at the videos on the event website) but Shane Ohly knows this is all part of the attraction.
“Obviously, we would all like to have a still, cloud free and moonlit night but competitors don’t enter this event unless they are up for an epic mountain running experience and it is our job to deliver this safely without compromising on the nature of the challenge. The knowledge gained from the first event shows that with experienced and vetted competitors, you can run an event in atrocious weather and allow the competitors to make decisions about their own safety. Kenny Leitch, a competitor at the 2013 event summed it up nicely.
“What an extraordinary event! I did my first mountain marathon 24 years ago and Marmot Dark Mountains™ definitely had the worst conditions ever.”
Image ©benwinston Marmot Dark Mountains - iancorless.com

Image ©benwinston Marmot Dark Mountains – iancorless.com 

As a night mountain marathon, the event presents some unique challenges to both the competitors and the organisers. This year Ourea Events has been working in collaboration with Harvey Maps to produce a bespoke ‘high contrast’ map of the event area, which shows the contours and other map detail with greater clarity than a standard map.
With the announcement of the event area, the organisers have also released details of the planner’s optimum routes. The 2014 planner, Dave Taylor, is a very experienced fell runner and Peak District local so the competitors can expect that his optimum routes really are the quickest way to complete each of the courses.
C Course = Distance 36.3km / Height Gain 1,547m
B Course = Distance 41.1km / Height Gain 1,785m
A Course = Distance 44.4km / Height Gain 1,940m
Elite Course = Distance 55.5km / Height Gain 2,635m
Short Score = 8 hours
Long Score = 10 hours
BW-Sponsors-Marmot BW-Sponsors-Silva
With the support of sponsorship from Marmot® and Silva® there is a £500 cash prize for the winning elite team at the event. This year the competition is really hotting up, with top elite runners Tim Higginbottom and Chris Near from Team Hagloffs already entered.
Tim said, “Elite mountain marathons are hard to finish let alone win; the courses are long, navigation tricky and route choices crucial. So if you take this concept, remove the half-way rest, run it overnight to make the navigation nearly impossible – and then stage it in deepest winter for good measure you have something that will stretch the best to their limit! There’s a certain type of person that enjoys a challenge this hard. See you out there!”
LINKS:
Date: 25th & 26th January 2014
Venue: Peak District National Park
Entry: £45 per person
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score