A mountain marathon is a cross between fell running and orienting. Usually these events are run over a couple of days and competitors carry their food, shelter and clothing. Generally the race is run in teams of two or three competitors. The competitors have to be self sufficient carrying all their kit. As this is a race, keeping your kit as light and small as possible can be the winning factor. Kit will not win you the race, this is a high energy sport, endurance is key but you also have to use your brain as you have to navigate yourself with a traditional map and compass going from check point to check point.
Participants generally carry a lightweight tent, food, ruck sack, outdoor clothing and head torch. Often competitors run through the night with only a couple of hours of sleep. Some people consider the mountain marathon to be the forerunner to adventure racing made popular on satellite channels.
Possibly the best known event is the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) which is held in a different region each year. Competitor teams start the race at intervals only being given their "way card" on the start line. This particular race is actually a double marathon (approximately 80 kilometres) but involves a lot of hills! However the race has different race lengths depending on experience. Famously, the 2008 OMM race was called off with 100mph winds causing over 1700 competitors to be stranded on the hills.
Another main events includes the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon LAMM which takes place in the Scottish Highlands each year. Competitors start from multiple start points to make things a little more challanging!
As the name marathon suggests, these events need dedicated training and specialist kit. If you like filling your lungs with fresh air, this could be your new sport!
Watch Mountain Maraton Training video to get motivated!