As Dark Mountains™ steadily approaches we continue to be very busy planning a superb night-time adventure. In particular we have been focusing on the course distances and climb and night-time testing has begun in earnest now that the clocks have gone back.
The most important message to communicate is that the overall length of the Dark Mountains™ courses will be significantly less than two mountain marathon days; if you can complete a certain course at a mountain marathon then you can complete the same course at Dark Mountains™.
In comparison to the 2012 OMM course distances, each of the Dark Mountains™ courses is at least 10km less. For example, the OMM Elite was 70.5km but the Dark Mountains Elite is currently planned to be 57km. At this stage (1st Nov 2012) course testing (at night) is still ongoing and we will fine-tune the course distances further before the event.
Silva to Sponsor Dark Mountains™
Many thanks to Silva who have agreed to support Dark Mountains. When we set about organising this event we realised just what a challenge it presented to both competitors and kit and naturally we wanted an association with only the very best. As such, all our event personnel will be using Silva headlamps for the event and there is going to a special relationship with a retailer so that competitors can also upgrade to the best headlamps available.
Above: Dark Mountains™ Race Director, Shane Ohly in action with a Silva Sprint headlamp.
Some more details on the location for Dark Mountains. First, we have changed the driving time from 2½ hours from Manchester to just 2 hours. Secondly, the Event Centre is in an amazing and very unusual building that is considered a special place by many of it’s 10,000’s of visitors each year. It will provide a combination of modern facilities in an historical setting. Registration, Race HQ, First Aid etc will all be indoors with plenty of space for all the competitors to mill about before and after the event. The Event Centre also has a purpose built cafe, which will be open and serving the free breakfast to competitors on Sunday morning. There will also be the option for competitors to sleep at the Event Centre (silent 'sleeping' rooms - bring ThermaRest and sleeping bag) and grab a few hours sleep either before starting or before travelling home once finished. The Event Centre will be closed to the public on the weekend of Dark Mountains.
Car parking for competitors is free and in a purpose built car park on hard standing (i.e. no muddy field for cars to get stuck in).
Distances & Timing
• 700m from the Car Park to the Event Centre along a private road and trail. We would recommend bringing whatever you need to the Event Centre. Please allow 10 minutes.
• 2.3km from the Event Centre to the Start / Finish (the start and finish are in the same location) along footpaths, private roads and public road (care required). Please allow 30 minutes.
All the controls, on all the courses will have reflective material on them. After much consideration we feel that this will improve competitors experience of the event without altering the nature of the challenge. Competitors will still need to accurately navigate to close proximately (circa 50m) to the checkpoint location before the control is visible but we hope that the reflective material will cut down on the frustration of missing controls, after navigating accurately to their location.
Keep Your Feet Warm
The conditions underfoot are likely to be boggy in some locations within the competition area. In winter conditions this means cold and wet feet are a distinct possibility for competitors. As such we would highly recommend using warm and waterproof socks and/or neoprene socks. Normal socks are NOT going to be sufficient for keeping your feet warm all night.
Conditions - Full Moon
Finally, we will end on some excellent news. Sunday the 27th January - the night after Dark Mountains™ - is a full moon so we should expect some excellent ambient light condition the night before while the event takes place.