|© Ben Winston|
The second Marmot Dark Mountains™ will take place in the Peak District National Park on the 25th/26th January 2014. Race Director, 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 Mountains Race Director, Shane Ohly, shares his thoughts on the fantastic Peak District National Park location for the 2014 race, whilst also providing some insights into the race and some further details about the 2014 event.|
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 HERE ) 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".
|Marmot Dark Mountains 2014 Race Planner, Dave Taylor, provides an insight to the type of high, heather moorland terrain competitors can expect in the Peak District at the January event. This video shows the nature of some of the more difficult to locate checkpoints.|
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.
|© Ben Winston|
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
|Marmot Dark Mountains 2014 Race Planner, Dave Taylor, shares some of his thoughts about the unique challenge that the Peak District National Park has to offer for an overnight, winter mountain marathon.|
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"!
|Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom from team Hagloffs have been a dominant force within mountain marathons for many years and will be taking part in the 2014 Marmot Dark Mountains. Photo © planetFear|