Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2014 – Race Directors Round Up

5th Feb 2014

It doesn’t usually take me 10 days post race to round up the event, finalise the results and get all the pictures and videos online… but it has this time! No doubt squeezing in the ISPO trade show and a house move from Cornwall to Cumbria had something to do with the delayed report. My apologies.

Above: With a few notable exceptions, the marshal team for Marmot Dark Mountans™ 2014 © Ian Corless


First and foremost, it is the volunteer marshals that I must thank first. They did a superb job and quite simply small events, like Marmot Dark Mountains™ are reliant on the good will and generosity of the marshals. Many, many thanks to you all.

It is always very encouraging when we receive an avalanche of positive comments and thanks after an event and Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2014 was no exception, with many comments in particular about how great the marshals were. The link below has a small selection of competitor quotes and links to various competitor blogs:

2014 Competitor Feedback & Blogs

There was universal praise for the quality of the courses and many commented that the technical difficulty was pitched ‘just right’ and that the mix of runable terrain and err… mud and tussocks was ‘spot on’ for an event that at its heart is meant to be challenging. Dave Taylor was the course planner and this is largely down to his expertise.

Dave had a particularly challenging job with the Peak District’s reputation for being a difficult area to organise an event being proved correct. For Ourea Events, we take a long-term view about our reputation and always ask the landowner for permission and respected it when it is declined. It would be fair to say that many events, particularly smaller local races, don’t take this approach and simply hold the event anyway. This leads to a position when land owners dislike events and universally say “No!” if you ask permission, but then because they always say no, smaller events simply don’t ask… and this is the cycle that the Peak District seems locked into.

Above: Competitors in action at Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2014. Many thanks to the National Trust, Forestry Commission, National Park Authority, Natural England and numerous other landowners for their permission. © Ian Corless.


I am a passionate advocate of access to the hills and strongly believe that well organised and professionally delivered events should be able to enjoy the hills as the participants are essentially just exercising their right of access. Dave was thrust into the melee of land access negotiations and I really must thank him for his perseverance! In the end, the major bodies that we had to deal with such as the National Trust, Forestry Commission, National Park Authority and Natural England proved sympathetic and without their support this event would not have happened. Many thanks to you all.

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Above: Remarkable photography of the Peak District given the weather, the darkness, the rain etc etc © Oli Scraff / Getty Images


We were fortunate to have two professional photographers on hand to document the Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2014. Oli Scraff, working for Getty Images was shooting night running stock photos for the Getty library and Ian Corless took a superb range of both action and portraits images that really capture the spirit of Marmot Dark Mountains™. Please check out the various photo galleries here:

If you can help me name some of the competitors that would be much appreciated. Just send me an email with the photo number and names.

Ian Corless also wrote a pre-event and post-event blog here:

With much more benign weather than in our first year, we had an overall finishing percentage that leapt from 48% in 2013 to 77% 2014. As most teams finish the score - because they can keep the duration to whatever they see fit - it is the linear course results that are the most interesting.  In 2013 only 21% managed to complete a linear course (Elite, A, B or C) and not a single team finished the B or the C. The weather was truly epic! This year the finishing rate increased to 53%.

With ten days reflection since the event the stand out results are:
1)    The definitive wins for Steve Birkinshaw and Tom Gibbs on the Elite course and Ben Stansfield and Pat Bartlett on the Long Score.
2)    The outright win for Jo Gillyon and Catherine Evans on the Short Score.

Final results are now available here.

The prizewinners who weren’t at the Prize Ceremony will be contacted by email shortly.

Above: Caroline & Jane Emslie. Veterans of the 2013 and 2014 Marmot Dark Mountains™ race. © Ian Corless


Finally, I’d like to thank all the amazing competitors, who I have tremendous respect for. The combination of the mountainous terrain, darkness, winter weather and technical navigation make Marmot Dark Mountains™ a genuinely challenging event. The event will always be the preserve of the most experienced mountain runners and it is an honour that choose to too take part.

I hope to see you all again next year or at an event later this year.

Regards, Shane Ohly

Marmot Dark Mountains™ Race Director