© Ben Winston
Sandwiched between Storm Gertrude (currently blasting Northern England and Scotland) and Storm Henry (potentially due Monday 1ST), this weekend witnesses the 4th edition of Marmot Dark Mountains™, and this year you’ll be able to watch it live courtesy of live GPS tracking here: http://live.marmot-dark-mountains.com
The event takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new, darker twist. Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, the competitors race through one winter’s night from dusk to dawn!
This year the organisers are warning competitors to “come prepared for severe weather’, and they know what they are talking about. The inaugural event in 2013 was battered by a winter storm that reduced the finish rate to just 21%.
Race director, Shane Ohly said, “We are certainly not blasé about the winter conditions, winter weather and the winter mountain environment in which Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes place; it is a significant challenge. However, we make the ‘nature of the challenge’ very clear to the participants, and individually vet every entry, to ensure that participants are entered into an appropriate course.”
© Ben Winston
Ohly continued, “We also take many other safety precautions including providing remote refuge points, providing GPS tracking, establishing a VHF radio network and having our own mountain safety team on standby amongst many other measures. Whilst I would never describe the event as safe, we take reasonable precautions to enable the participants to undertake the challenge”.
Clearly, the event has a fan base. It sold out this January, with 200 entries from across both the UK and mainland Europe.
Starting on the Saturday evening, the longest courses set off first. The shorter courses 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 competitors converge on the finish as dawn breaks.
© Ian Corless
This year the event is based at Mungrisdale and the Northern Lake District, which was seriously damaged during the Storm Desmond flooding in December. “As Storm Desmond raged, I was concerned about the implications for the event”, said Ohly. “However, despite the loss of some bridges and some parking, the area survived sufficiently to allow the event to proceed. Whilst that was a relief for the participants and organisers alike, I am becoming increasingly aware of the significant, positive economic impact events have on the local economy and I am delighted that Marmot Dark Mountains™ can help in a small way”.
The 2015 elite race at Marmot Dark Mountains™ was dominated by Adam Perry and Kim Collinson. This year the Elite, A, B, C and two Score Courses are packed with quality mountain runners and navigators and it will be fascinating to see how the competition plays out during the night…
…which you will be able to watch live with the GPS tracking!
So this weekend become engrossed with mountain navigation tactics and practise some 'dot watching' (live GPS tracking). Marmot Dark Mountains™ will be the first to utilise a new GPS tracking interface using our bespoke Harvey race mapping underlay for each course.
Don't forget to tell your friends and family to keep their eyes peeled from Saturday 20:00 onwards.