Welcome to the 5th edition of Marmot Dark Mountains™! The event has a deserved reputation for toughness and the challenge of running and navigating at night, in winter, is significant. It is also an incredibly rich and rewarding experience and we want you to get the most from the event and carefully reading the following information will help. Come prepared for the adventure ahead!
Marmot Dark Mountains™ is also the first race in the inaugural British Mountain Marathon Series and we very much hope you will consider entering one of the other races in the Series this year, and/or joining us at the ROC Mountain Marathon for the inaugural British Mountain Marathon Championships in September.
With just over a week to go until Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2017 there are just a few(?) things we would like to bring to your attention.
We look forward to welcoming you to Warcop next weekend.
Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2016 © Steve Ashworth
Please note that there are there are three locations to consider for Marmot Dark Mountains™ this year:
- Event Car Park (the ONLY place you can park: 1km from Event Centre)
- Event Centre (race HQ: registration, saturday evening meals, download etc)
- Start/Finish Location (village hall; 6km from Event Centre)
All three locations are linked by two shuttle buses that run from 1700-2300 on Saturday, and 0500-1200 on Sunday
Saturday 28th January 2017
1700 Registration and Car Parking opens (please do not arrive earlier than this)
1700-2100 Evening meal available (at the Event Centre - pre-orders only)
~1900-2000 Elite Course Starts*
~2000-2100 A and Long Score Starts*
~2100-2000 B Course Starts*
~2200-2300 C and Short Score Course Starts*
2200 Registration closes
2300 Last start
* Please check your precise start time below.
* Score Courses: please note you have 10 (Long Score) or 8 (Short Score) hours to complete your course
Please allow a minimum of 1 hour to complete registration, kit check and bus to the start.
Sunday 29th January 2017
0500 First finishers expected
0600-1100 Finishers Breakfast (at Start/Finish location)
0930 Prize giving (at Event Centre)
1100 Courses close
Registration / Photo ID
THIS IS IMPORANT. Competitors can only register as a pair and with photo ID. The person at registration, the photo ID and the online entry credentials must all match. Even if you think someone at registration will know you, you still require photo ID. We are happy to accept a photocopy of your photo ID as long as the photocopy is sufficiently high quality that someone who doesn't know you can identify you from it. We know that the most significant factor in keeping competitors safe at the event is their own personal experience. As such, we need to ensure that the person entered, is the person standing in front of us at registration.
Start Times and Bus Times
The start takes place from a village hall which is located roughly 6km from the Event Centre. A shuttle bus has been organised to take you there and you have been allocated a bus time based on your start time.
Your pair's start time is available HERE. The clock starts ticking from your allocated time so please do not be late - we wish to maintain a regular gap between each team. Late teams may have to wait until all other teams on their course have started before they can start.
Your scheduled bus time is available HERE. Please ensure you catch the right bus, failure to do so could result in arriving late to the start.
The Shuttle buses are free and their approximate schedule is:
- Car Park to Event Centre: 1700-2100
- Event Centre to Start: 1830-2300
- Finish - Event Centre: 0500-1100
- Event Centre to Car Park: 0700-1200
Mandatory Kit / Kit Checks
There is a mandatory kit list and there will be strict kit checks at registration and spot checks at the finish. Please pay particular attention to the 2-person Emergency Shelter requirement (aka group shelter or Kisu), a tent flysheet is not an alternative to an Emergency Shelter. The Mandatory Kit list is HERE.
Race Planner Gary Tompsett has prepared some important observations about the Terrian, Runability, Watercourses, Stone features, Safety and Courtesies. You would be foolish not to read these HERE!
Race Map Preview
We are releasing an extract of the 'map legend', so that participants can familiarise themselves with the over-printed information HERE. Please remember we (and your family, friends and potentially the landowner) will be watching your every move with our GPS tracking so understanding and observing our Mandatory Crossing points and Out of Bounds areas is essential.
The events organised by Ourea Events are often located in Britain’s greatest upland areas that often contain features of outstanding biodiversity value and importance. Marmot dark mountains™ is no exception. Occasionally, the features that provide this interest can be vulnerable to the wear and tear that may result from the passage of event participants. The risk of ecological damage is carefully assessed during early stages in the planning process for each event, when every effort is made to avoid sensitive ecological interest areas that could be disturbed by the event. The ecological briefing HERE is written to help participants understand the ecological value of the landscape they are in and how to minimise their impact.
Short / Standard / Extended Courses
Please note that our intention, even in very poor weather, will be to run the event, and you should assume that we will go ahead with the Standard Courses in most cases. If the weather is exceptionally poor, we may opt to use our ‘Short’ Courses. The flip side, is that we have also planned ‘Extended’ Courses, and you can consider these courses to be the ‘good weather’ alternative to our ‘bad weather’ option, and likewise we would only switch to the ‘Extended’ courses on a still, crisp and clear winter night. Any courses changes will be notified at registration.
The weather in January could throw absolutely anything at you, the competitor, and this is a major appeal of the Marmot Dark Mountains™ challenge. Come prepared for severe weather and a long (but hopefully satisfying) night out in the hills. If we need to send any final updates to you we will do so by SMS to your mobile phone, but you should assume that the event is going ahead and using the full courses.
We strongly recommend that all participants read both the Fell Runners Association leaflet about hypothermia, and the tiredness kills leaflet.
Weather Forecast and Conditions
There will be a final ‘conditions and weather’ update on Friday evening on the website that will include pictures and video of conditions in the Pennines that day. As it stands today, it looks like we will see some unsettled weather in the run up to the weekend with temperatures rising and falling but remaining cold for the event. Please come prepared for cold and wet, possibly even snow conditions. The latest Mountain Weather Information Service forecast for the Pennines is HERE.
Specialist Winter Running Equipment
Specialist winter running equipment should NOT be neccessary for this event but micro spikes may be useful. Keep an eye on the weather forecast in the run up to the event.
There is currently no avalanche risk for the Pennine fells.
Live GPS Tracking
Once again for the 2017 event we will be using live GPS tracking. We do this to significantly add to the event safety but it also gives us an opportunity to engage with your friends and family, dot watching can be very exciting. Each team will be required to carry a GPS tracker. We will confirm the URL for the live tracking immediately prior to the event.
GPS and Smart Phones
Absolutely no GPS / Satellite navigation devices (including watches, phones etc.) are allowed. This includes GPS watches that can display distance travelled or speed even if they cannot display location data. Altimeters that work only via barometric pressure are allowed.
We encourage teams to carry a mobile phone with them but it must be turned off and sealed in a bag at registration. Unless required for a genuine emergency, the mobile phone must remain sealed in a bag for the duration of the event and this will be checked at Kit Check.
If you are travelling to this race, there is a very good chance (over 97.4%) that another runner who lives nearby is also entered. Why not car share and save on fuel costs? Simply tap in your postcode on the Racelifts.org site.
It only takes a minute to see how many runners are in your area, and then register. Choose whether you might be able to offer a lift, and/or if you're looking to get a lift. You're under no obligation, and you can opt-out if you change your mind.
Car Parking, Event Centre Location & Village Hall
The Event Centre will be manned throughout the event and particpants may leave bags and personal belongings here. We anticipate that items will be safe here, but we cannot guarantee this and all items are left at your own risk.
Car parking is situated on a hard standing area approximately 1km from the Event Centre. Absolutely no parking is allowed at the Event Centre, as we will need the limited space for turning buses and event vehicles. Feel free to drop off your team mate and bags before proceeding the Car Park if you wish. A shuttle bus will be on hand to take you between the Event Centre and Car Parking at regular intervals (see below) on Saturday night and Sunday morning. A polite reminder - please do not arrive before 5pm.
The Start/Finish is located in a Village Hall approximately 6km from the event centre. Again, we will be providing a shuttle bus between the Event Centre and Start/Finish. We will be providing hot drinks from here as well as your hot breakfast when you finish the event. We recommend that you take a SMALL drop bag with you containing anything you may need when you finish, including warm clothes to change into. It will be warm and dry and you can stay here as long as you like, just hop on a bus when you are ready to come back and download. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU RETURN TO THE EVENT CENTRE TO DOWNLOAD.
Both the Event Centre and Start/Finish Village Hall are indoors, heated, with toilets and a water supply. There are showers at the Event Centre. It is possible to sleep at both locations should you wish.
RISK #1 - Driving Tired
The number one risk to competitors at Marmot Dark Mountains™ will be driving home after the event. This is almost certainly the most dangerous activity you will do all weekend. Please take advantage of the sleeping areas and have a few hours sleep before travelling home and a coffee. Please refer to the "Event Safety" links above for further information.
RISK #2 – Hypothermia
The next big risk to competitors is hypothermia especially if the weather is poor. Once you start the race it is your responsibility to look after yourself and your teammate.
Please remind yourself of the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and be very alert to these in your partner and yourself. We would strongly advise competitors to download and read the excellent short PDF booklet about Hypothermia produced by the Fell Running Association HERE.
Experience has shown that competitors who opt to ‘run-warm’ consistently do better at Marmot Dark Mountains™ than competitors who ‘run-cold’. By this we mean that at a summer mountain marathon it may well be possible to accept some discomfort and cold by wearing only lightweight clothing in poor weather and allowing yourself to get wet, and then staying warm, by running. This is NOT possible at Marmot Dark Mountains™, where the much colder temperatures and slower pace of night navigation and running, mean that even mildly cold/wet competitors rapidly succumb to mild hypothermia and retire from the event.
RISK #3 - Severe Weather
Currently not forecast, but we will update competitors as necessary before the event.
Useful Information #1 - Clothing and Equipment
As mentioned above, the risk of hypothermia is very real and it is best that competitors wear warmer layers than usual and aim to stay warm and dry at all times. Our advice is that waterproof socks (such are Gore Bike Wear GTX Socks or similar) are beneficial for almost all competitors. We would also recommend at least two pairs of warm, waterproof gloves. The mandatory kit list also states that a spare warm layer (like thick fleece or insulated jacket) must be carried. If this layer is being worn at the start of the race, it is obviously not spare!
Useful Information #2 - Blank Maps
Blank (minus course/control information) maps will be displayed at the Event Centre.
Useful Information #3 - SOS Locations
There will be two manned 'SOS Location' in the Pennine Fells. These may be used as places of refuge and where help can be sought in an emergency. All linear courses visit at least one of these SOS Locations as a checkpoint, and the score courses have the option to visit them. They are marked clearly on your maps.
Useful Information #4 – Sleeping
There will be a silent room for competitors (and event volunteers) to sleep in during the night and before travelling home at both the Event Centre and the Village Hall. Competitors will need to bring a sleeping bag and sleeping mat and we would also recommend earplugs. Please be courteous to sleeping competitors when entering and leaving this room.
Useful Information #5 – Sale Rail
Final piece of information… There will be a small ‘sale rail’ of clothing available at the Event Centre. Items will be at least '50% off' and include unique event-branded marshal uniforms from previous events and the like.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The Marmot Dark Mountains™ Team