A record field of over 300 runners will be making their way to the Far Eastern Lake District this weekend to take part in the 7th edition of Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2019.
It is the first event in the British Mountain Marathon Championship; the Scottish Mountain Marathon™ and the ROC Mountain Marathon™ are the other two Championship events in which qualifying competitors gain an overall ranking.
Revered as the most challenging mountain marathon on the circuit, Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes place not only at night but also in the middle of winter, adding to the typical challenges faced by participants. Previous iterations have seen heavy snow, freezing temperatures, whiteout conditions and driving rain... sometimes all at once; the drop-out rate can be as high as 100%! This year the event hub will be based at the iconic Lowther Castle giving access to the wide variety of terrain in the Far Eastern Fells of the Lake District.
Majestic Lowther Castle in winter condition
Tom Gibbs and Sabrina Verjee are defending champions and have won the event on three previous occasions. They are returning once again and will be hoping to take home the trophy for a fourth time. Commenting on why she returns year after year, Sabrina said ‘Naturally, I hope we win for a 4th time but I come back every year because I like running in the dark on the mountains with other crazy runners. It’s just fun and magical’.
Typical event conditions ©Steve Ashworth
Race Director Shane Ohly commented, “Marmot Dark Mountains™ has slowly but surely gained a reputation as the definitive test of mountain craft for experienced mountain runners. The combination of winter skills, endurance and navigational competence are hard earned and I am looking forward to welcoming our participants to Lowther Castle this weekend”.