THE OMM NORTHUMBERLAND 2014

THE OMM 2014 –

After a restless sleep we headed towards the start line. The start was a 15 minute walk up a valley road probably used for tractors and logging trucks. Anxiety starts to build but you cant understand why. Why am i nervous? I’ve only got to run! Maybe its just the stepping into the unknown that makes me apprehensive and anxious.

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So the start was very tame in comparison to previous events i’ve done, 10k, fell races etc. We stepped forwards, told the official our number and stepped into the line for our category. Without too much fuss we were given our maps and the horn sounded for us to start.

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The course was a mixture of steep hills, unrelenting bog, plateaus of dense  heather, forest and hard trail. My feet were soaked within 15 minutes of the start and didn’t really dry out until we crossed the finish line the next day. After the fourth hour in, the finish line was the only thought I could muster.

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After 5 hours and 20 minutes we arrived at the finish line and the end of our suffering. We had placed 9th out of 98 teams and had done far better than either of us were expecting. “9th??” I said to my friend “Us…. Bloody 9th??? ”

After stretching out… Alot. We moved to the campsite which by this time in the day was getting pretty cold. 50 – 60 mph winds battered the campsite and the only people outside their tents were those that were cooking or going to the toilet. I must admit, the suffering in the campsite and the hardship are the part of a trip I love the most. The bonds you strike with a person whilst both struggling to create shelter and the basic human need for warmth and food. Its these primal instincts that draw me to the mountains.

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Using the tent for shelter we fired up the stove and started consuming calories. I had a Chili Con Carne that I purchased from ExpeditionFoods.com. They offer 800 Calorie meals which were ideal for this event and weigh very little. We both consumed two meals and some chocolate protein powder. Feeling suitably full we went to sleep. It was going to be a long night and we had 12 hours to kill.

DAY 2

6am We had a very unwelcome wake up call from a man on a quad bike who sounded a bit like Rhod Gilbert. After he did 6 laps of the campsite with a megaphone shouting  “Wake up, Wake up” We dragged ourselves upright. and fired up the stove.

Because of our position in the race we were put into the chasing group which left the campsite at 7:56. After nearly missing our start we headed to the starting line and were told by a marshal that today would be a “Bad Weather” course. This simply meant that we would only be running for about 4 hours instead of 5.

After tagging the first control we moved swiftly and efficiently to the next. The wind was blowing around 50 mph on the high ground and it started to take its toll on us. We headed through forest, bog, heather and grass to our last control. After a huge effort and suffering serious fatigue we  headed towards the finish line. On this type of race you don’t expect crowds cheering you on, you simply want the satisfaction that you and your team mate have done it. Crossing the finish line we both dropped to our knees. We had finished in 14th place and exceeded both our expectations.

Unaware to us, the finish was to be bitter sweet. “Your missing a point” Said a bearded man with a rushed tone to him. “who’s missing the point?? ” I said, the race obviously taking its toll on my brain. “Your missing a point, you need to speak with race control”. After checking with race control we realized our error. Moving so fast on the second day had meant we tagged the wrong control that was a stone throw from the correct one!

We finished unofficially 14th but it was never the result that made me enter in the first place. Sure it would have been nice to finish in top 20, however, that’s not what it was about for me. We pushed to our limits and ran our hardest for two days. That why i entered the OMM

Whats next??

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