Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon
The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon (SLMM) is a two-day mountain marathon usually held in the English Lake District ('or its environs', such as the adjoining Howgill Fells) in early July. It is sponsored by Robert Saunders, a long-time UK manufacturer of light-weight tents.
The SLMM has been held annually since 1978, apart from 2001, when the Lakeland fells were closed because of the Foot and Mouth crisis.
It is usually considered to be less 'hair-shirt' than the slightly older OMM formerly Karrimor (OMM), since the weather is often mild, the courses slightly shorter, and the overnight camp is often found to be within walking distance of a pub. However, there have been notable exceptions to this - in 2004 (the 26th event, out of Coniston) consistently poor weather over two days forced many teams to retire. In 1997 (the 20th annual event, starting from Grasmere) courses were set which meant many teams were still out on the Sunday evening, long after the prize-giving was due to take place.
The Marathon comprises eight classes ranging from the Klets Class (the only solo class) for elite runners, through six running classes for teams of two, to the Bedafell class for walkers.
The Backpackers Club has traditionally provided marshals for the event. They assist at the registration and mid-way campsites and man the many checkpoints spread around the various routes.
Because of the popularity of the Lakes, courses are usually set to run 'across the grain' of the country, away from popular paths, so as to minimise erosion due to the race.