Original Mountain Marathon

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The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM), formerly known as the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon (or KIMM), and initially simply The Karrimor, is a two-day Mountain event, held in a different region across the UK every year. It was first held in 1968 and continues today. Gerry Charnley, a skilled mountaineer and orienteer, designed the KIMM to test orienteering skills in extreme circumstances; the full-length KIMM course is a double-marathon length race. Each team must carry all their gear, including equipment for an overnight camp. Moreover, the course is not disclosed until the race begins, so each team must have good navigation skills. Some have called the KIMM the forerunner of modern adventure racing.


For its first 8 years, the event was known as 'The Karrimor'. In addition to the 'Elite category' double marathon, other course lengths have been added over the years to suit a greater variety of competitors (see 'Classes of competition' below). The core elements remain, however: there is always an overnight camp and the teams of two must be self-sufficient.

The KIMM name was adopted in 1976.[1]

After Galloway in 1976 which experienced exceptionally bad weather with only 30% completing, Gerry Charnley spoke in a TV interview with the BBC: "Don't you think this event is too tough?" asked the interviewer, and Charnley responded: "Everybody knows this is the KIMM, the toughest event on the calendar and it's not a Sunday afternoon picnic".[1] This attitude has remained throughout the event's history and places it as one of the most challenging mountain marathons in the world.

In 1977, a special map from Harvey Maps was commissioned.

In 2004 the event became known as the OMM after Karrimor's sponsorship was withdrawn.

The 2008 OMM was abandoned, for the first time in the race's history, due to ill-informed media coverage which suggested that the very challenging weather conditions (100 mph winds and extremely heavy rain) placed competitors and potential rescuers in danger. Reference was made to '1,700 people unaccounted for in the hills' though in fact all of these were still competing and unaware that anyone was concerned for them; as usual a significant number of competitors were current or former Mountain Rescue Team members. In fact only one competitor needed to be rescued after being swept away in a torrent, slightly injured and stranded on an island, though there were other unconnected rescues in the Lake District at the time which were widely assumed to be connected to the OMM. Flooding did cause considerable disruption and damage at the base camps and the high winds resulted in the abandonment of some of the staffed radio checkpoints; this and the genuine risk at river crossings were the principal reasons for cancelling the second day's competition.

In January 2010 the ownership of OMM, the event and the products was bought by Ark Consultants UK Ltd.

In 2013, the organisers of the Original Mountain Marathon revealed plans for a summer version of the event, along with a mountain biking marathon.[2]

List of event locations[edit]

Year Location Region Elite Winners [3]
2022 Great Langdale Cumbria Philip Rutter & Sam Dixon
2021 Great Langdale Cumbria Race cancelled due to extreme weather[4]
2020 Arrochar Alps West Scotland Race cancelled due to COVID-19[5]
2019 Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park[6] Scotland Graham Gristwood & Hector Haines
2018 Black Mountains South Wales Jonathan Albon & Gudmund Viljo Arponen Snilstveit[7]
2017 Great Langdale Cumbria Duncan Archer & Shane Ohly
2016 Glentrool South West Scotland Duncan Archer & Shane Ohly
2015 Tweedsmuir Scottish Borders Kim Collison & Adam Perry
2014 Northumberland North East England Sander Vaher & Timo Sild
2013 Brecon Beacons South Wales Nick Barrable & Gustav Bergman
2012 Howgill Fells North West England Björn Rydvall & Aaron Prince
2011 Comrie Scotland Duncan Archer & Shane Ohly
2010 Dartmoor South West England Andy Symonds & Joe Symonds
2009 Elan Valley Wales Steve Birkinshaw & Jethro Lennox
2008 Borrowdale Cumbria Race Abandoned
2007 Lowther Hills Scotland Brendon Bolland & Sean Bolland
2006 Galloway Forest Park Scotland Ifor Powell & Alun Powell
2005 Ullswater Cumbria Steve Birkinshaw & Morgan Donnelly
2004 Brecon Beacons South Wales Mark Seddon & John Hunt
2003 Langholme Scottish Borders Steve Birkinshaw & Morgan Donnelly
2002 Cheviot Northumberland Steve Birkinshaw & Morgan Donnelly
2001 Clyde Muirsheil Regional Park[8] Scotland Mark Seddon & Andrew Trigg
2000 Lake District Cumbria Mark Rigby & Rob Jebb tied with Mark Seddon & Andrew Trigg
1999 Cowal Peninsula Argyll Scotland Mark Seddon & Steve Birkinshaw
1998 Howgill Fells North Pennines Mark Seddon & Steve Birkinshaw
1997 Kielder Forest North East England Mark Seddon & Steve Birkinshaw
1996 Galloway Forest Park and Hills Scotland Mark Seddon & Pete James
1995 Brecon Beacons South Wales Mark Seddon & John Kewley
1994 St Mary's Loch and Manor Scotland Mark Seddon & Paul Hague
1993 Upper Nithsdale & Queensberry Hills Scotland Mark Seddon & Paul Hague
1992 Northern Lake District Cumbria Olivier Buholzer & Matthias Ramsauer
1991 Arrochar Alps Scotland Mark McDermott & Adrian Belton
1990 Glen Lyon Scotland Phil Clark and Graham Huddleston
1989 Howgill Fells North Pennines Derek Ratcliffe & Pete Irwin
1988 Cheviots Northumberland Aonghus O'Cleirigh & Robin Bryson
1987 Ffestiniog Snowdonia North Wales Derek Ratcliffe & Pete Irwin
1986 Galloway Hills Scotland Derek Ratcliffe & Pete Irwin
1985 Langdale (Lake District) Cumbria Ken Taylor & Robin Bryson
1984 Peak District Pennines Derek Ratcliffe & Pete Irwin
1983 Strathyre Scotland Derek Ratcliffe & Pete Irwin
1982 Dartmoor South West England Jack Maitland & John Baston
1981 Langdale Cumbria Joss Naylor & Mike Walford
1980 Isle of Arran Scotland Dieter Wolf & Leonhard Suter
1979 Rhinogs North Wales Dieter Wolf & Leonhard Suter
1978 Peebles Scotland Roger Baumeister & Martin Hudson
1977 Howgill Fells North Pennines Andy Philipson & Howard Forrest
1976 Galloway Highlands Scotland Stig Berge & Sigurd Dæhli
1975 Ennerdale Cumbria Joss Naylor & Pete Walkington
1974 College Valley, Cheviot Northumberland Stig Berge & Harry Walker
1973 Plas Gwynant North Wales Stig Berge & Carl Martin Larsen
1972 Tibbie Shiels (Selkirk) Scottish Borders Stig Berge & Carl Martin Larsen
1971 Plas-y-Brenin North Wales Joss Naylor & Allan Walker
1970 Eskdale West Cumbria Joss Naylor & Allan Walker
1969 Troutbeck (Windermere) Cumbria Ted Dance & Bob Astles
1968 Muker North Pennines Ted Dance & Bob Astles

Classes of competition[edit]

OMM currently comprises six competition classes (three line events and three score courses) which vary in length and severity, approximately as follows:

  1. Elite 80 km 12 hrs
  2. A class 65 km 11 hrs
  3. B class 40 km 8 hrs
  4. Long Score 7+6 hrs (day 1/2)
  5. Medium Score 6+5hrs
  6. Short Score 5+4hrs

Compulsory kit list[edit]

  • Warm Trousers or Leggings
  • Shirt or Thermal Top
  • Sweater or Fleece Top
  • Waterproof Over Trousers (taped seams)
  • Waterproof Jacket (taped seams)
  • Socks, gloves & hat
  • Head Torch
  • Whistle
  • Food For 36 Hours
  • Additional Emergency Rations
  • Compass (GPS Not Allowed)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Footwear With Adequate Grip For Fell Conditions
  • Space Blanket or large heavy gauge polythene bag
  • Rucksack
  • First-Aid, a minimum of a crepe bandage and small wound dressings.
  • Pen Or Pencil
  • Tent With Sewn-In Groundsheet
  • Cooking Stove with enough fuel at the end of day 2 to make a hot drink

OMM Brand[edit]

OMM have started producing their own branded outdoor clothing and equipment. Items required on the event, such as waterproof jackets and trousers, backpacks and sleeping bags, have been produced, specially adapted for the event. The Kamleika (from the Aleutian word for a long waterproof robe) range of jackets, smocks and trousers have become famous amongst mountain marathon runners and hikers.[9] They are unique in that they are specially developed to be stretchy and produce minimal noise when running.

Swiss KIMM[edit]

1976 Swiss Orienteer Dieter Wolf brought the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon idea from England to Switzerland: 47 teams were at the start of the first Swiss Karrimor 2-day Mountain Marathon in Muotathal in 1976. Over the years several thousand lovers of the mountains, nature, orienteering and adventure sports from more than twenty countries have been able to participate in many different regions of the Swiss Alps.

After some structural and personnel changes at Karrimor ltd. in England and Salewa Sport ltd. in Switzerland, a new partner had to be found for the event in 1997 so as to achieve a balanced account. Arova-Mammut, a Swiss firm manufacturing mountain sport equipment, stepped in spontaneously, so that the event had to be changed only little; under a new name its organisation would be secure for the next few years. The long cooperation with Arova-Mammut ltd. came to an end in 2002.

R’adys Outdoor & Snowwear in Lachen became a new sponsor in 2004. 2013 R'adys sponsorship ended and the Event is now called SIMM (Swiss International Mountain Marathon).

This Mountain Marathon is unique in Switzerland.


  1. ^ a b History of 'the Karrimor'/ KIMM/ OMM 28 August 2009 compasssport.co.uk, accessed 29 November 2021
  2. ^ 'omm lite mountain marathon aims to tempt newcomers' 9 May 2013 grough.co.uk/magazine, accessed 29 November 2021
  3. ^ Results/ OMM Results theomm.com
  4. ^ OMM 2021 Report theomm.com
  5. ^ "OMM 2020 Cancelled".
  6. ^ 52nd OMM Location Reveal theomm.com, accessed 29 November 2021
  7. ^ 51st OMM Resultstheomm.com Archived 2019-05-08 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Account of KIMM at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park (2001) 1 April 2002, runnersworld.com, accessed 29 November 2021
  9. ^ Tested: OMM Kamleika Race Jacket and Trousers calibremag.com, accessed 7 February 2022

External links[edit]