Thousands descend on East Cumbria to tackle weekend spectacular

First published in Sport The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

LIGHT snow met thousands of participants who took part in the Original Mountain Marathon in Cumbria this weekend - one of the hardest endurance challenges in the world.

Adventure lovers descended on Sedbergh School for the two-day spectacular, which is held in different regions across the UK every year.

The Howgill Fells were chosen this year for the first time since 1998 and on the fourth occasion overall.

People must take with them all their clothes, tents, equipment and food for 36 hours, navigating their own route with an overnight camp included in the race. Teams are totally self supporting, with no GPS or outside support Long-term organiser Jen Longbottom, said: “The Howgills have always had a special place in my heart for it was here I first competed in the OMM.”

There were eight different categories included in two classes.

The elite section of the Line class, which contains five different areas, involved two consecutive marathon length days with 2,500m of ascent over 48 hours.

Bjorn Rydvall and Aaron Prince came home first in a time of 11:21.01, six minutes and 50 seconds ahead of Duncan Archer and Shane Ohly.

Those two teams finished more than an hour ahead of third-placed Nick Barrable and Darrell High.

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In wet conditions D Class Winners were Quentin Harding and his daughter Zoe Harding, 17, from Lancaster, who finished an hour and a half ahead of the closest rivals Kevin Honeysett and Kerry Brown.

Quentin said: “This is my 25th or 26th time and I had to come out of retirement to run with my daughter Zoe on her first OMM event. I carried the gear and she had the responsibility of navigation!

C Class winners were Chris Owens, 18, and Jonny Malley, 20, from Sheffield University.

They said: “This is our first OMM event. The conditions today have been cold and wet with a lot of clag on the hill.

“Fortunately our navigation was spot on and we went really well, although it was a rough and cold night’s sleep as we opted for only the essentials to save on weight!”

Jonathan Crickmore and Peter Bray’s time of 8:42.58 gave them a one hour five minute victory over Nicholas Barber and Andrew Blackett in the B class, with vet John Tullie and Kenny Short a further 25 minutes back.

Tom Beasant and Alasdair McLeod reigned supreme in the A category.

The Score class was the second type of event, and in the Long Score Tom and Astrid Gibbs were the winners in 12:52.58, just a couple of minutes ahead of vet Kenny Leitch and Keith Masson.

Ciara Largey and Marcus Pinker emerged triumphant in the medium score, while Christopher and Thane Hall won the long score.

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