Extreme Weather Conditions Force OMM Cancellation

Rob Howard / 29.10.2021
Extreme conditions in Langdale
Extreme conditions in Langdale / © OMM

Extreme weather has caused the cancellation of the Original Mountain Marathon, one of the UK’s oldest and most and prestigious outdoor events.

This weekend should have been the 53rd running of the OMM, but high winds and exceptionally heavy rain destroyed the event infrastructure in Great Langdale, shredding the event marquee, while flooded roads made access impossible. The organisers were left with little choice but call off the event, which had already been rescheduled due to Covid restrictions last year, and changed location from its original venue in Scotland.

It’s the second time the event has been called off in the Lake District. The 2008 event there was also called off due to flooding, but that happened after the first day of competition with the competitors already out in the hills.

This time the 2000 competitors were emailed and advised not to travel on Friday morning and the event has since reported none of the staff on site were injured and that the event will be held again on its normal end of October date next year.

This is the announcement made by the OMM team, announcing the cancellation.

For 54 years the OMM event has promoted mountain running in a safe and sustainable way. The ethos of sound mountain judgement includes what routes to take, what kit to carry & most importantly when to turn back.

Well, in the early hours of Thursday morning, it became clear that for only the third time, the OMM event needed to turn back from bringing 2000 people to The Langdales.

Currently the English Lakes are experiencing some pretty extreme weather; the roads are flooded following 86mm of rain in one day; the ground is sodden with water rising to lift the road surfaces and winds are gusting to over 40mph+ at valley level.

Now this was predicted, and, with weather set to improve (a little) this is something that the hardy OMM runners might look forward to.  However, to enable you to test your endurance and mountain craft, an army of volunteers build comms networks & infrastructure tirelessly through the preceding week. It’s the impossibility of completing this work in the conditions that has led to the cancellation.

So what happened? First due to the conditions it has not been possible to set up the network of marshal’s stations, radio beacons and support points around the 400km2 site. Secondly, the event centre has also suffered substantial damage in the high winds that cannot be repaired. Thirdly impassable roads have blocked the catering & other infrastructure arriving… the knock on effects continues. While we believe the conditions & access will improve on Friday, sadly this will be too late to pull it all together.  It is with sadness that the event will not go ahead this weekend.

Over the next week we will communicate more on what we will do for those with entries but please bear with us as we get the tidy up done and lick our wounds a bit.  We hope we can see you soon and the 53rd OMM will be able to happen on another date.

Team OMM.

You can see more news and some video of the destroyed event center on the OMM Facebook page.

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