As I may have mentioned a couple or ten times in these pages, I’m not a hot weather kind of guy. Sunny days may be fine for going to the beach, but they make my summer runs pretty unpleasant. And so, my regular Sunday cross-country run was an absolute pleasure today, as it featured high winds, driving rain and a spot of hail at one point.
Naturally, I was wearing just shorts and a wicking top, to go with my iPod and Camelbak. So the few people I saw walking their endlessly pooing pooches through the dunes and along the beach made it even plainer than usual that they thought I was an oddball for being out running in such ‘treacherous’ conditions.
An attitude that was probably enhanced quite a lot by the media hysteria surrounding the Original Mountain Marathon that was held in the UK yesterday.
Obviously, the weather was wetter and windier than usual, for this 49 mile yomp through some of Lakeland’s most stunning mini-mountains. So the organisers duly cancelled it at mid day yesterday, and advised those who hadn’t finished yet to get the hell out of there.
And then came the really strange thing. BBC News, so often a rare beacon of sanity in a world gone mad, sent a North West News crew up there to report on the situation. Well, when I say ‘report’, what I actually mean is ‘sensationalise.’ Well, I say ‘sensationalise’, but I think that ‘over-react and cause a completely unnecessary panic, frightening the nearest and dearest of those out on the hills to death and contriving to raise the spectre of thousands consigned to a watery grave, when actually, what we got was a few sprains and a couple of cases of hypothermia’ is nearer to the truth.
FGS BBC. The OMM is not a race for the faint-hearted or the inexperienced. It may be called a marathon, but there the resemblance to the London Marathon ends, as there are no matronly first-timers or fell-running virgins in attendance.
Instead, the competitors are highly experienced fell-walkers and -runners. They’ve got more Gore-Tex between them than the entire Blacks chain. They’re buddied up, clued-up and are sporting tents, food and Sat Nav in their packs.
So, predictably, when the day dawned, out of 2,500 people, there were less than 20 who’d experienced even a shred more discomfort than they had bargained for. And I’m prepared to bet that at least that many people have some sort of problem every year at this event.
Naturally, the Police will make a fuss and the Mountain Rescue people will collect a lot of entirely appropriate donations. And just as naturally, there’s going to be a queue like an execution next year, for an event that used to be little-known, but is going to be more over-subscribed than the FLM next year. Well, good lady wife permitting, I certainly fancy it.