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OMM have been organising running events for 56 years, across the United Kingdom and abroad, including the Austrian Alps and as far afield as Japan. The OMM Festival is the brand’s family-friendly weekend event that welcomes all abilities and ages to take part in its adventure fell race, the OMM Lite.
The not-for-profit event which has run yearly since 2013 (albeit with a hiatus in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic) returned over the weekend of the 28th-29th May to its previous year’s stomping ground of Grasmere in the Lake District, running in tandem with local race event The Grasmere Gallop.
A satellite event to the original OMM challenge; a gruelling multi-day race that takes place in October in various locations throughout the UK, the OMM Festival caters to a broader range of runners, both hardened marathoners, newbie fell runners and all those in between. The annual OMM Festival this year joined forces with long-standing local event The Grasmere Gallop for a family-friendly weekend of running, camping, workshops and talks in one of the Lake District’s most picturesque venues.
Whilst the route lengths on offer at the OMM Festival are decidedly more amenable than that of its unnerving older brother, they certainly aren’t to be sniffed at! Over the weekend, competitors tested their legs on 5, 10, 17 and 42km fell races as part of the Grasmere Gallop, whilst OMM Lite participants navigated the rugged terrain of the Grasmere fells as fast as they could, bagging checkpoints along the way.
With a hot meal and free camping for all race entrants, the combined events aim to foster a sense of community amongst competitors of all ages and abilities, and activities such as face painting and the prestigious Teddy Dash race, which had over 70 entrants, meant that kids were catered for too.
Workshops including technique and physiology, training for your first ultra marathon or multi-day race, navigation and Nordic Walking were on offer throughout the weekend, including women-specific running workshops and Q&A sessions.
Drop-in yoga sessions helped participants to stretch out tired muscles and relax upon their return to the festival site, and Saturday night featured an inspirational talk from endurance athlete and world record-breaker, Kate Jayden.
The Teddy Dash was open to teddies of all ages, accompanied by kids under five.
OMM Events Director, Stuart Hamilton, said of the weekend:
‘It’s a pleasure to be back once again in Grasmere for the OMM Festival. Grasmere offers us the perfect base for a weekend of racing and camping, with beautiful fells and valleys right on the doorstep, giving competitors a choice of high and low level routes, all based on the fantastic network of paths and trails that criss-cross the area.
‘We have worked closely with local stakeholders over the past couple of years to ensure we not only put on the best event we can for our competitors but to also make sure the event works for our neighbours here in Grasmere. By working with landowners and National Trust, we have built a strong network across the area that allows a sustainable and beneficial OMM Festival for all.’
By working with landowners and National Trust, we have built a strong network across the area that allows a sustainable and beneficial OMM Festival for all
Competitors enjoyed excellent spring conditions for the event, and the 5km leg of the Grasmere Gallop produced new course records from William Murray in the junior race, with a time of 20:57, and Thomas Alcock in the seniors clocking 22:07. The 42km fell marathon was won by Ben Renshaw in 4:57:59, closely followed by Annika Stumpf in 5:01:34.
Upon their return to camp, competitors soaked up the evening sun and made the most of the on-site bar and local food vendors, and a dedicated sports physio team were on hand offering sports massage and expert advice for any post-race pains.
The sun shone, trails were run, medals and cakes were earned; a typically brilliant weekend in the Lake District
Event Director for the Grasmere Gallop, Gaynor Prior, said:
‘It was an amazing weekend with such a great atmosphere, I think people were just so happy to be together again doing what they love in beautiful surroundings.
‘On Sunday we held the inaugural Grasmere Gallop Marathon. With over 6500 feet of ascent, the route was challenging but stunningly beautiful, taking in Alcock Tarn, Ambleside, Loughrigg, Rydal Water, Langdale valley, Stickle Tarn and Easedale Tarn.
‘The sun shone, trails were run, medals and cakes were earned; a typically brilliant weekend in the Lake District.’
The OMM Festival is a not-for-profit event that is supported by a number of organisations and authorities invested in sharing, protecting and education surrounding our wild spaces including National Trust, Mountain Rescue, John Muir Trust and the Fell Runners Association. All profits made from ticket sales are donated to a number of charities chosen by the OMM.
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