The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Rescued runners story ‘provoked by member of public who was completely unknowledgeable’

Posted by willd2 on October 28, 2008

Mike Parsons, event organiser, responds to the cancellation of OMM 2008:

Last Friday, the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) near Keswick, Cumbria, had to be abandoned after torrential downpours caused floods, leaving thousands of competitors stranded.

Over 1700 competitors were unaccounted for overnight and a costly rescue operation, involving the local police, mountain rescue teams and the RAF had to be implemented.

According to the BBC, the rescue mission cost local authorities ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds.’

This led John Ashton, Cumbria’s director of public health, to call for a change in the legal responsibilities for organisers of similar events.

If implemented, this would mean that organisers would have to cover the costs of any avoidable emergencies, which would otherwise fall to the taxpayer.

‘Complete bollocks’

Mike Parsons, innovation director and general manager of OMM, dismissed Ashton’s words as ‘complete bollocks’.

Parsons claims that upon realising he was ‘cornered’ on the subject of insurance, Ashton proceeded to criticise the event organisers’ ‘naivety’.

OMM have rejected claims that they endangered competitor’s lives by not cancelling the event sooner, despite having received severe weather warnings.

Asked if the event would be handled differently in the future, Parsons said, ‘No two sets of circumstances are ever the same.  We had a bad storm in 1998, which we learned from and we’ll learn from this one.’

‘Last week the world of event reporting changed’

‘The story was provoked by a member of the public who was completely unknowledgeable’, said Parsons, ‘they also refused to collaborate before, during or after the event.’

He stated that, ‘last week, the world of event reporting changed’, after information and videos were passed to the media by competitors and members of the public.

Parsons stated that in future events the OMM ‘will ensure that correct information is transmitted to the press’.

The day after the event, Mark Weir, owner of Honister Slate Mines, who provided shelter for over 300 runners, told the BBC: ‘We have come within inches of turning the Lake District mountains into a morgue.’

The BBC reported that OMM have already raised £3000, which will be donated to the local mountain rescue teams who helped the competitors. 

Parsons, could not confirm how much money had been raised but said that an announcement would be made on the website very soon.

What is the Original Mountain Marathon?

The website describes OMM as the ‘premier UK event to test teamwork, self-reliance, endurance, outdoor and navigational skills. The reputation of the event is worldwide and every year we have entrants from between 12-14 countries.

 …Which in laymen’s terms means:


  •  A two-day mountain marathon (currently being held in the Lake District)
  • The course is 49.6 miles long
  • Competitors work in teams of two
  • They must carry all of their own equipment and food
  • They must navigate their way across the course and camp overnight
  • The event started in 1968


Will Drysdale –

Main Story


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