Friday, 23 October 2015

The OMM 2015 Tweedsmuir Hills: Preview

It's that time again. After a few weeks of lovely autumn sunshine and generally mild temperatures, the mercury has just started dropping, the wind has started to get up and it's suddenly getting difficult to train in the daylight. OMM-time!

This year The OMM roadshow heads to Tweedsmuir in the northern part of the Scottish Borders/Southern Uplands. The extensive backcountry both south and north of the A701 should provide plenty of scope for suitable navigational and physical challenges, as well as picking out some of the interesting names of the area: Dead for Cauld, Muckle Knees, Drowning Dubs, Porridge Cairn, Nickies Knowe, Worm Hill. Looking at the OS map of the area suggests similarities to the steepness and ridge systems of Howgills 2012.

A few changes this year will see a reversion to Harveys maps (YAY!) and tea after the event. However, the main changes are that you will need to carry a spare thermal and leg layer other than the kit you are running in, whereas previously 1 thermal and 1 warm leg layer sufficed. First Aid Kit is also now up to the runners' discretion.

 Anyway, on to a brief run-down of some names to watch out for on the Elite start-list. My apologies for this being poorly researched, lacking in pictures and not very in depth - bit of a rush job I'm afraid!


Duncan Archer & Shane Ohly.
The winners the last time The OMM ventured to Scotland (Perthshire 2011), Duncan and Shane are experienced mountain marathoners with excellent navigation and terrain-stunning skills. Shane organises big events such as the Dragon's Back, 2016's Cape Wrath Ultra, whilst Duncan has won numerous LAMMs and is well known on the Elite British Orienteering scene as thriving in the roughest of terrain.
Duncan and Shane win in 2011. Image

Andy Fallas & Iain Whiteside.
The Carnethy duo are frequently seen troubling the top of British Fell/Hill race results, both having top-10s in British Championship races this year (Andy at Y Moelwyn, Iain at the Seven Sevens). Andy finished 3rd (4th including an NC pair) in 2014, albeit a way behind 2nd place.

Jasmin Paris & Konrad Rawlik.
After 4th (and first mixed pair) last year, The Carnethy duo, Jasmin especially, have had a stellar year in the mountains of the UK and Europe. 2nd and 3rd respectively at The Dragon's Back was preceded with 3rd for Konrad and 4th for Jasmin at the Fellsman Hike in April, with Jasmin smashing the ladies record. August saw them tackle the GoreTex TransAlp, where they were 3rd mixed pair - not bad for a holiday!

Kim Collison & Adam Perry.
After his 2nd attempt at the Lakes 24h record earlier in the year, Adam has enjoyed getting back to racing over all distances. Early season form saw him win his 3rd Fellsman Hike in a row ahead of Jez Bragg. Of course, his 2nd Fellsman win in 2014 was shared - hand in hand - with Kim, who has hit some fantastic late-season form with 26th (in 26h) at UTMB followed by a big win and new course record at Lakes in A Day just 2 weeks ago.
Photo from

Oleg Chepelin & Sam Hesling.
Oleg set the 3rd fastest Nav leg at last weekend's FRA Relays and is another orienteer known for bulldozing whatever terrain is put infant of him. Sam is the winner of this year's Lairig Ghru race.

Jim Mann & Nic Barber.
After winning the Dragon's Back, leading from Day 1, Jim has kept his form throughout the year with a win at the Grossglockner Ultra Trail and 3rd at the Lakes Sky Ultra. So needless to say I'm a bit scared of partnering him this weekend! For what it's worth, my results pale into insignificance: 1st on A class last year and a win at the Edale Skyline way back in March. CAn't wait!

Charles Sproson & Chris Baynam-Huges.
After a 6th place finish in the Cheviots last year, Charles and Chris deserve a mention here, although in my brief research race results are hard to find!

Nicky Spinks & Jean Brown.
After setting a new record on the Bob Graham earlier this year, Nicky Spinks teams up with Jean Brown as the only all-female pair on the start list.

So, some predictions?

Well, I'm going to go for Adam & Kim to win, with Oleg & Sam and Shane & Duncan rounding out the podium, pushed hard by Jasmin & Konrad, Andy & Iain and Jim & myself (well I've got to back myself a bit, right?!)