Monday, October 27

OMM Lake District Washout

Watching the OMM media frenzy as it developed since Saturday afternoon I'd planned to leave any thoughts until the dust settled a little. Then I read Grough's insightful piece pointing out a few salient facts about the OMM event over the years (in particular the comment "The tally of 13 hospitalised participants is about normal for a weekend mountain marathon")

Says it all really.

So lets leave that part of the weekend aside. Instead consider those wildly fluctuating numbers of entrants & injuries that were flung about during various media reports.

Or maybe the OMMers' own experiences as they started to feedback on-line. Such as this on uk.rec.walking........."Mark Weir .................at Honister he was running around all over the place as if he was in charge of the whole thing, shipping people down to Buttermere under some assumption that there were buses to take them to Cockermouth........the impression that his real goal was to simply get them all out of his quarry as soon as possible"

Hmm. Quite a different perspective than that provided in the media. Definitely a personal view. Maybe even wildly wrong. But true reportage from someone directly involved.

(Edit 1 Nov - and another eye witness report with similar thoughts on the Honister media star)

Or how about the MRT incident reports from Langdale, Wasdale, & Penrith (Keswick have yet to update their site)

What! No mass catastrophe. One specific incident ('competitor swept away') & a number of support/assist call-outs for neighbouring teams. Pretty much the norm considering the requirement to assist with safe evacuation of an exceptionally flooded area and a large event. Especially pertinent when some OMM entrants were reported to be involved with the MRT themselves.

For comparison what about the Three Peaks events that take place throughout the summer months? I've not taken the time to add together the total number of incidents associated there, as I'd bet money on which takes up the larger chuck of man hours and call outs. And that's during more 'normal' hill weather.

As for 2009 what steps will the OMM organisers now have to consider to deflect that inevitable carping that will come their way? With what financial cost to the organisation and inevitably the competitors? How may this affect the event's long and illustrious reputation in future years?

Somehow all this feels a little unfair considered against the paucity of factual reporting, and media general disinclination, with rare exceptions, to explain the nature of the event & those people involved. Surely its the Press's remit to deliver "The Story" in a form suitable for the consumption and understanding of a wider mass audience. In this case an audience largely ignorant of outdoor challenges such as the OMM.

At this point I could get rather pithy about the responsibility of the Press.......but I think I'll save the effort for more interesting things.

More comment and video reports direct from those involved in the event over at SleepMonsters.

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Comments:
My comment from uk.rec.walking - it's not quite a direct view, but a second-hand one from my brother, who did take part (which admittedly I may have slanted in my own way, although I wasn't intending to).
 
Anon - I understood that when I wrote the piece, but deliberately tried to anonymise & cut it down to bare bones to get to the nuts of the main point.
Hope that was ok?
 
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