The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM), one of the oldest adventure races in the world, will be held this autumn at Nozawa Onsen Village in Nagano on November 6-8, 2020 (the race takes place Nov. 7-8). Applications are open until October 10, 2020 and cost ¥16,000 per person. Participants must apply in groups of two and choose either the Line/Straight Course or Score Course. This navigational mountain race is for experienced runners and trail runners.
This year, there will be sufficient COVID-19 measures in place including disinfectants and social distancing.
The Rules of the OMM
The Line Course is a time trial where you are given a map with a set number of checkpoints—or controls—which you must reach over a certain period of time. Line course teams opt for the Elite A or B course.
The Score Course is a points-based rogaining system. The team that collects the most points across the two days wins. There’s a Long and Medium Course, with the Long Score Course going for seven hours on Day One and six hours on Day Two. Although this means you’ll technically “finish” the race without running out of time and getting disqualified, this requires strategy to decide your route and which controls you want to reach for the most points.
Because the maps are given out at the starting point on the first day of the race, there’s really no way to train except to study the area and terrain and know how to translate maps into trails that fit you and your team’s skill level. The pink areas marked on the maps are out of bounds, whether it’s for safety issues or lack of permission to use the area.
At night, all teams must reconvene at the overnight camp, usually up in the mountains and hours away from the starting point. Teams are not allowed to help one another; if someone asks the staff for help or even medical assistance, they are immediately disqualified.
Friday, November 6, 2020: Registration begins from 12 p.m. Pre-event Festival with food, beverage and outdoor maker booths.
Saturday, November 7, 2020: Registration opens from 5 a.m. Race starts (groups start at different times based on type of race) from 8 a.m.
Sunday, November 8, 2020: Race starts from 6 a.m. Awards ceremony held at 2 p.m. Courses close at 4 p.m.
Getting to Nozawa Onsen
Take the shinkansen bullet train to Iiyama Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line (100 minutes from Tokyo). The Nozawa Liner bus departs from Iiyama Station around once every hour. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes by bus from Iiyama Station to Nozawa Onsen.