It would be greatly appreciated if you could read these before contacting us with a question!
2016 Dates & Timings
The Rab Mountain Marathon™ takes place on the last weekend of September each year - the 2016 date is the weekend of 24-25th September.
Friday 26th August
The venue details for the 10th Rab Mountain Marathon will be revealed!
Sunday 11th September
- Entries close (or much earlier once the event reaches capacity).
- Deadline for t-shirt orders (or much earlier once our pre-ordered stock sell out).
- Deadline for food orders.
Friday 23rd September
1600 - Event Centre and car parking opens to competitors (please do not arrive before 1600 - the gate to the parking field will be closed!)
1800 to 2200 – Registration Open
1800 to 2200 – Catering opens and pre-ordered meals available.
2030 - Best of ShAFF Films Start
Saturday 24th September – Day One
0700 to 0900 – Breakfast available (pre-ordered)
0730 to 0930 – Registration open (all competitors must be registered by 0930)
0830 to 1030 – Start times (all competitors must have started by 1030)
Sunday 25th September – Day Two
0700 to 0900 – Starts (all competitors must have started by 0900)
1500 – All courses close
1500 – Prize giving ceremony (quicker!)
FRIDAY NIGHT – BEST OF SHAFF - BEER, FILMS & FOOD
Friday Night – Best of ShAFF - Beer, Films & Food
Please join us at the Event Centre on Friday evening and relax before the race. We will be selling beer, chips, and a selection of other drinks and snacks. Hot drinks cost £1 in a disposable cup.
Hot meals and tickets for the Best of ShAFF films must be booked in advance via SI Entries. The Event Centre will be open from 1600 on Friday afternoon – kindly do not arrive earlier.
The options are:
Friday Night Film & Food - £12
- Vegetarian sausage casserole* with bloomer bread
- Cake and custard
- Award winning films (see below) starting at 2030
Friday Night Food Only - £6
- Vegetarian sausage casserole* with bloomer bread
- Cake and custard
Friday Night Film Only - £6
- Award winning films (see below) starting at 2030
Saturday Morning Breakfast
- Scrambled egg sandwich = £2
- Large bowl of muesli or cereals (various options) with semi-skimmed milk = £1
Deadline for food orders is Sunday 20th September.
Seating for the films is limited and tickets will be sold on a first come first served basis.
*Allergens: mustard, celery (and celeriac), cereals containing gluten, sulphites & sulphur dioxide)
The film program starts at 2030. Total running time: 86 minutes
Fast And Light (16 mins)
Going Up (7 mins)
Humbled (3 mins)
Run For Colin (33 mins)
Life On The Fells (5 mins)
Javelina Hundred (22 mins)
Location & Event Centre
The Event Centre will be Outhgill, Mallerstang, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Nearest Postcode: CA17 4JU
The venue for 2016 was revealed on Friday 26th August 2016 - check out the video:
- 2016 - 10th Rab Mountain Marathon - T.B.C., Yorkshire Dales
- 2015 – 9th Rab Mountain Marathon – Carneddau & Glyerau, Snowdonia
- 2014 – 8th Rab Mountain Marathon – Longsleddale, Lake District
- 2013 – 7th Rab Mountain Marathon - Derwent Fells, Lake District
- 2012 – 6th Rab Mountain Marathon - Cheviots Hills
- 2011 – 5th Rab Mountain Marathon - Carneddau, Snowdonia
- 2010 – 4th Rab Mountain Marathon - Eastern Lake District
- 2009 - 3rd Rab Mountain Marathon - Howgills
- 2008 - 2nd Rab Mountain Marathon - Back o’ Skiddaw, Lake District
- 2007 - 1st Rab Mountain Marathon - Coniston, Lake District
The Nature of the Event
Snowdonia, the Lake District, the Howgills and the Cheviots have all been previous locations for the Rab Mountain Marathon™.
Competitors will be tackling some very challenging mountain terrain in potentially very poor weather. If they are not competent and confident when moving across steep, rough mountain terrain, they will inevitably spend longer on the hills than they anticipated. In view of this, competitors are asked to make a realistic assessment of their capabilities and ensure that they, “Don’t bite off more than they can chew!’
Competitors should be prepared for the worst possible conditions as the competition area can be isolated and the hills are exposed to serious weather. Bear in mind that once competitors have started they are very much on their own. Although the organisers will ensure that the event is as safe as possible, without diminishing the nature of the challenge, competitor safety is ultimately the competitor’s personal responsibility, just as it is with any trip into the hills.
Competitors should prepare for the Rab Mountain Marathon™ by training and running on mountain terrain where possible and by practicing fine map reading and compass skills.
The Rab Mountain Marathon™ has linear, score format and GPS courses. This variety of courses, along with the relatively low numbers, avoids snakes of runners going from point to point and will consequently test competitor’s navigation skills more.
There will be a simple rolling start on each day; within the specified start periods competitors can set off when they are ready. SPORTident electronic timing will be used. Entries from solos and teams of two are invited. In addition to a variety of different runner's class options there is also a walker’s class for those who want an easier, non-competitive weekend.
The final event details, location of the event area and directions to the Event Centre will be confirmed one month before the event.
The Event Centre will open at 1600 on the Friday afternoon (please do not arrive before this time). Registration will be at the Event Centre and this will be open from 1800 until 2200 on the Friday evening and then again from 0730 until 0930 on the Saturday morning.
Competitor car parking for the weekend and camping on the Friday night is included in the price, and is located at the Event Centre. On-site catering will be available on the Friday evening and Saturday morning providing meals for competitors (these ought to be paid for in advance).
Competitors can choose their own start time; Day 1 between 0830 and 1030, Day 2 between 0700 and 0900. Don’t be late arriving at the start!
Elite, A, B and C Courses
The Elite, A, B and C courses are linear courses where competitors must visit a certain number of checkpoints in the correct order. Please note that the winning times for these courses are likely to be considerably quicker than the average time.
Long & Short Score Courses
The event time limits on each day will be: 6 hours Saturday and 5 hours Sunday for the short score course; for the hardier runners 7 hours Saturday and 6 hours Sunday for the long score course. Each checkpoint out on the course will have a specified points value – you will need to consider your ability and aim to collect as many points as possible on each day within the time allowance. If you are late, penalty points will be deducted. Strategy and route planning therefore are as important as fitness. Both days’ points totals will be combined and overall results produced on this basis.
New for 2016 is the GPS course! This innovative new course is ideal for novice participants and offers a linear route that is of a similar standard to the C course in a regular mountain marathon. The aim of the GPS Course is to offer a pathway for new participants to get into mountain marathons. This is the only course on which GPS devices that aid navigation are allowed if the competitor wishes to remain competitive (please see our comprehensive rules on GPS use below). Please note that the GPS tracker that all competitors must carry does not aid navigation, and is still issued (one per team).
Each competitor will be issued with a waterproof map AT THE START. The map will be 1:30,000 scale and of approximate size A3. It will be pre-marked with ALL the controls, for ALL the courses. Competitors will also receive a Control Description (printed on waterproof paper) detailing which controls they should visit on each day. The same map will be used on both days so competitors must take care of it. At the start on each day competitors will be given a control description sheet (also printed on waterproof paper) and a list of the active controls to allow them to plan their strategy/route etc.
At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors will be able to view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out-of-bounds areas, map corrections etc; the event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.
Overnight Campsite on Saturday night
Precise details of this will be given on the event map and on the control description sheet handed out at the start on Saturday morning. Broad details of the campsite i.e. whether high/low, isolated etc. will be given out in the event details by email and on the website in the month leading up to the event. En-route and at the Overnight Campsite water will be from streams. It is each competitor's personal responsibility to boil and/or purify all water they consume; if competitors choose not to treat water this is entirely at their own risk.
Course, Classes & Prizes
The Rab Mountain Marathon™ is open to solo competitors and teams of two who may choose to enter one of the following courses.
- Elite Course - Estimated winning time: 11 hours over two days
- A Course - Estimated winning time: 10 hours over two days
- B Course - Estimated winning time: 9 hours over two days
- C Course - Estimated winning time: 9 hours over two days
- Long Score Course: 7-hours Day 1, and 6-hours Day 2
- Short Score Course: 6-hours Day 1, and 5-hours Day 2
- GPS - Estimated winning time: 8 hours over two days
The Elite, A, B and C Course are linear courses where competitors must visit a certain number of checkpoints in the correct order. The linear courses have less route choice and require less decision making than the score format courses, because the checkpoints (and the order in which they must be visited) are defined by the organisers. Approximate length and height gains over two days would be:
- Elite - 70km with 3,500m ascent
- A - 60km with 2,800m ascent
- B - 50km with 2,500m ascent
- C - 40km with 2,000m ascent
Score Format Courses
The Long and Short Score Courses are 'score format' courses that enable competitors to visit any checkpoint, in any order, whilst gaining points for each checkpoint they visit. Points are deducted for arriving back at the finish late (see end of section). Strategy and route planning therefore are as important as fitness.
New for 2016 is the GPS course! This innovative new course is ideal for novice participants and offers a linear route that is of a similar standard to the C course in a regular mountain marathon. The aim of the GPS Course is to offer a pathway for new participants to get into mountain marathons. This is the only course on which GPS devices that aid navigation are allowed. Please note that the GPS tracker that all competitors must carry does not aid navigation, and is still issued (one per team).
Competitors Class is automatically assigned based on their entry criteria such as age, gender and whether they are a parent/child team.
- Open Male (Solo: 18-45. Pairs: Combined age <90)
- Open Female (Solo: 18-45. Pairs: Combined age <90)
- Open Mixed (Pairs Only: Combined age <90)
- Male Vet (Solo: 45-55. Pairs: Combined age 90-110)
- Female Vet (Solo: 45-55. Pairs: Combined age 90-110)
- Mixed Vet (Pairs Only: Combined age 90-110)
- Male Super Vet (Solo: >55. Pairs Combined age: >110)
- Female Super Vet (Solo: >55. Pairs Combined age: >110)
- Mixed Super Vet (Pairs Only: Combined age: >110)
- Parent & Child (Pairs Only: See Notes Below)
- Walker (Solo or Pairs: 18+ See Notes Below)
Prizes are awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed teams and solo competitors in all the class/course combinations, with the exception of the Walker's class (which is non-competitive) and the Parent/Child class (which are both only available to teams on the GPS, C, and Short Score Course).
Due to the large combination of Class and Courses and Prize categories we are changing the way that we present prizes in 2016, as the old prize ceremonies had become an hour long! From 2016 onwards, we shall only present a prize to the winning Open Male, Open Female and Open Mixed solo competitor and pair on each of the courses. All other prizes winners will be sent their Rab prize voucher by email after the event.
Our minimum age requirement is 14 years old on the first day of the event for the Short Score. 14 to 17 year olds are welcome to enter the short score when accompanied by a supervising parent/guardian aged 21 years or older. The minimum age for all other courses is 18.
Parent / Child Class
Parent / Child Class teams (only available to teams on the GPS, C, and Short Score Course) must consist of parent/guardian (aged at least 21 years) running with their 14-17 year old charge. Our minimum age requirement is 14 years old on the first day of the event.
The Rab Mountain Marathon™ follows the guidance issued by the Fell Running Association on the participation of U18’s in Mountain Marathon type events. These rules state that:
For paired Mountain Marathon style orienteering events, over one or two days, where one of the two runners is under 18, the other runner must be over 20 and must also be the parent or guardian of the junior runner. The minimum age for the junior runner is 14, and the following straight line distance limits must apply for each day of the event:
- Under 16 = 20 km (12.4 miles)
- Under 18 = 25km (15.5 miles)
As the Rab Mountain Marathon Short Score course is a score format only it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to enforce either a 20km (12.4 miles) or 25km (15.5 mile) straight line limit for each day, depending on the age of the younger runner. We do not want to be prescriptive but need to draw this rule to competitors attention. Leading Parent / Child teams can expect their courses to be checked!
The walker's class (GPS, C, and Short Score courses only) is for non-competitive solo or pair entrants who wish to have a weekend out in the hills (no prizes just great scenery and the same challenge to the brain).
There is a time limit each day for the score format courses, and these limits are automatically enforced by the digital SI timing system (you can't argue with the computer!). Competitors who are late finishing will rapidly lose the points built up during the day! Lateness time penalties each day are as follows:
1-5 mins late = 1 point per min
6-15 mins late = 2 points per min
16-29 mins late = 5 points per min
over 30 mins = all points lost
Competitor's KIT & EQUIPMENT
Changes to Equipment Rules
Please note these details have been updated since the 2015 event.
Any solo competitor or pair that is vying for a prize will be kit checked at the Day 2 Finish. There will also be random kit checks at the Start, Overnight Camp and Day 2 Finish of all teams. At the sole discretion and judgment of the Race Director, any competitor who does not have the minimum mandatory items will be disqualified.
Mandatory Team Equipment
Each pair or solo competitor must carry the following mandatory items of team equipment. For the avoidance of doubt solo entries must carry all the mandatory team equipment items themselves but pairs may split the mandatory team equipment between each other.
- A tent with a sewn in groundsheet*;
- Sufficient food for an evening meal and breakfast;
- A stove (plus the ability to light it) and the means to produce hot food/drink, with sufficient fuel remaining at the end of Day 2 to produce a hot drink at the finish;
- The GPS Tracker as supplied by the organisers.
Mandatory Personal Equipment
Each person must wear or carry the following items of equipment and clothing. Please note that this is the MINIMUM amount of clothing and equipment and most competitors will use, carry and want more than this!
- Compass (suitable for mountain navigation);
- Map (provided by the organisers at the start);
- Waterproof pencil or permanent marker pen;
- Torch (with sufficient light to enable a competitor to safely navigate off the hills in the dark);
- Sleeping Bag***;
- Survival Bag (not a blanket);
- Waterproof Jacket or Smock (with taped seams and a hood);
- Waterproof Trousers (with taped seams);
- Hat & Gloves (suitable for the weather conditions);
- Running Tights / Thermal Leggings (full length);
- Technical wicking base layer;
- Warmer (relative to the base layer) mid layer;
- Hill food for each day sufficient for sustaining two days of mountain running with emergency rations to remain at the end of day 2;
- Suitable footwear****.
Mandatory Personal Equipment Provided by the Organisers
- Event map. This will be a full colour, waterproof 1:30,000 scale map, over-printed with control locations for both days. One map per person is included in the entry fee. Please note that additional plastic map bags will NOT be provided. The event map is provided at the start of Day 1;
- Control Descriptions printed on waterproof paper and handed out at the start of each day;
- A SPORTident dibber for use during the event will be rented from us automatically (no own dibbers permitted - sorry!)
RecoMmended Personal/Team Equipment
Whilst these items are not mandatory they do come recommended!
- Blister treatment;
- First aid kit to include as a minimum: x2 wound dressings (one must be large), triangular bandage and safety pins, roller bandage and roll of tape**;
- Sunscreen and/or midge repellent (depending on the weather!);
- Plastic bags to keep your feet dry at the overnight camp;
- Waterproof dry bags / rucksack liner;
- Karrimat, Therm-a-rest or equivalent;
- Platypus or similar device to store water in at the camp site;
- Cooking and eating utensils;
- A mobile phone. See detailed mobile phone rules below*****;
- Altimeter. See detailed altimeter rules below******;
- Money (in case you get stranded miles from the Event Centre).
IMPORTANT Rule clarifications
Detailed Tent Rules
Tents are getting better and lighter every year and the definition/classification of a lightweight tent compared to a hooped bivi tent is becoming blurred. Tents may be “hooped bivis” but must have the following characteristics:
- Have poles / hoops;
- Have a sewn in groundsheet;
- Be big enough to accommodate both runners, if a team.
**Detailed First Aid Recommendations
Competitors may wish to carry painkillers with them but their routine use is not recommended simply to complete the event. Please have a read of the various articles HERE and ensure you are informed. Remember, painkillers reduce the pain but not the killer!
***Detailed Sleeping Bag Rules
A Gore-Tex (or other similar material) is NOT suitable as a sleeping bag. A Blizzard Pack may be used as a sleeping bag but not as a tent. Ultimately the runner is responsible for the warmth of their sleeping bag. It is not sensible to skimp, and we insist on a minimum of a 2-season sleeping bag, so competitors must ensure that they bring one with them to the event.
****Detailed Footwear Rules
Footwear must be lightweight boots, fell-running or orienteering shoes suitable for ‘off-trail’ use. Flat-soled trainers are NOT permitted. Trail shoes are NOT ideal for off trail mountain running, especially contouring, but will be acceptable as long as there is a decent tread on the sole. The ideal shoe for most is a fell-running specific running shoe.
*****Detailed Mobile Phone Rules
A mobile phone is strongly recommended in case of an emergency but it is very important to STRESS that a mobile phone is no substitute for Sound Mountain Judgment i.e. don’t think a risk becomes acceptable because help is only a phone call away… This is not the case, as there is often little or no network signal in the competition area, and rescues often take hours to organise - rescues put many others at risk.
The soul of the Rab Mountain Marathon™ is a map and compass navigation challenge for mountain runners (and some walkers). We’re keen not to undermine this core aspect of the 'nature of the challenge', yet we recognise that a growing number of competitors would appreciate the discretion to take photos and record their routes using GPS-capable smart phones, watches, or other devices. In actual fact, the reality is that this is already happening and often the photos and routes are shared via social media after an event. We now want to clarify the use of any GPS-capable device so that the right balance is struck for all competitors, so that the rules are clear, and that the nature of the challenge is sacrosanct. Therefore our updated rules should be read in the following section.
******Detailed Altimeter Rules
Altimeter devices that work by measuring barometric pressure (e.g. Suunto Core) are allowed. Any device that measures altitude using GPS data is NOT allowed.
With the exception of the GPS Course, all GPS-Capable devices (other than the GPS Tracker provided by the organisers) are banned. Please take CAREFUL NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING RULES:
- If you wish to carry any GPS-capable device and remain competitive (i.e. be eligible for prizes and appear ranked in the results), the device MUST be declared, switched off, and sealed in an opaque envelope (provided), at registration.
- If you wish to use your GPS-capable device in any manner (including to take photos with a smart phone), you may do so, but this MUST be declared at registration and you will be marked as non-competitive in the results (i.e. not eligible for prizes and appear unranked in the results).
- All non-GPS capable mobile phones are acceptable to carry and these do not need to be turned off or sealed in an opaque envelope at registration.
We expect competitors to be honest and not to seek any unfair advantage whether specifically set out within these rules or not. However, we would strongly encourage competitors to have a quiet word with any race official if they suspect another competitor is using a GPS-capable device on our Elite, A, B, C, Long Score and Short Score Courses and whom also appears in the overall results.
For clarification, examples of GPS-capable devices include (non-exhaustively) smart phones and sport/smart watches (e.g. by Garmin and Suunto) that use GPS functionality to record/display any navigationally-useful information like distance travelled or altitude, regardless of whether they also provide a grid reference or not. All barometric-only altimeters remain acceptable. If a competitor needs to use their phone in an emergency they will not be penalised for this.
SAFETY, EMERGENCY PROCEDURES & BAD WEATHER COURSES
Event safety considers the impact of all actions on both competitors, marshals and potentially the emergency services such as a Mountain Rescue Team. Safety considerations are dynamic and may change as the race progresses and the weather conditions deteriorate. The Race Director’s decision will be final in all matters relating to safety.
The nature and the challenge of Marmot Dark Mountains™ is that competitors remain self sufficient and responsible for their own safety throughout the event. Should an accident occur it is initially the competitors’ responsibility to look after each other and raise the alarm. In the event of an accident ensure that the casualty is put in their sleeping bag (and any spare sleeping bags), in a survival bag and in the tent. Use your whistle to summon help and ensure you make a careful note of your exact position (grid reference) and any features you can identify.
GPS Tracking: SOS Emergency Button / GPS Trackers
Each team's GPS tracker has an SOS Emergency Button. In the event of serious (threat to life or limb) incident, this button should be pressed immediately.
Pressing the SOS button sends a text message with your location to the Race Director via the mobile phone networks. In an emergency it is worth pressing this SOS button even if your own mobile phone shows no network coverage. Pressing and holding this button until the tracker vibrates will initiate an emergency response by the emergency services and event staff. As the Race Director will have little information about your emergency, Mountain Rescue and a Search and Rescue helicopter will be requested by the Race Director. Pressing the SOS button leads to automatic disqualification for the team requiring aid.
Please note that although the GPS trackers record their location via GPS satellite signal, they only send out their location data via the phone network (the same network that is used to send text messages). As such, there are black spots in the competition area (typically valleys) where there is no network coverage. At these locations the tracker records its location, buffering the data, and then sends it out once it is back in network coverage. In these black spots it is not possible to send an SOS message but always worth trying.
Each team's GPS track will be live in real-time during the event. Every team's GPS track will be publicly available to download as a GPX file after the event, and also available to watch via a 'replay' function on the event website.
The Golden Rule
Once registered, each competitor must download their SI data from their dibber at the Day 1 Finish on the first day, and the Event Centre on Day 2, before departing regardless of whether they are retired or not (or even not started). This is our check to account for everyone being safely off the hill.
If a team has not finished AND downloaded their SI data at the Event Centre by 1600 on the Sunday AND they have failed to contact the organisers on the Emergency Telephone Number (printed on the maps) then the Police and Mountain Rescue may be notified and a search organised. The competitors Next of Kin will be contacted at this point.
Bad Weather Course
A bad weather course maybe declared at anytime by the Race Director and in this instance, competitors must omit certain checkpoints (the overall time for the score format courses will be reduced). Details of the bad weather course are printed on the map.
|Above: SI in action. © Rob Howard|
The event will use digital SPORTident timing; known as SI. At registration each competitor will be issued with their own SI Dibber, which must be ‘punched’ into the SI timing boxes at each checkpoint, the start and the finish. For those unfamiliar with this simple and reliable system, full instructions will be given. The SI system is an important safety feature of the event and when competitors ‘download’ their SI data at the end of each day, we will be able to ascertain who is safely off the hill.
All controls (may also be referred to as 'checkpoints') will be marked with a white and orange orienteering kite as shown in the picture above.
For the 2016 Rab Mountain Marathon™ we will be introducing live GPS tracking. We are doing this to add significantly to the event safety and to engage with the friends and family of competitors. It will be exciting viewing! Each pair or solo competitor will be required to carry a GPS tracker.
GPS Tracking: Follow the Race Live
The GPS trackers can be followed live via our homepage at the time of the race.
For friends and family following the race please note that there are black spots where tracking data will be temporarily unavailable (see below), and a team's tracker may appear to be stationary. Please don’t worry if this happens as we will be monitoring competitors’ progress around the course carefully.
GPS Tracking: SOS Emergency Button
Each team and solo competitor's GPS tracker has an SOS Emergency Button. In the event of serious (threat to life or limb) incident, this button should be pressed immediately.
Pressing the SOS button sends a text message with your location to the Race Director via mobile phone signal. In an emergency it is worth attempting an SOS text even if no mobile phone signal is available to call. Pressing this button (until the tracker vibrates) will initiate an emergency response by the emergency services and event staff. As the Race Director will have little information about your emergency, Mountain Rescue and a Search and Rescue helicopter will be requested by the Race Director. Pressing the SOS button leads to automatic disqualification for the team requiring aid.
Please note that although the GPS trackers record their location via GPS satellite signal, they only send out their location data via GSM networks (the same that are used to send text messages). As such, there are black spots in the competition area (typically valleys) where there is no network coverage. At these locations the tracker records its location, buffering the data, and then sends it out once it is back in network coverage. In these black spots it is not possible to send an SOS message but it is always worth trying.
GPS Tracking Public Information
Each team's GPS track will be live in real-time during the event and will be publicly available to download as a GPX file after the event. It will also be possible to watch progress via a 'live replay' function on the event website. This means that any cheating (whether accidental or not), such as crossing an uncrossable boundary or passing through an out-of-bounds area will lead to almost certain disqualification from the event... even if that disqualification happens a few days afterwards.