The Event

It’s not your average 26 mile marathon! The Mourne Mountain Marathon is a navigational and endurance event for teams of two. At the start of each day teams are presented with a route card listing a number of control markers which are identified by 6-figure map references. They must visit each control in the prescribed order but may choose their own route between each marker. A feature of the event is the overnight camp at which all teams must be self-sufficient with everything being carried throughout the two days of competition. 

Classes (Courses) and Categories 

There are four 2 Day classes/courses of different lengths and difficulty and a 1 Day Score class. For the Elite, B, C & D classes, the fastest team around a set number of control markers over the 2 days wins. For the Score race, the team that collects the most points in six hours wins. 

The event is limited to an entry of 200 teams, which is necessary in order to preserve the essential character of the Mountain Marathon and to ensure that the success of any team should be dependent on their own navigation and judgement. 

The C Class is always very popular (to the point of being full) and we would encourage anyone who has performed well at this level before to move up into the B Class. If you are going to invest a whole weekend to this event you may as well get a good run for your money! 

The main competitive class for competent and experienced mountain marathoners, orienteers and hill runners who have proven ability in similar endurance events. Entrants should have completed an EliteA or B course at a recent mountain marathon or they should have achieved a fast time in a long fell running navigation race or similar event. Minimum age 18yrs.
Distance – 55km over 2 days 

This class is slightly less difficult & arduous than the Elite class and is designed for those who have successfully completed similar courses or have previously done well at a lower level and feel ready to move up. While still a stern challenge this class does not attract the same high level of commitment and competition as the Elite class. Entrants should have very good navigation skills and significant experience of mountaineering or long days moving quickly in the hills. Minimum age 16yrs (experienced Adult-Junior team).
Distance – 45 km over 2 days 

The C-Class is suitable for teams who have, perhaps some mountain marathon experience or who are good hill walkers who want to stretch themselves and their navigational capabilities on a 2 day event. We do not expect the same high level of competition as in the other classes but there has always been a strong comradeship between the teams at this level – especially at the overnight camp. Minimum age 16yrs (Adult-Junior team).
Distance – 35km over 2 days. 

The D-Class is intended for teams who are either new to this type of event and/or have limited mountain experience or endurance. Although the overall length is the same as the C Class, the total climb is lower, the course terrain less arduous and route choices are easier. Mountain navigation and safety skills are still required. Minimum age 16yrs (Adult-Junior team).
Distance – 35km over 2 days. 

The 1 Day Score race takes place on the Saturday, with a 6hr time limit. This class is open to Teams of 2 of any ability as long as you can safely navigate your way the minimum distance (typically 15km) from the start to the campsite within the 6hrs.  There is no fixed course, just collect as many controls as possible in whatever order you think is best. Each control is worth a certain number of points and if you go over the 6hr limit you start to lose points. The winner is the team with the most points and ties are settled by the fastest time. Minimum age 16yrs (Adult-Junior team).

You do not bring overnight camping equipment. The Score ends at the overnight campsite but you are transported by minibus back to the event centre where you started from (and where your car is if you have one).

Distance – Minimum 15km in 1 day. 

Each class is broken down into the individual race categories. Minimum age for entry is 18 years old on the day or 16 years old if partnered by suitabley experiecned adult  21 or over (not Elite class). Places are awarded to categories in the order below: 

O  Open  The overall competition for all teams 
F  Female  Both team members must be women 
Mix  Mixed  Teams composed of one man and one woman 
Vet  Veteran  Teams with both members 45 or over (see below for details) 
Adult & Junior  Teams with 16/17yr old junior partnered with an adult aged 21 or over – parent, guardian or responsible adult
Under 23  Both partners aged 16 – 22   (n.b. if one partner is 16 or 17 then the other must be 21 or 22 as per AJ rules)

Vets Handicap 

The calculation of the Veterans’ Handicap has been standardised in line with other UK mountain marathons. Now only the age of the older team member is considered, and women are given an additional handicap equivalent to 10 years: 

  • A team is eligible for a handicap if both members are 45 or older on the Saturday of the event. This applies to both men and women. 
  • For qualifying teams ten years is then added to the age of women and the greater of the team’s two ages is used to calculate the handicap. 
  • The handicap percentage is then calculated as 1% for every year over 45.

Here are some examples: 

  • A team of two men aged 50 and 55 has a 10% handicap. [55-45 = 10] 
  • A team of a man aged 55 and a woman aged 50 has a 15% handicap. [ (50+10)=60, 60-45=15 ] 
  • A team of a man aged 55 and a woman aged 44 is NOT eligible. 
  • A team of two men aged 40 and 70 is NOT eligible 


The handicap percentage is then applied to the team result as follows 

  • For Elite, B, C and D classes the total time over the two days is reduced by the handicap percentage. 
  • For Score class the total point score over the two days is increased by the handicap percentage. If the total point score over the two days is negative, no adjustment is made. 

It is up to each entrant to assess his or her own ability against their experience and the information provided here and elsewhere on this website. Entrants will not be vetted on grounds of safety (except for Adult-Junior teams) but may be vetted on grounds of competitive fairness (in B or C classes). Those we deem to have entered a class well below their abilities may be advised to move up a class or run non-competitively. N.B. When comparing events, you should look at the previous course descriptions and winning times rather than rely on course names (eg: “Elite” or “B Class”) as these differ from event to event.

The Mourne MM is run on a non-profit, volunteer basis with entry fees kept to the minimum that allows us to operate annually. Prizes are provided primarily through the generosity of our sponsors and will vary from year to year.  However, we will acknowledge and applaud all the winning categories as usual.  All competitors will receive one of our much coveted Mourne Mountain Marathon technical t-shirts.

Book your place on the Mourne Mountain Marathon today!