Entries and Changes

The Vet category is open to teams where both members are aged 45 or over. Only the elder team member’s age is used to calculate the handicapping with an additional 10 years being added to the woman’s age for this calculation. This is explained more fully in Courses section. 

Yes, the minimum age on the day of the event is 18yrs in the Elite and B Classes and 16yrs in the Cand Score classes N.B.Juniors must be partnered by their parent/gaurdian and other conditions apply. 

If anyone has a burning need for a particular Start Time please contact us and we will try to slot you in as desired

You will receive a confirmation email from SI Entries (which you should keep until after the event) and successful entries are automatically published on the Entries List page. Parental Consent forms for Parent-Junior teams will be acknowledged upon receipt and processed within two weeks. If you are concerned about your entry status please contact us.

Use our Facebook page to find partners (for this event only.!!). If you are unsuccessful please note the rules about refunds. Good Luck.

Yes. See “Withdrawing your entry” on the Entries page.

Yes. Entries are transferable however the ownership remains with the original card payer and it will be up to you to sort out exchange of monies. Please also ensure that any new participants read and accept all the terms of entry. 

A proper mass start is when everyone starts at the same time. However, for the Mourne Mountain Marathon we hold a rolling mass start on the Sunday morning for all teams between 08:00 and 08:45. You can start any time within this window and your Start Time is registered in the Control Box. Teams are free to use this window to competitive advantage. 

Kit Questions

The course has been planned on the Mourne Mountains 1:25,000 map (1st edition) from Harvey Maps. There is a 2nd edition 2014 version of this map but the controls will be placed on features that are correctly shown on both versions. The OSNI activity Map of The Mournes won’t be as useful. Both maps are available from any good online or local retailer – including our superb sponsors – Jackson Sports. WE DO NOT SUPPLY maps as part of the entry process.

We chose a “1 season” sleeping bag as a MINIMUM safe standard. Combined with your clothing and hot food you should be able to survive a night in the Mournes in September without coming to harm. Beyond that, any need for comfort is up to individuals. Standards vary between manufacturers but typically “1 season” means a lower comfort limit of 5degC (as defined by EN13537). 

Some modern hi-tech bits of gear are reasonable replacements for bulkier and heavier “traditional” equipment. The key thing is that the safety functionality and performance of this gear must be at least as good as that of the gear specified in the rules. There is so much gear on the market that we can’t possibly check it all out. If you are in doubt please contact us but bear in mind that we will err on the side of caution and may refuse some products if we can’t be confident that they meet the grade. 

No. Not instead of a tent. Teams must carry a proper tent with sewn-in groundsheet: it must be manufactured as a tent and not as a bivy or something else. One survival bag is ALSO required per team.

The Mourne Mountain Marathon is a TEAM event and we believe that part of that experience is sharing your tent – for better or for worse. Allowing two smaller tents would also give us problems with enforcing the rules around bivy bags and what constitutes a tent.

NOT FOR NAVIGATION – GPS watches are common for tracking courses and post-event analysis. We think they’re great. Many mobile phones also have GPS with, at very least, basic map functionality. We don’t consider this to be of much use in mountain navigation and therefore not an issue. However, you can also install proper GPS navigation apps with OS based maps. Use of these apps or any dedicated GPS navigation device is not allowed as they provide considerable competitive advantage and are very much against the spirit of a mountain marathon. We can’t practicably check everyone for these devices so we are relying on peoples’ integrity. However, if someone is spotted and reported using GPS to navigate, we will do a kit check and if the offence is confirmed the team will be disqualified. Altimeters are allowed. 

NOT FOR NAVIGATION but – GPS tracker and pace watches are allowed. These are great for tracking courses and post-event analysis. To support this fun activity, we provide a number of USB charge points at the overnight camp so bring your charger lead along. 

Yes, A mobile phone is great for use in emergencies and should be kept safely wrapped in a plastic bag in your rucksack or an inside pocket. We are aware that many smartphones have mapping and GPS capability. USE OF THE GPS NAVIGATION FUNCTION IS NOT ALLOWED. In general, the use of the 3/4G based map navigation is too slow, intermittent and inaccurate in the Mournes to be relied upon. 

Aside from the competition rule above, anyone with any real experience of smart phones in mountain conditions will know that they are not to be relied upon – especially in cold or wet conditions. Phone batteries are particularly prone to suddenly dying when cold and, of course, if you drop your phone in a bog hole it’s knackered. A phone is great for use in emergencies and should be kept safely wrapped in a plastic bag in your rucksack or an inside pocket. 

Yes. but GPS navigation devices are forbidden. 

See the Equipment section for a list of obligatory equipment. See Rules of the event.

There will be an area to leave travel bags which will be locked overnight. Howeversecurity is not guaranteed and competitors leave valuables there at their own risk. Neither the Mourne Mountain Marathon nor the event centre’s owners will accept any liability for any lost or damaged belongings.

Out On the Hills

No. For safety and competitive reasons both team members must stay in contact throughout the event. In practice this means you cannot have one team member take a short cut whilst the other climbs up to a control. Some controls will be marshalled and marked as such on the control description sheets, but there will also be secret marshals at some controls. Any team failing to visit a control together may be disqualified forthwith.

No. Teams are required to be totally selfsufficient on the hills. Mourne stream water is commonly drunk directly but the quality is very dependant on location and weather. We recommend that you carry water or appropriate purification equipment. Drinking water will be available at the overnight camp although it may come from a spring.

Only waste food, packaging and gas canisters may be dumped at the overnight camp. EVERYTHING else must be carried for the 2 days. This is important for both safety and fairness. We will be monitoring this closely and there will be spot checks on equipment. 

No. Teams are only required to be able to make a hot meal on the first day – either at the end of the day or in an emergency out on the course. All other cooking is optional although most teams will also make hot drinks in the evening and at breakfast the next morning.

No. Sorry, but we don’t allow dogs as it would complicate our relationships with the various landowners whose cooperation we rely upon. There is also the potential for disturbance to other competitors at the, often, busy campsite. 

No. In no circumstances will a team member be allowed to continue along the course alone. You may be allowed to pair up with another individual, however both teams will then be deemed non-competitive and no place awarded. This is for both safety and competitive reasons.

Tips for navigating

Remember that the grid ref defines the bottom left corner of a 100m square in which the feature lives. Many people mark their maps with a dot at the grid ref then draw a circle around it. This effectively puts them out by 50m at the outset. 

This tricky example from 2013 illustrates: 

The 8 figure GPS reference for a crag was 2538 2409 so it just crept into the 6 figure square by a few metres. Anything we checked against the Harvey map on the Garmin came out accurate within 10m (Terry McQueen, Course Planner). 

An important decision on a long day out is whether to go over a hill or around it. You can calculate the standard time for either option using Naismith’s Rule but you also need to factor in things such as: the terrain, which muscles are least tired, how good your contouring is etc. 

Look out for catchment features – large obvious features that are easy to hit and will tell you when you are near your target control. You can make fast time to these then slow down and make careful navigation from there onto your Control. 

Another good tip around catchment features is to “aim off” – especially with linear features such a wall or river. For example – if you are looking for a stream junction, don’t try to hit it spot on. Instead, deliberately aim below it (say) by a small distance so that you then definitely know to go upstream to get to the junction. 

If you are new to this type of event you might not have heard of this particular feature before. 

A reentrant is a small valley in a hillside, the centre of which would collect water and funnel it downhill (if it were raining hard). It appears on the map as a U or V shape in the contour lines, pointing back into a hillside rather than sticking out of the hill (as would a spur). Hillsides are covered with reentrants and they are very popular as control features with course planners – especially ours!! 

Routegadget is a great tool for analysing your route choices compared to other runners. After an event the organiser uploads the map, the straight-line courses and the results to the RG2 server. Competitors can then go in and, without adding any more info, simply view selected routes and animate them in real time or speeded up against each other. To do this: 

 

  1. Go to LVO Routegadget and select your event 
  2. Click on the Results tab then select the course you want to see 
  3. Check the Show Course box to the Right of the course name to see the purple straight-line course 
  4. Scroll down the results list and check the box to the right hand side of the people you are interested in 
  5. This will put them on the map and pop up a Play/Pause fast/slow box in the corner of the map 
  6. Use these controls to “run” the people along the map in relative time. N.B. they only follow the straight line courses and the times are averaged across each leg 
  7. HOWEVER, if someone has drawn their actual route or uploaded their GPS plot then you will see their name listed again with two check boxes 
  8. If you check both boxes you can now run them along their actual route 
  9. For hand drawn plots the time is averaged between the controls but for GPS plots the time is accurately plotted as recorded by the watch 
  10. You can zoom in on the action and drag the map around for bets view of the interesting bits 
  11. N.B. Unfortunately, if you are hand drawing your route, Routegadget doesn’t handle free order sections if they aren’t in the default order provided. Sorry about this. GPS plots work fine as Route Gadget just runs it as given. 

The default straight line routes don’t tell you a lot so you can have even more fun if you draw your actual route or, better still, upload your GPS watch file for second by second accuracy. 

To Draw your Route 

  • Pick your event and click on the Draw tab 
  • Select your Course and then select your Name 
  • Now click on the map some short distance along your actual route from the Start to the first control (shown red) to draw your first section – shown as a red line 
  • Repeat this in short steps along the route until you get to the first control at which point that the control circle changes colour to purple and the next control goes red 
  • Keep clicking along the route with as much detail as you can be bother with. Tip: don’t go crazy with points along the straights 
  • If you make a mistake click the Undo button 
  • Zoom in and out of the map at any time using your mouse scroll wheel. 
  • To move the map, either check the “Move Track and Map together” box or right click your mouse and drag it. 
  • Once you get to the Finish control (double circles) and you are happy with your route, click on “Save Route” 

To Draw your Route from GPS file 

First you need to make a .GPX file from whatever format your watch uses. You can usually do this with your Garmin, Tom Tom (etc) software or website but if this isn’t available then other free websites such as  Gpsies are great for file conversion. Then: 

  • Pick your event on Routegadget and click on the Draw tab 
  • Select your Course and then select your Name 
  • Click on the Browse button under Load GPS FIle and “browse” to your downloaded .GPX file. 
  • Your route will now be overlaid at some random scale and position over the map. 
  • At this point you should try the Autofit button. If this looks good enough then Bingo, just Save the route and you are done 
  • More likely this plot won’t be very good and you will have to drag and scale the route to fit. So:- 
  • Click on an easily identifiable Control somewhere near the top of your route so it turns green. 
  • Drag this point to the correct feature check-point on the map  – note how the whole plot moves with it. 
  • Click on the Control again to make it go red which locks it in position 
  • Now pan down the map to the bottom end and find a good identifiable point and, as above, click on it to make it green then drag it to the correct position. 
  • Note that this time the whole plot squeezes in (or stretches out) because the top point has been locked. 
  • When you release the bottom control on the right feature you should find that rest of the check-points are correctly positioned. 
  • You can repeat this process with pairs of points to left and the right hand side if the plot is out slightly in this dimension. 
  • Once you are happy with the plot – click on Save

Radio Online Controls  –  The Mourne Mountain Marathon Experience 

Since 2017 we have used a number of Radio Online Control (ROC) boxes to relay live data from checkpoints around the course back to the finish computers. These provide additional safety information and can also be used to display real-time team progress to the gathered spectators. 

Overview 

The system uses cheap and readily available components to interface with a standard SPORTident Master (download) station to collect the punches and send them via 3G mobile signal over the internet to the SI Timing™ software on the laptops. SI Timing™ displays the punches as safety data or on a Commentary screen for finishers to view. (SI Timing™ is the new version of Autodownload™) 

The Kit 

Each ROC (Radio Online Control) comprises: 

  • SI USB Download station (configured as a Control) 
  • Raspberry Pi microcomputer 
  • 10Ahr USB rechargeable battery pack 
  • 3G MiFi Dongle 
  • 20cm x 12cm Tupperware box to house the kit 

 

The station connects over 3G via the internet to a server in Sweden which collates the punch data from many events each day. The SI Timing software now on our laptops collects this data from the server and presents it on screens in various formats. 

Deployment 

Once the initial build and configuration of a ROC is done, the actual deployment at any event is very straightforward and is just 5 simple steps: 

  1. Replace your normal control with the USB wired “Download” station 
  2. Plug the USB into the RPi 
  3. Turn on the MiFi dongle and check for good 3G signal 
  4. Plug RPi into the USB Battery pack 
  5. Wait 2 minutes and then use your smartphone to check the online sever is getting the data 

Before the event you have to make sure that that all the batteries are charged and that the Download station is reprogrammed as a Control. If the systems fails due to, say, the 3G signal being weak or the battery dying, the Control Box has its own battery and continues to act as a punching control so there is no risk to the race results. 

How did it work? 

In practice we found that the system worked better than expected. 

On Day 1 we had two stations signalling back; the first from the manned checkpoint about half way round the courses and the second from one of a cluster of controls up on Slieve Binnian above the finish camp site. The early control was of limited value although it was good to be able to confirm to the marshals that everyone was through their checkpoint. 

The 2nd control on the cluster proved to be invaluable especially later in the day as we started to wonder where the straggling teams where. As darkness fell it was good to know that the last 3 teams had made it that far and where, therefore, likely to be making their way down the mountainside towards us. 

On Day 2 a similarly placed late control on the edge of Donard Park provided great entertainment value as spectators could see when their competition or loved ones had hit this “outer marker” and were on the home straight. Cameras and cheers were at the ready. The commentary screen showed live team position and time gap from the leaders at that point which made for some tense moments at the finish line. 

For the organisers it again gave us a means to cross check our finishers for any who might have gone astray in the last mile. This proved to be the case for a couple of very late teams. 

Costs 

The whole kit costs about £75 (excluding the SI Download Station) plus £5 of 3G data to run on the day. The use of the online Server is free to us however we did make a PayPal donation to the website for its upkeep. 

Credits 

The ROC system has been created by a team of Swedish orienteers  – Oskar Berg and Erik Berg who developed the Raspberry Pi software and kit and Christoffer Ohlsson and Bo Karlsson who seem to be responsible for providing the hosting server  – http://roc.olresultat.se 

ROC punch data is directly support in the SI Timing™ software available from SPORTident UK 

Disclaimer 

Please note that the ROC hardware and system are not provided or directly supported by SPORTident UK™ and they may charge for any support or advice requested in relation to this equipment. Similarly the author is not in a position to offer advice or support beyond what has been shared in this document. Please refer to other guides and information sources online to learn more about the various components of the ROC system. 

Book your place on the Mourne Mountain Marathon today!