Entries and Changes

What age qualifies as Vet category?

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

Is there a lower age limit for the event?

Yes, the minimum age on the day of the event is 18yrs in the Elite and 16yrs in the B, C, D and Score classes N.B.Juniors must be partnered by an adult aged 21 or over who is their parent/guardian or someone appointed by them. A parental Consent form must be submitted before Junior entreis are accepted.

Can we have a late/early start time?

If anyone has a burning need for a particular Start Time that’s not available please contact us and we will try to slot you in as desired

How will I know that you have received my entry?

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 Adult-Junior teams will be acknowledged upon receipt and processed within two weeks. If you are concerned about your entry status please contact us.

My partner has selfishly let me down. Do you know anyone else looking to team up?

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

If one or both of us are unable to compete, can we get a refund?

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

Why are your deferral terms so complicated?

Setting a fair value for deferrals is not simple. Our unrecoverable costs rise steeply from August onwards and we are taking a bit of a gamble in offering deferrals as we may lose money on deferred entry.

They are also an admin overhead that has to be managed into the next year and they need to be fair to people who choose to take the refund instead. Frankly we’d rather give a refund.

If neither of us can compete can we give our entry to another team?

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. 

What’s a “rolling mass start”?

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

Is my coat waterproof enough?

Many people have “waterproof” jackets for running and cycling however these are often far from waterproof. The key test is that it must have been sold as waterproof – not showerproof or windproof. Typically such coats will have taped seams and be tested to a hydrostatic head of at least 5,000mm. Of course, the coat must also be in good condition such that it is still waterproof after years of use.

What is a 1 season sleeping bag – is my bag ok?

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). 

Are bivy bags allowed for camping?

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.

There are several maps available for the Mournes, is there one recommended for this event?

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.

How do I know what type of equipment to buy?

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. 

Why can we not use two separate one-man tents?

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.

Can we use a GPS?

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. 

Can I use a GPS tracker watch?

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. 

Are mobile phones allowed?

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. 

What’s wrong with using a GPS smart-phone with a proper navigation app?

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. 

Can I use an altimeter

Yes. but GPS navigation devices are forbidden. 

What equipment MUST we carry?

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

Is there somewhere secure for me to leave my spare clothes and wallet?

There will be an area to leave travel bags which will be locked overnight. However, security 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.

Where can I get gas if I’m flying into NI

Gas can be pre-ordered from our local sponsor Jackson Sports. Phone them or click here to purchase.

Out On the Hills

During the event, can we take turns running up to the controls?

No. For safety and competitive reasons both team members must stay in contact throughout the event and visit all the controls together. 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.

Are there water posts around the course?

No. Teams are required to be totally self–sufficient 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 which should also be purified.

What can we dump in the skip at the campsite?

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. 

Do we have to have to have reserve fuel for cooking on the second day?

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.

Can I bring my dog on the course?

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. 

If my partner drops out during the event, can I still finish on my own?

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 or team, however both teams will then be deemed non-competitive and no place awarded. This is for both safety and competitive reasons.

Tips for navigating

Please visit our navigation tips page.

What’s a re-entrant

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

A re–entrant 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 re–entrants and they are very popular as control features with course planners – especially ours!! 

How to use Routegadget

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 

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  All-Trails are great for file conversion. Then: 

Radio Online Controls

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: 

 

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. 

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