Final Instructions

Final Instructions for 2019 (download pdf)

VENUE –    Shimna Integrated College   The Lawnfield, King Street, Newcastle, Co Down, BT33 0HD.  Irish Grid Ref: J374302 (N54.201448, E-5.893918)

The START/FINISH venue for this year’s mountain marathon is the Shimna Integrated College at the south end of Newcastle. This is our second visit to Shimna and are very grateful to the College for opening up their doors to us once again.  Parking, changing rooms and showers are all available at the centre. (N.B.  SCORE Class teams should park in Donard Park public car park for Saturday).

Friday night Camping, transport and other accommodation

Camping is available at the side of the college playing field on Friday night with access to the toilets and showers. Please contact us for details if you intend to camp. There is plenty of B&B, hotel and hostel accommodation in Newcastle and the surrounding area. The Centre will not be staffed overnight and gates will be closed at 11pm so please let us know if you are arriving late. See our website for more info.

The MMM minibus will run from Belfast Europa Bus Centre to Newcastle on Friday night. Book your seat via the form on the website.

Registration will open at 07:00 on Saturday morning.

Free overnight parking for competitors will be provided at the Event Centre for the 2 Day eventers. Score Class teams arriving on Saturday should use Donard Park public carpark and walk the 400m through to Shimna College. (see Score info section at the end of this document).Shimna Diagram

Competitors using either car park do so at their own risk and neither Shimna IC nor Mourne Mountain Marathon can accept any liability for damage or loss to cars or belongings left there.

Short term parking for drop-off and pick-up of competitors is available at the Event Centre itself.

 Arrival and Parking – Summary

  • The Entrance to Shimna College is from King Street at the south end of Newcastle
  • Drivers should pay careful attention to the parking marshals and sign posts. Please observe speed limits and take care of pedestrians and other park visitors.
  • There are coin operated lockers and a bag store at the Event Centre if you want to leave a kit bag.
  • Visitors delivering and collecting competitors may park at the Event Centre temporarily.


Competitors needing gas canisters should purchase these IN ADVANCE through Jackson Sports.

They will have a stall at the Event Centre from early on Saturday morning with a range of items commonly required by last minute mountain marathon shoppers (although you should not rely on this for any important items unless you have made a prior arrangement with them).  They will also be there on Sunday afternoon to satisfy any requirements for retail therapy.

 REGISTRATION  – The registration procedures will be similar to last year.  As usual we are planning to use SPORTident electronic timing which provides a speedy results service and records times at checkpoints. If you are not familiar with this system please read about it in the FAQ section of the website.

At registration you must

  • Sign the registration sheet confirming your team members’ names and that you intend to start (be sure to inform us of any changes) N.B. we will need your car registration number if you are parking overnight.
  • Collect your team’s Sl card (aka dibber) and permanent wristband and have it attached to one wrist
  • Submit your equipment for mandatory kit checking by event officials
  • Check master map for Out of Bounds areas and map corrections.

Start times will be as shown in the start list which has been posted on SI Entries.  Registration and kit check will take approximately 20 min (but allow for queues).

Car keys can be left with us at Registration for collection after the event. Kit bags can be left in a room which will be locked overnight

Late changes to teams can be made online up until 14th Sept, or email ( ) thereafter or on the Saturday morning at registration.

 MAP  This year’s courses have been planned on the 1st Edition 1:25000 Mourne Mountains map from the Harvey Superwalker series. Any map corrections will be available on the morning of the event.  Some control features may not be marked on the OSNI map, so anyone planning to use this will be at a definite disadvantage. The 6 figure grid references are in Irish Grid section J and describe a 100m square. N.B. Some controls may be at the far edge of this square – see lesson on grid references in the FAQ section.

OUT OF BOUNDS AREA  All courses are designed to avoid sensitive farmland. Specific areas will be noted as Out of Bounds along with any map corrections on a master map at registration for you to copy on to your own maps. Anyone found crossing an OOB area will be disqualified. If you find yourself away from the obvious route choices near such an area please use public tracks clearly printed on the map.


START – Day 1

The Start Area will be in Donard Park approx. 5 minutes’ walk from the College.  The first start time in all four classes will be 08.30 hours.  Elite class starts are every 4min, B Class every 2 minutes and C and D classes start times will be every minute. SI Card clearing will be done just before the Start. Score Class starts are between 9am and 10am.


Control Description Sheets will be issued to each team after they start.

OUT ON THE COURSE    Each day’s course is only disclosed to participants on the issue of the Control Description Sheet which teams collect from an event official a short distance from the start.  The Control Description Sheet describes each control point, which will be an identifiable feature on the map and supported by a 6-figure grid reference.  On the ground, controls will be identified by an orienteering marker (an orange and white flag) next to which will be found a control box into which you must dip your SI Card to record the time with a bleep and a flash. Both team members must visit all controls together.

The control box will also be identified by a 3-figure code number which will also be shown on the control description sheet.  This may be used as an additional check that you are at the correct checkpoint; WATCH OUT there may be another control nearby which is being used on a different course.  Neighbouring controls will be sited on different features (e.g. a re-entrant as opposed to a spur) and will also have different numbers.  Example: 103 – 8 – Wall bend – 336301.  Control number 8 has code 103 and is on a Wall Bend at J336301.

If you accidentally dip your SI Card in the wrong box, don’t worry – the results system will ignore it. However, you must still dip all the right boxes in the right order.

Occasionally a control box goes missing which is unfortunate but unavoidable. If you can’t find a control box after a reasonable amount of searching but you are convinced you are in the right location then try to take some proof that you were there such as a camera photo or GPS mark on your tracker watch or a description of and bearings to known visible features – and then move on. We will review the evidence at the finish and credit missing controls where this is proven to be the case.

CUT-OFF TIMES   On both days a pre-determined number of controls will be manned and these controls will be indicated on the control description sheet together with a ‘cut-off’ time.  Teams failing to reach these controls before the ‘cut-off’ time will be ‘timed-out’ and automatically retired from the competition.  They should make their way back to the event centre and report their safe arrival there or otherwise inform an event official of their safe retirement from the competition. On Day 1 retirees may “exit” via the overnight campsite if this is nearer than the Event Centre. Transport back can be arranged from there. DON’T FORGET to return your SI Card.

CONTROL CLUSTERS – Elite, B and C courses only   At some point on the Elite, B and C courses there will be a set of controls, which may be visited in any order – a “cluster”. You must still visit all the controls before and after the cluster in the correct order. It is anticipated that the control clusters will provide a further test of navigation and route choice.  There will be no control clusters on the D course.

C & D COURSE QUIZ    This year, just for fun, we have added a quiz to the C & D courses on Saturday. At several controls there will be a card with a number of navigational questions for you to answer – if you’re not in a hurry. If you write your answers on the back of your routecard and hand it in at the finish we will do a draw from the correct entries in the evening and award a small prize. This extra challenge is just a bit of fun for people who aren’t hell bent on racing around the course and so have time to relax.


OVERNIGHT CAMPSITE     The overnight camp site will be marked on the Control Description Sheets. After checking in and, perhaps, a few minute’s rest, you should find a pleasant spot to camp and settle down for the evening. Facilities are limited to

  • Portaloo toilets – watch out for the morning queue.
  • Water – this will be on tap but may be from a spring or river source. Water in the Mournes tends to be clean but if you are concerned about its drinkability we suggest you bring a suitable filter or purification tablets. This also applies to any water sources you find out on the course.
  • A Big Bin – This is for waste food and rubbish only (including empty gas canisters) – NOT FOR UNWANTED EQUIPMENT OR CLOTHING.     The rules of this event are very clear – competitors must carry all their equipment for the 2 days.  Anyone found dumping any equipment or clothing will be summarily disqualified. If in doubt please ask an official.
  • Information – Results will be posted on a notice board regularly throughout the day along with any other important information.
  • GPS Watch Charging – We will have a bank of USB chargers for anyone who wants to top up their watch in the evening. Just bring your USB lead.
  • A medic – will be on hand for most of the day to deal with any minor injuries and give advice however competitors are responsible for their own health and safety and must make appropriate decisions about their fitness to continue with the event.
  • Overdue teams WILL NOT be reported to emergency services unless there is a report of an accident or problem. It is common (and sensible) for teams to camp out on the hill if they feel it is safer to do so. You should be equipped and prepared for this eventuality.

No matter how late you arrive, please check in. Alternatively if you retire and return directly to the Event Centre you must check in with the marshals there.

Results and radio control data  will be displayed on a large screen throughout the afternoon and evening. So will be able to see how your time was compared to others at various stages and also keep an eye out for friends still out on the mountains.

Results will also be streamed Live to our website along with photos to Facebook if 3G connectivity allows.

Visitors are not allowed at the overnight camp because of limited access but also for competitive fairness as there is a tendency for visitors to bring supplies – there has even been the odd illicit visit to the pub. The presence of people not formally involved with the event also poses an insurance issue for us and they can clog up the minor roads and limited parking that we may have arranged with landowners who have been so good in allowing use of a particular area. So we would ask that you adhere to the “no visitors” rule and ensure that friends and relatives understand its importance.

START – Day 2     Reveille will be at 07.00 hours on Sunday morning in the camp site. The Start will be a few minutes’ walk from the camp.

  • All teams may start at any time between 08:00 to 08:45

YOUR RACE TIME STARTS when you dib the Start Box.

DAY 2 – COURSE AND TEAM CHANGES   Competitors wishing to drop down a course or change partners may do so but they will no longer be competitive. Please allow extra time in the morning to AGREE ANY CHANGES WITH THE TIMING OFFICIAL. N.B. If a single runner wants to “tag along” with another team, that team will also be deemed non-competitive and their times will be listed at the bottom of the results. A better alternative would be to team up with another single runner to complete the course – although again, this will be a non-competitive team.


RETIREMENTS    Retirees on the morning of Day 2 should report to the officials at the camp site. We will take you back to the Event Centre. N.B The camp site is cleared by about 09:30 so if you decide to turn back near the start there might not be anyone there to give you a lift.

THE FINISH & REFRESHMENTS   The Finish will be back at Shimna College where teams will be ‘timed-in’; they should hand in their team SI card, be prepared to have their equipment checked by a marshal and collect refreshment and t-shirt tickets. Competitors are encouraged to stay for the prize giving which will take place at approximately 15.00 hours.

  • There are showers and changing facilities at the Event Centre
  • Hot and cold drinks and sandwiches will be provided (please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements)
  • The bus to Belfast will leave at about 15:30

Retirements – If you have to retire then please report this to a marshal or via mobile or text message   giving your surnames, team number, location, reason for retiring and intended route/destination. Eg; This is Abbot and Costello, Team 120, Retiring at Control 10 Crossone due to a sprained ankle. We are heading down to the Bloody Bridge then back to Newcastle.   Then make your way to the finish or back to the start if that is closer/safer. N.B. we will not call out rescue services unless an accident is reported.

The mobile number for the MMM Team on the day will be +44 (0)7711 118035

GPS Navigation devices are not allowed however tracker watches and mobile phones are OK as long as they aren’t used for navigation.  Mobile phones are NOT to be relied upon for navigation.  Please read the section on GPS devices in our FAQs to find out why.  We will have a number of USB charging points at the overnight camp if you want to bring your watch charging lead.

We will also be publishing the courses on Routegadget so you can upload your GPS tracks and compare routes. Click here to see last year’s routes and go to our FAQs to find out more about Routegadget.

Equipment – Don’t forget to do a final check of The Equipment list to make sure you have everything required. Our Saturday morning gear checkers can be very strict and certainly won’t take kindly to anyone in bermuda shorts and flip-flops.

Rules – And, of course, make sure you have read The Rules  – especially the one about sticking together.


In the interests of competitors’ safety and fair competition we want to highlight the following points

  • Teams found breaking the rules will be disqualified and may be barred from future events
  • Teams must visit all controls in their pairs (Rule 1) and carry of all their kit (Rule 4).
  • Anyone found stashing or dumping equipment (or littering) will be disqualified. (Rule 4)
  • Competitors who retire from the event must inform an official or the finish control. The Mountain Marathon mobile phone number (see above) may be used for this purpose.
  • Mountain rescue services will not be called out unless an accident is reported.
  • Follow the country code: We are grateful for the goodwill and cooperation of the various land owners in the Mournes area. Please be sure to repay them by following the country code and being careful not to stray onto private property or damage fences and walls.

Try to remember your team number – it will save you time at the manned controls.


As the Score Class is a one day event there are a number of differences to the main instructions. The registration process will be the same and all the rules are the same although the kit list is slightly reduced. See the Rules and Equipment sections on the website .

  • ArrivalPlease park in Donard car park and walk the 400m through to Shimna College unless you are camping with us on Friday night in which case use Shimna as per other teams.
  • Kit bags – with food and dry clothes will be transported for you to the Finish (camp site). Every care will be taken to keep them secure but bags and contents are left at your own risk.
  • Map Mark Up – At the Start Line you will be issued with a Control Description sheet similar to the other courses but with many more controls plus the point value will be shown.  You will also be given an A4 size map in waterproof paper with the controls and score points marked on it. This map is low quality and not to scale and is intended as an aid to route planning when used in conjunction with your full sized 1:25000 map.
  • Out on the Hills – You will have 6 hours to collect as many controls as you can in whatever order you like. The usual MM rules apply  – you and your partner and all your kit must stay together at all times. This is for safety as well as competitive fairness and any breaches will be heavily penalised if not disqualified.
  • Penalty Points – You will lose up to 10 points from your score for every minute you overrun the 6hr limit. This is common with other mountain marathon scoring regimes.
  • At the finish – you will download your SI Card and hand it in. You can then collect your MMM t-shirt (much coveted) and your kit bag and generally chillax until you and/or the shuttle bus are ready to go back to the Event Centre. Warm drinks, refreshments and shelter will be provided so we hope you will stay around for a while and share experiences with the 2 day teams who will have had similar navigational and route choice challenges.


Good luck with your training and preparations and see you bright and early on Saturday 21st September for the 40th Mourne Mountain Marathon