It would be greatly appreciated if you could read these before contacting us with a question!
2020 Dates & Timings ↓
The Scottish Mountain Marathon™ takes place on the second weekend of June each year – the 2020 date is the weekend of 13th-14th June.
Sunday 10th May 2020
- Deadline for official SMM T-shirt orders.
- Deadline for Friday evening meal and Saturday breakfast orders.
Sunday 7th June 2020
- Entries close (or earlier once the event reaches capacity).
Friday 12th June 2020
16:00 – Event Centre and car parking opens to competitors.
18:00 to 22:00 – Registration open.
18:00 to 22:00 – Bar + catering open. Pre-ordered meals available.
Saturday 13th June 2020 – Day One
07:00 to 09:00 – Breakfast available (pre-ordered).
07:00 to 09:00 – Registration open (all competitors must be registered by 09:00).
08:00 to 10:00 – Start times (all competitors must have started by 10:00).
Sunday 14th June 2020 – Day Two
07:00 to 08:30 – Linear Courses: Chasing starts.
07:00 to 08:30 – Score Courses: Flexible starts.
07:30 to 09:00 – Linear Courses: Flexible starts.
~14:00 – Prize ceremony.
16:00 – All courses close.
The 2020 Scottish Mountain Marathon location will be announced nearer the time - subscribe to find out.
The event centre venue will be released here shortly thereafter.
Nearest postcode: t.b.a.
Grid Reference: t.b.a.
What to Expect ↓
What is a Mountain marathon?
"A mountain marathon is a test of your navigation (how efficiently you find the checkpoints), your fitness (how quickly you travel between the checkpoints) and your mountain craft (being self-sufficient in the mountains for the weekend with a remote overnight camp)." – Mountain Marathon.com
The Scottish Mountain Marathon™ is for teams of two (i.e. pairs) only, and teams choose from either linear or score format courses:
- Linear – Think ‘time trial’ – you navigate between a set number of checkpoints as quickly as possible.
- Score – Acquire as many points as possible within a set amount of time by visiting checkpoints in any order.
The checkpoints are clearly marked on the race map, and then clearly indicated on the ground with an orange and white orienteering kite. Checkpoints are not manned, and competitors must prove they have visited the correct checkpoint location by 'punching' a digital timing system (see SPORTident Timing below).
All teams will be allocated a start time for Saturday morning, and then on Sunday morning linear course teams finishing within 60 minutes of the day one leaders, chase the leaders so that the first team across the finish line on day two wins! Everyone starts by 09:00 from the Overnight Camp on Sunday morning.
Competitors' car parking for the weekend and camping on the Friday night is included, and is located at the Event Centre. On-site catering will be available on the Friday evening and Saturday morning providing hearty evening meals and breakfast pick-me-ups for competitors (these are optional extras). On Sunday, everyone gets a tasty finishers' meal!
Each competitor is issued with a waterproof race map on the start line each day. The map will be 1:30,000 scale and approximately of A2 size. It is pre-marked with all the checkpoints specific to your course. Checkpoint descriptions (e.g. stream junction, sheepfold) are also printed on this map.
At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors will be able to view a Master Map, which will give a full overview of the event area being used as well as provide details of any out-of-bounds areas, map corrections etc. The Master Map will not be over-printed with any Checkpoint Locations.
The Nature of the Event
Competitors will be tackling some very challenging mountain terrain in potentially very poor weather. If you are not competent and confident when navigating across steep and rough mountain terrain, you will inevitably spend longer in the hills than anticipated. In view of this, competitors are reminded to make a realistic assessment of their team's capabilities when choosing a course.
Competitors should be prepared for the worst possible conditions as the competition area will be isolated and the mountains 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, they will not diminish the nature of the challenge. Therefore, safety is ultimately each competitor’s personal responsibility, just as it is with any trip into the hills.
Overnight Campsite on Saturday night
The Overnight Camp location is only revealed to you as your race map is handed to you on the start line on Saturday morning! This will typically be very remote – expect drinking water to be from streams (we recommend treating this) unless otherwise informed. Portable loos are provided.
Self-sufficiency extends to sourcing water – en-route (definitely) and at the Overnight Campsite (likely) 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.
Above: Filling up en-route from streams ©Steve Ashworth
Friday Night Social & Saturday Morning Breakfast ↓
You may have had a long drive or simply fancy turning up early to chat with fellow competitors ahead of the following morning’s start line. Or both!
As per tradition, local brewery beer and cider (and tea, coffee etc. of course - maybe even G&T) will be available on Friday night as you arrive and gather in the marquee after registering, in anticipation of 2-days of adventure in the Scottish Highlands.
But why cook when you could pre-order your pre-event evening meal and breakfast from our event caterers?
- Friday Night Meal & Drink - £9
- Take the hassle out of cooking your pre-race meal; complement the above with a homemade vegetarian main meal + cake & custard dessert + choice of teas or coffee.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast - £5
- Don’t want to get the stove out before you start running? Easy! Order your breakfast ahead - includes vegetarian sausage and sliced-egg bap + hearty bowl of cereal, semi-skimmed milk + choice of teas or coffee.
The above can be ordered in advance via SI Entries – the same place you register for your entry into the event.
The Different Courses Explained ↓
Teams may choose to enter one of the following seven courses:
This table summarises our Course Planner’s target parameters for each course at the Scottish Mountain Marathon™. The Target Winning Time is the most important parameter, and therefore this means that the Total Distance and Ascent will vary from one year to the next depending on the runablity of the terrain. The ‘Overall Difficulty’ is not a target for the Course Planner, rather this indicates what percentage of competitors are likely to complete the full course. However, the weather impacts the Overall Difficultly greatly, potentially making the course easier or much harder to complete in full. As Score Course competitors have their own choice about which checkpoints they visit and no set route to follow there is a much higher percentage of overall finishers, but a portion of these will opt for a much easier day in the hills than the Course Planner expected; this kind of flexibility is what makes the Score Courses an attractive choice for many competitors. For a more detailed explanation of this table please visit MountainMarathon.com.
Score Format Courses
These courses give competitors a fixed time in order to score as many points as possible. Each checkpoint out on the course will have a specified points value, and competitors can choose both the order of checkpoints to visit, and also the routes between them. If you are late returning to the finish, penalty points are deducted from your score. Strategy and route planning therefore are as important as fitness. Both days’ points totals will be combined, and overall results produced on this basis. The points value of a checkpoint may be a reflection of the physical or technical difficulty associated with visiting it, or how far away from the start/finish it is.
Long Score – Day 1: up to 7 hours / Day 2: up to 6 hours – A longer challenge for fitter and more competent mountain marathoners who like the challenge of score courses.
Medium Score – Day 1: up to 6 hours / Day 2: up to 5 hours – Ideal for those not wishing to try our longer Score or Linear Courses, but still looking for a quality weekend of challenging mountain marathoning.
Short Score – Day 1: up to 5 hours / Day 2: up to 4 hours – A shorter challenge, ideal for those new to this type of event and/or have limited mountain experience or endurance, or people who want shorter days out in the hills.
Above: An example score course map from our sister event the ROC Mountain Marathon™
Competitors must visit a prescribed number and order of checkpoints. 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, height gain, and winning time over both days (roughly 55% day 1, 45% day 2) would be:
Elite Course – The hardest course reserved for the fittest and most competent mountain marathoners. This is the longest and toughest course both physically and technically, and entrants are vetted for experience. It is usual for there to be more DNFs than completers on the Elite Course. For your entry to be accepted you must have completed a recent Elite or A Course within 50% of the winner’s time.
A Course – Shorter than the Elite course, but no less physically and technically challenging in terms of the terrain the course will visit. Designed for fit and competent mountain marathoners not yet ready, or wishing for, the extra challenge of the Elite Course, but still keen for a long an challenging day in the mountains.
B Course – Shorter than the A Course, with slightly less physically and technically challenging terrain, but a definite step up from the C Course. The B Course is ideal for those who have previously completed the C class and want a tougher challenge, or experienced mountain marathoners who want the challenge without the extra distance offered by the Elite and A Courses.
C Course – The shortest course, with the least physically and technically challenging terrain of the linear courses. Requires a good level of fitness and navigational ability, but suitable for teams who are either new to this type of event and/or have limited mountain experience or endurance.
Above: An example linear course map from our sister event the ROC Mountain Marathon™
Time Penalties (Score courses only)
The time limits on the score courses 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:
- 0-5 mins late = lose 1 point per min*
- 5-15 mins late = then lose 2 points per min*
- 15-30 mins late = then lose 5 points per min*
- 30 mins or over late = all points lost
*or part minute
Course Closure Time
Both Score and Linear courses close at 20:00 on Saturday and 16:00 on Sunday. Any finishers after these times will be recorded as T/O (Timed Out), and it is the competitors’ responsibility to adjust their plans – such as cutting their day short – should they be running late. Please do not blithely continue on your course knowing that you will finish after the Course Closure Time.
Class and Prize Categories Explained ↓
A team’s class is automatically assigned based on the details of each team member provided during the online entry process, such as age, gender, and whether the individuals qualify as a family team. The different classes are:
- Open Category (Any team, of any gender, with both team members aged 18+)
- Female Category (All female teams, with both team members aged 18+)
- Male Category (All male teams, with both team members aged 18+)
- Mixed Category (All mixed-gender teams, with both team members aged 18+)
- Veteran Category (All teams, any gender, with both team members aged 45+)
Prizes will be awarded to the following teams:
- 1st Overall Team (The overall winning team per course. Any gender, any age)
- 1st Female Team (The 1st Female team per course. Any age)
- 1st Male Team (The 1st Male team per course. Any age)
- 1st Mixed Team (The 1st Mixed team per course. Any Age)
- 1st Veteran Team (The 1st Veteran team as determined by the Veteran Handicap)
We will also offer the following bonus prizes:
- 1st U21 Male/Female/Mixed Team on the Elite Course
- 1st U20 Male/Female/Mixed Team on the A Course
- 1st U19 Male/Female/Mixed Team on the B Course
- 1st U18 Male/Female/Mixed Team on the C Course
- Any U18 team completing the C or Short Score Course with a family member (Father/Daughter or Grandmother/Grandson for example)
If a team is eligible for two prizes (for example 1st Overall and 1st Female Team) then they will be awarded both prizes.
Previous Course Winners
Other than the Elite and Long Score Courses, winners from previous years (1st Overall, 1st Mixed Team and 1st Female team) are ineligible for the same prize when competing on the same course.
We reserve the right to determine a team's eligibility for a prize where one team member has previously won a prize, pairs up with another previously unplaced member and they enter the same or an easier course.
Experienced Under 18s
We will accept entries from experienced 16–17 year old pairs on the C Course, so that they can compete in the U18 British Mountain Marathon Championship. However, a parent must accompany them to registration and sign the Parental Consent Form and the team must have provided evidence of significant mountain running experience beforehand. Please contact us to check eligibility. Our minimum age requirement for this type of team is 16 years old on the first day of the event.
Under 18s / Family Teams
Less experienced 14–17 year olds are welcome to enter the C Course or Short Score when accompanied by a supervising parent/guardian aged 21 years or older. Our minimum age requirement for this type of team is 14 years old on the first day of the event.
Veterans' Handicap Prize
To decide the Veterans' Handicap Prize we are using an identical system to the other Mountain Marathons in the British Mountain Marathon Championship. The handicap system is based on the following criteria:
- A team is eligible for a Veterans' Handicap Score if both members are aged 45 or older on the Saturday of the event. This applies to both men and women.
- Only the age of the older team member is then considered for the Veterans' Handicap calculation.
- Female competitors are given an additional handicap equivalent to 10 years.
- The handicap percentage is then calculated as 1% for every year over the age of 45.
Here are some examples:
- A team of two men aged 50 and 55 has a 10% handicap.
- A team of a man aged 55 and a woman aged 50 has a 15% handicap.
- 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.
This is how the percentage handicap is used:
- For linear courses the total time over the two days is reduced by the handicap percentage.
- For score courses 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.
Here are some examples:
- If the total time over two days on a linear course is 8 hours 30 minutes and the handicap is 10%, the time used for veteran results is 7 hours 39 minutes.
- If the total score over two days on a score course is 800 points and the handicap is 20%, the score used for veteran results is 960 points.
Kit & Equipment ↓
Any team 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 for any team. At the sole discretion and judgement of the Race Director, any competitor who does not have the minimum mandatory items will be disqualified.
Mandatory Team Equipment
Each team must carry the following mandatory items of team equipment:
- 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
Mandatory Personal Equipment
Each competitor must wear or carry the following items of equipment and clothing. Please note that this is the absolute MINIMUM amount of clothing and equipment. 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 checkpoint locations. One map per person, per day is included in the entry fee. The maps are issued at the start of Day 1 and start of day 2
- A SPORTident dibber for use during the event will be rented from us automatically (no own dibbers permitted – sorry!)
Safety, Emergency Procedures & Bad Weather Courses ↓
Event safety considers the impact of all actions on competitors, event 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 change. The Race Director’s decision will be final in all matters relating to safety.
The nature and the challenge of the Scottish Mountain Marathon™ 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 a tent. Shout and use your whistle to summon help from other participants that may be close by. Ensure you make a careful note of your exact position (grid reference) and any features you can identify. Act desively in the interests of the person needing help.
The Golden Rule
Once registered, each competitor must download 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 if they never started the day). This is our check to account for everyone being safely off the hill.
Bad Weather Course
Participants should assume that the Scottish Mountain Marathon™ will proceed even in very poor weather. If the weather is exceptionally poor, we may opt to use our shorter 'Bad Weather Courses'. Any course changes will be confirmed at registration. If a Bad Weather Course is declared by the Race Director participants must omit certain checkpoints on the linear courses, and the overall time allowed for the score courses will be reduced. Details of the Bad Weather Course are printed on the race map.
Participants who are unable to continue may retire at any point and should make their own way back to the Event Centre. There is no facility to collect retiring teams by vehicle.
SPORTident Timing ↓
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 to record race time at these locations. For those unfamiliar with this simple and reliable system, see below and please don’t hesitate to ask for instructions at registration.
Above: How to dib at a checkpoint
- You will know if your dibber has registered at any SI box as it will beep and flash by way of confirmation. If you are in any doubt that you have successfully ‘punched' or 'dibbed’ a box, please take a note of the three letter code on the box and keep this safe until you download incase it is required later.
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 checkpoints (may also be referred to as ‘controls’) will be marked with a white and orange orienteering kite as shown in the picture above.
Event Rules ↓
It is the participant’s responsibility to know and follow these rules:
- Participants must follow the Universal Event Rules applicable to all events organised by Ourea Events.
- Participants must not be separated from their race packs at any time. For the avoidance of doubt, pairs may carry each other's rucksacks, and distribute personal and team equipment as they see fit, but please take careful note of Rule 3.
- Participants must maintain both voice and visual contact with each other for the duration of the event. Both team members must visit each checkpoint together – within 10m (please note SI checkpoints are set up so that both members of a team must visit a control within 60 seconds for it to successfully register them).
- Participants enter the event as team of two, if one member of the team must retire, then both team members must retire. If this happens on Day 1, the remaining participant may team up with another indivudal participant as a new team, but they will be non-competitive overall.
- The competition area is embargoed. If a participant becomes aware of the competition area they are not allowed to visit the area in advance of the Event with the specific goal of gaining a competitive advantage over other participants.
- Teams that wish to be competitive (i.e. qualify for a prize) in the event and British Mountain Marathon Championship may NOT use GPS / Satellite navigation devices to aid them. This includes ANY device which can display (or indicate using sound) position, distance travelled or speed, and also any device that measures altitude using GPS data – including mobile phones.
- Altimeter devices that work by measuring barometric pressure are allowed.
- Mobile phones may be carried, but may not be used to gain a competitive advantage. See Event Specific Kit List for more details.