Race Director’s Report 2016

 In News

Another fantastically successful Rab Mountain Marathon with the introduction of the new Elite, A, B and C (and GPS) linear courses, and the feedback from the participants on these courses has been superb. Likewise, we have received some brilliant feedback from participants on our established Long and Short Score courses. I’d like to thank Gary Tompsett for planning all the courses.

This year saw the introduction of the GPS tracking and this was potentially a big change to the event. Certainly GPS Tracking will save someone’s life at one of my events given sufficient time and widespread use, but that is not the primary driver for their introduction.

I passionately believe in the future of mountain marathon events, but the simple truth is that the demographic of the participants is aging, and along with sports like orienteering, mountain marathons face a challenge to their long-term viability unless new and younger participants can be attracted to enter. As such, I feel it is important to embrace new technology like GPS tracking which helps to reach out to a wider audience and to keep the event relevant to a younger generation who expect seamless integration of technology.

That said, the core challenge of mountain marathons is map and compass navigation and therefore we ban the use of personal GPS enabled devices such as watches and smart phones. I do understand that this annoys some participants, and we will look to develop this policy so that it is as clear and as inclusive as possible for all our 2017 mountain marathon events.

Part of these changes is a new name for the Rab Mountain Marathon in 2017. After ten excellent years, Rab are finishing their sponsorship of the event as they choose to focus on their core climbing and mountaineering brand heritage. Don’t worry though, the event will return in 2017 on the now established final weekend of September with both score and new linear courses. Please look forward to some exciting announcements about the event.

Post Event Survey

It is very important for us to collect economic impact data from the event. Please take 5 minutes to complete this simple online survey. This survey is for anyone who had an entry, regardless of whether they actually participated in the event.


Feedback is very important to us, and any comments you have – good or bad – are very much appreciated. Please can you send these to us via our website contact form.

The Event Team

Many of the Rab Mountain Marathon volunteers also worked on the Skyline Scotland event the weekend before. A small number of us had no time off between the two events, and as a result, a slightly tired, yet very experienced team was on hand to deliver the 10th Rab Mountain Marathon. Everyone contributed enormously, and as I said in the prize giving ceremony, ‘I simply can’t thank this awesome team enough’. Everyone who has taken part in Ourea Events races this year owe the event team a great big thank you, so please don’t hesitate to buy them a drink if you see them out and about one evening. The 2016 Rab Mountain Marathon team was:

  • Abbi Forsyth
  • Ally Young
  • Amanda Crozier
  • Andrew Higgins
  • Becci Leung
  • Colin Harding
  • Dave Cumins
  • Emma Dent
  • Gary Tompsett
  • Heather Ohly
  • Helen Samson
  • Ian Cowie
  • Jim Imber
  • Kate Worthington
  • Keith Montgomery
  • Lucy Johnson
  • Matt Gemmell
  • Michelle Beeson
  • Nick Stafford
  • Paul Beeson
  • Paul Imrie
  • Sue Dowker
  • Tim Glasby
  • Tom Booth
  • Tom Hecht

GPS Tracking

The GPS Tracking seems to have been a big success and there has certainly been a deluge of participants asking for their track since the event; these are now available to download (you may need to crop the GPX data upon importing to your desired mapping software/activity logging application).

From a safety management perspective, the GPS Tracking has huge and obvious benefits for the event, and we were able to relax as we watched the late finishers making their way into the Overnight Camp on Saturday evening, and back to the Event Centre on Sunday. Certainly GPS Tracking will save someone’s life eventually, but I also think it is important to embrace technology and reach out to a wider audience as I have described earlier in my Race Director’s report.

Careful analysis of everyone’s GPS tracks will reveal a few points for discussion:

  1. A number of teams crossed into the Out of Bounds Areas and/or ventured across ‘yellow mapped fields’ that did not have a footpath – look back at your map legend. Almost all of these teams were interrogated at the finish and asked to describe their precise route. It was revealing that the majority of the participants incorrectly described their route, and when shown their actual track where surprised. In this instance, where an honest mistake has led to no advantage, I felt that a warning was sufficient. (In future, if you find yourself in an OOB area, you should backtrack out of it, back to the point at which you entered – some participants did this, thank you.)
  2. In a small number of instances, whilst the mistake seemed honest, they might not be, and a potential advantage was gained and therefore a time penalty was given. The time penalty was given ‘blind’ with no knowledge of the participant’s position on their course or how this may affect the overall results.
  3. Railtrack arrived at the Event Centre on Saturday morning after a report of ‘runners on the railway line’. This is against the law, clearly stupid and could trouble us, as the organiser. The GPX reveals all; we know who you are!

Rubbish Dumping in the Portable Toilets

The portable toilet company contacted us on Monday to say that there was a significant amount of rubbish discarded into the portable toilets, which included items such as water bottles, clothing, bubble wrap and bags of rubbish. We know this precisely, because before the loos are transported, they need to be empty, and these items blocked the suction pump and need to be manually removed. CONSIDER for a moment what manually removing these items means to the team collecting the loos. This is totally unacceptable behaviour on the part of the particiapnts at the event.

Thank Yous

  • The residents of Shoregill, Outhgill and Cocklake
  • Edwyn Bousfield of Cranberry Farm – our Event Centre
  • Jim Pedley of Yore House Farm – our Overnight Camp
  • 20+ Landowners and Common Grazings
  • Cotterdale Estate
  • Mouse Syke Farm for permissive paths
  • The Moorcock Inn, Garsdale
  • Kirkby Stephen Hostel
  • National Park Rangers, for early advice
  • Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team, for advice


We will be donating 1% of the entire event revenue to local organisations involved in environmental sustainability and protection. Additionally, we will also be making a donation to the Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team and North West Air Ambulance. We will confirm these details this autumn.

Control Descriptions

If you would like to download the control descriptions for all the different courses you can do so here.

Car stickers

A number of people requested 2016 Rab Mountain Marathon car stickers. The honest truth is that we simply forgot to get these printed this year what with Skyline Scotland the weekend before. Sorry! However, we would be happy to do so: If you would like one, please just contact us with your address via the website contact form, and we will send out the stickers in a few weeks.


Please tag yourself and anyone you know in our two Facebook albums:

All the photos from 2016 are now also on our website photo galleries.

The 2017 Event

The 10th Rab Mountain Marathon was another big success, and it has been satisfying to see the event evolve in small steps in recent years. I believe that the introduction of the GPS tracking and linear courses have been well received, and that event is an excellent position to continuing flourishing in the years to come. 2017 will be a year of change for the event, with a name change, but the ethos of the event, and above all, the fun, friendly and welcoming atmosphere that the event is famous for will remain! I look forward to welcoming you back on 23rd and 24th September 2017.

In the meantime…

We’d hate to leave it a whole year until we meet again. Perhaps you’re brave (mad) enough to enter Marmot Dark Mountains™, our winter overnight mountain marathon, in January? Or perhaps you fancy the leisurely (think beer, cake, overnight camp kit transported for you, more paths than beelining..) Great Lakeland 3Day™ in early May?

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