Event Centre Revealed & 2019 Event Updates
This year the Event Centre will be in Durisdeer in the Lowther Hills, Southern Uplands, Scotland.
Nearest Post Code: DG3 5BJ
How to get there:
Near the event field at the village of Durisdeer there is a minor public road from Durisdeer mill that is very narrow and that drops through a very severe dip at a river ford. DO NOT ACCESS this way and do not allow your GPS car navigation to take you this way. You must approach the event centre field through the crossroads at grid ref NS 889 030.
The Durisdeer village event field is good and should survive well in wet weather. Whatever your vehicle type, please head here, and do not make alternative plans or last-manoeuvres to park your vehicle in nearby road edges, village streets or at any village hall car parks.
Our Event Team will assist your parking. We do not expect difficulties with field parking, though we do advise that you familiarise yourself with the location and access to towing eyes and any chassis towing points on your vehicle. This is good knowledge for any driver.
When travelling from the south, the shortest route is to leave the M74 at junction 22 (shortly after the final junction of the M6; 45), then eventually follow around the Dumfries bypass to take the A76 north through Thornhill, right at the A702, then right, signed to Durisdeer village at Postcode DG3 5BG from where we will have signed to the event village at DG3 5BJ. Alternatively, you could stay on the M74 at take the A702 from junction 14 (south). This could be classed as the ‘scenic route’. Abington Services is just north at junction 13 which might be an important and easy detour for you before heading to the event.
When travelling from the north, take junction 14 and the A702 towards Thornhill (also signed Drumlanrig Castle) or take junction 13 via Abington Services.
FYI: There are many useful amenities and a hidden fuel station in Thornhill.
Grab your map, plan your route, and let’s go! ©Steve Ashworth
Following on from your feedback:
We always encourage feedback from our participants each year and it is always read and carefully considered. We are pleased to announce the following adjustments to the ROC rules and format that will hopefully make the weekend run more smoothly and satisfyingly for all involved. For our regular mountain marathon participants, we are making associated changes to our other mountain marathon events (Scottish Mountain Marathon™ and Marmot Dark Mountains™) in due course.
We have decided to simplify our GPS Rules as many participants wish to carry their mobile phone to take pictures, and/or record their route with their watch or phone, and because GPS capable watches have become the norm. As such we feel that a strict ‘No GPS capable devices’ rule has become unenforceable and therefore the rules relating to GPS devices have been changed to:
GPS devices (including ANY device which can display or indicate position, distance travelled or speed, and also any device that measures altitude using GPS data) may not be used to aid navigation and/or gain a competitive advantage.
What does this mean in practice? It means that you can carry a GPS capable device and record your route, but if it is used in any way to aid navigation you will be disqualified.
The change in our rules moves the onus to police this rule onto the community of participants at the event and relies on the individual integrity of each participant to play fair and enter into the spirit of the event. This change also brings us in line with the approach of other mountain marathons such as the OMM and SLMM.
We want registration to run more efficiently, avoid queues and shift the onus back to the participant to be honest rather than us undertaking kit and ID Checks. Therefore:
ID Check– There will no longer be a requirement to show ID when you register, but you will need to know your race number (we will email it to you!) to collect your SI Card.
Kit Check– There will no longer be a requirement to complete a kit check at registration, but you will need to bring your rucksack to get your GPS Tracker attached to it.
Demo SI boxes– There will now be a demo SI box at registration to show new participants what to do at each check point.
What does this mean in practice? The two important points are ID Checks and Kit Checks. Taking part in the event whilst posing as another runner is rare but has genuinely serious consequences. Anyone identified as doing this or assisting this behaviour (before, during or after the event) will be disqualified and banned from future events. Equally, there will be a zero-tolerance approach to our equipment and clothing checks which will still be carried out at the overnight camp (randomly) and finish (all leading solos and pairs).
You will still need to collect your tracker at registration ©Steve Ashworth
Saturday Morning Breakfast
We understand that a good breakfast on Saturday morning is key to setting you up for the weekend ahead. We will be updating and improving the menu for the 2019 event in the next few weeks to offer a wider range of food and a larger portion. There will be no change to the cost of £5 for those already booked or about to book. Pre-order yours before September 15th via SI Entries.
Enjoy a relaxing start to your weekend by pre-ordering your Saturday morning breakfast! ©Steve Ashworth
Punching at Checkpoints
Occasionally, we are placed in the awkward position of a participant arriving at the finish without having ‘punched’ all the checkpoints along the way. Sometimes their GPS Tracker shows them visiting the missing checkpoint or passing very close by (within the margin of error of the GPS tracking). Sometimes, the participant has simply forgotten to punch and sometimes the participant claims that their dibber or the SI Station is faulty. We are left to interpret the data and make a judgement on the honesty of the participant, which leaves us open to making potentially biased decisions based on personal relationships. As always, we want our events to be completely fair, transparent and delivered without any potential for favouritism. Therefore, we are changing the rules relating to Punching at Checkpoints so that they are stricter and have less room for interpretation by us and/or the participant. The new rules are:
- If the timing chip is lost, then the participant will be disqualified, and will be charged for a replacement.
- Participants must register their timing chips at every checkpoint. It is the participant’s responsibility to ensure that the chip registers (listen for the beep, watch for the flash!). If any checkpoints do not register, then the participant will be deemed not to have visited that checkpoint and be disqualified.
- Pairs must punch within 60 seconds of each other. We will assume that any failure to punch within 60 seconds of each other is because the pair have separated and therefore the pair will be disqualified.
What does this mean in practice? It means that if you (and/or partner) fail to register a punch at a checkpoint, lose or break your timing chip, you will be disqualified. The only exception will be if the SI Station itself is broken and then the participant must record the code on the box (having not witnessed a flash or beep from the box). A faulty SI Station will affect EVERYONE on the course and is almost unheard of.
Punching in at the finish line! ©Steve Ashworth
Vetting Elite Entries
We want everyone to enjoy their event and get safely off the hill before the courses close each day. This includes our event team who provide safety cover throughout the event and collect checkpoints at the end of each day. History shows us that it is most often participants on the elite course who finish much later than they expected and therefore we will now actively enforce our established policy on the elite course:
For your entry to be accepted you must provide evidence that you have completed an Elite or A Course within 50% of the winner’s time within the last 3 years or have other substantial and suitable experience.
What does this mean in practice? It means that if you have entered the ROC without explicitly confirming these details we will in touch! Any participants not meeting our criteria will be moved to an easier course at the discretion of the organisers.
Course Closure Times
Particularly with the Elite Course, we don’t want it to become unachievable for experienced yet slower teams (some veterans for example), AND it must remain a feasible goal for leading and aspiring female teams AND it must remain a definitive and tough test for the fastest participants. This is actually quite a challenge for the course planner as we have both genders competing on the same course with a huge range of abilities between the fastest and slowest participants. Therefore, we are extending the course closure time for ALL courses on the Sunday by one hour to 16:00.
To be clear, anyone finishing after the Course Closure Time 20:00 on Saturday or 16:00 on Sunday will be automatically timed out (T/O in the results).
Happy mountain marathoners finishing day two! ©Steve Ashworth
Day 2 Stats
We will continue to allow teams to start within a time window of their choice on both days of the ROC and this is part of the distinct relaxed nature of the event. We want to keep this element of the event, but also help teams to make an informed choice about their start time particularly on Sunday morning when there is less time overall to complete the course. Therefore, we will now publish the distance and height gain of the Day 2 route on the Day 1 splits. We hope that this will allow participants to make a more informed choice about their start time the following day. For the avoidance of doubt, this change only relates to the linear courses!
Age Class Results
We understand that a large number of participants would like to see age class results and we will now include age class results (in 5-year age blocks) for the veterans. These will appear in the SI Entries results online during and after the event and any printed results displayed at the event.
Disposable Cups at the Finish
We have tried both approaches; providing cups at the finish and not providing cups! Either approach generates equal measures of complaints or compliments! We know that everyone is carrying a drinking container/cup/etc at a mountain marathon and therefore on balance, and in the interest of reducing waste, we will not be providing disposable cups for hot or cold drinks at the finish. Please have your drinking vessel of choice ready for your finisher’s drink (and optionally your bowl for food, otherwise served in a disposable tray [for now!]).
We aim to encourage participation by allowing supporters to camp at the Event Centre during the weekend ©Steve Ashworth
Camping at the Event Centre
Occasionally friends and family of a participant wish to stay at the Event Centre whilst their child/friend/spouse is taking part in the ROC. This does prompt some genuine health and safety considerations for us as the organisers and in the past, we have not allowed this. However, we realise allowing weekend camping at the Event Centre enables some participants (particular U18s) to take part and we want to encourage this. Therefore, weekend camping (and campervans) will be available for friends & families supporting runners, and we will ensure that Event Centre is manned throughout the event and services (like water) and facilities (like portable toilets) are available. This will be charged at £6 per person per night to cover basic amenities. Please book in at registration.
On a personal note, I very much hope that these changes are welcomed by the vast majority of our regular participants. They are certainly intended to simplify a few elements of the event, ensure our friendly atmosphere and ethos is maintained, and also demonstrate our commitment to deliver well organised events.
I look forward to welcoming our regular participants and some new faces to the 2019 ROC Mountain Marathon.
If you haven’t entered yet, entries remain open until 22nd September.
We look forward to seeing you in the Lowther Hills this September! ©Steve Ashworth