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


Event Format

The ROC Mountain Marathon™ offers both linear and score format courses. This variety of courses, along with the relatively low numbers, avoids snakes of runners going from point to point and will consequently test competitor’s navigation and self-sufficiency skills more.

  • 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.


There will be a simple rolling start on each day; within the specified start periods competitors can set off when they are ready. On the second day, a chasing start will be organised for the quickest linear teams (e.g. those finishing day 1 within 60 minutes of the leaders). SPORTident electronic timing will be used (not familiar, no problem – check out more information).


Planning your route! ©Steve Ashworth


Entries from solos and teams of two (pairs) are invited.

Participants’ car parking for the weekend and camping on the Friday night is included in the price, 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).

Friends and family supporting runners are welcome to camp over on the Friday and Saturday evening at the Event Centre. This will be charged at £6 per person to cover basic amenities, please book and pay at registration.


Enjoy the friendly atmosphere on the Friday evening at the Event Centre ©Steve Ashworth


The final event details, location of the event area and directions to the Event Centre will be confirmed ~1 month before the event.


The Nature of the Event

Each competitor will be issued with a bespoke race map at the start of each day. The map will be 1:30,000 scale and approximate A3 size. It will be pre-marked with all the controls specific to your course. Control Descriptions (e.g. stream junction, sheepfold) are also printed on this map.


Hiding from the wind and checking the map out on the course ©Steve Ashworth


At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors will be able to view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out-of-bounds areas, map corrections etc; the event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.

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 remote – expect drinking water to be from streams (we recommend treating this) unless otherwise informed. Portable toilets are provided.

Hanging out with your friends at the remote overnight campsite ©Steve Ashworth


Competitors will be tackling some very challenging mountain terrain in potentially very poor weather. If you are not competent and confident when moving across steep, rough mountain terrain, you will inevitably spend longer on the hills than anticipated. In view of this, competitors are asked to make a realistic assessment of their capabilities when choosing a course.

Competitors should be prepared for the worst possible conditions as the competition area can be isolated and the hills are 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 the competitor’s personal responsibility, just as it is with any trip into the hills.


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!



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.


Look out for water sources en route! ©Steve Ashworth


Competitors should prepare for the ROC Mountain Marathon™ by training and running on mountain terrain where possible and by practicing fine map reading and compass skills.


Disposable Cups at the Finish

A hearty finisher’s meal with complimentary tea/coffee for all is included.

Please note: 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 carry 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!]).


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.


Previous Events

Check out previous event maps

  • 2019 – 13th ROC Mountain Marathon – Lowther Hills, Scotland
  • 2018 – 12th ROC Mountain Marathon – The Northern Fells, Lake District
  • 2017 – 11th ROC Mountain Marathon – Black Combe, Lake District
  • 2016 – 10th Rab Mountain Marathon – Mallerstang, Yorkshire Dales
  • 2015 – 9th Rab Mountain Marathon – Carneddau & Glyerau, Snowdonia
  • 2014 – 8th Rab Mountain Marathon – Longsleddale, Lake District
  • 2013 – 7th Rab Mountain Marathon – Derwent Fells, Lake District
  • 2012 – 6th Rab Mountain Marathon – Cheviots Hills
  • 2011 – 5th Rab Mountain Marathon – Carneddau, Snowdonia
  • 2010 – 4th Rab Mountain Marathon – Eastern Lake District
  • 2009 – 3rd Rab Mountain Marathon – Howgills
  • 2008 – 2nd Rab Mountain Marathon – Back o’ Skiddaw, Lake District
  • 2007 – 1st Rab Mountain Marathon – Coniston, Lake District


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