The 2016 Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be the 10th edition of an event that has gained an enviable reputation as the ‘friendly mountain marathon’, with its famously relaxed atmosphere, flexible start times and incredible run of good weather weekends!
Today the organisers have announced that the 2016 event will see the introduction of 4 new Linear Courses, following the traditional Elite, A, B and C course structure. Most interestingly, a ‘GPS’ Linear Course is being launched, that unlike the other courses, will allow the use of GPS navigational devices, and is intended to be a pathway for novice participants to enter their first mountain marathon.
Continuing with the theme of innovation, the organisers are also introducing GPS Tracking for all the teams, on all the courses. The GPS Trackers will not assist with navigation but will enable the event to be followed live via the website.
For entries before the end of March, the organisers have frozen the 2015 entry fee, which means that with the addition of the new courses and GPS Tracking, the Rab Mountain Marathon™ is easily the best value event of its kind.
Praise for the 2015 event, the second organised by Ourea Events, was once again superb. Tim Nichol who was participating in his first Rab Mountain Marathon™ said,
“Many thanks for organising such a great weekend in Snowdonia. It was my first Rab MM, but it definitely won’t be my last. The organisation overall couldn’t be faulted, the marshals were really friendly, the course well designed, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and the weather was the icing on the cake”.
Race Director Shane Ohly said,
“It is fantastic to get such consistently great feedback from our participants, but I am far from complacent, and have been considering careful how the event will evolve. As such, I am delighted to announce the introduction of Elite, A, B and C Linear Courses and an innovative new GPS Linear Course for the 2016 event. At the same time we are introducing GPS Tracking of all teams”.
The introduction of the new GPS Linear Course is a first for mountain marathons and sure to raise a few eyebrows in the traditional map and compass camp, but Ohly explained his thinking,
“I am looking to the future, and attempting to attract new participants into Mountain Marathon events. I want the events’ courses to be both modern and relevant for all participants and audiences, and I consider the integration of technology as a part of everyday life.”
“That said, my position on the use of GPS navigational devices on our other courses is clear. They are not allowed at all. Although these ‘traditional courses’ do not allow a GPS navigational device to be used, we can enable a great solution that embraces latest technology: Many competitors might want a GPX track of their weekend to upload to their training diaries and to share on social media, and this can be acquired from the GPS Tracker data post-event. It’s another great reason for introducing GPS Trackers to the event, which all soloists and teams will carry.”
According to the organisers, the introduction of the GPS Trackers will have a significant but subtle effect on the event. First and foremost, it adds a layer of safety by allowing the event team to monitor the location of the participants, but it also allows the participants to summon help using an SOS button in the event of an emergency. The live feed from the Trackers will enable friends and family of the participants to engage with the event in new and exciting ways. During the event – for monitoring and public engagement – the GPS Trackers provide a public record of all routes taken, and can enable the organisers to detect if a participant has been into an Out of Bounds area or through an ‘uncrossable’ boundary – likely to result in disqualification. Lastly, with a GPX download and ‘Replay’ feature it is possible to review the weekend’s activity. This excellent functionality has been developed with the great assistance of Open Tracking.
Shane Ohly continued,
“The GPS Trackers provide an obvious safety benefit, but they also allow the event to reach out to wider audience of the outdoor community and the friends and family of the participants. I think this is very important for keeping the event relevant, modern, and for attracting new participants into this exhilarating outdoor sport.”
In more detail, the updates to the 2016 event include:
New Elite, A, B and C Linear Courses
- Elite Course – Estimated winning time: 11 hours over two days
- A Course – Estimated winning time: 10 hours over two days
- B Course – Estimated winning time: 9 hours over two days
- C Course – Estimated winning time: 9 hours over two days
The Elite, A, B and C Course are linear courses where participants must visit a certain number of checkpoints in the correct order – as defined by the organisers. The linear courses still have route choice between controls and are suited for those that wish to try something less complex than the Score Courses, when it comes to topographic decision making! Approximate length and height gains over two days would be:
- Elite Course – 70km with 3,500m ascent
- A Course – 60km with 2,800m ascent
- B Course – 50km with 2,500m ascent
- C Course – 40km with 2,000m ascent
New GPS Linear Course
This innovative new course is ideal for novice participants and offers a linear route that is a similar standard to a regular mountain marathon C Course. The aim of the GPS Linear Course is to offer a pathway for new participants to get into mountain marathons. This is the only course where GPS devices that aid navigation are allowed.
This GPS navigational device could be a traditional GPS pouch-and-handheld, a wristwatch GPS or a smartphone! Some participants will certainly choose to use a device that can be uploaded with topographic mapping, but please note that presently this would likely be Ordnance Survey or Open Mapping, and not a digital version of Harvey’s mapping. All participants receive a Harvey’s waterproof paper map – including the GPS Linear Course participants.
All teams (pairs and solo’s) will be issued with a GPS Tracker that must be attached to their rucksack for the duration of the event. The GPS Tracker allows the organisers, friends and family to follow the teams’ progress live and in real-time. A GPX download of every teams route and ‘Replay’ function of the race will be available shortly after the finish. Any team crossing an uncrossable boundary or passing through an Out of Bounds Area may be disqualified, even days after the event has finished, based on their GPS track.
Looking forward to September!
The organisers believe that these updates for 2016 will improve the event yet further, and broaden the appeal without compromising the core elements that make up the ‘Nature of the Challenge’. The combination of the new Linear Courses and GPS Tracking with the price freeze for early entries, makes the Rab Mountain Marathon™ easily the best value event of its kind and we very much hope that you will be able to join us this September.