We are delighted to announce that the 40th Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, which takes place on the weekend of June 30th /July 1st, will be starting at the village of Grasmere. This is a classic location for the SLMM as we also used it for our 20th event. Further details will be circulated by Monday 18th June.
Some courses are now full and others are approaching their limit, so if you wish to change course please then do so as soon as possible. You can change course, or partner, by going to the Si Entries web site and clicking on “Edit Entry”. If you know anyone who hasn’t entered, and may wish to do so, then please remind them as a matter of urgency. As we are within 6 weeks of the event, we are not able to offer refunds for any reason and unused entries can not be carried forward to future events
The future of the Sanders Lakeland Mountain Marathon as a non-profit making event has been secured through the incorporation of a Community Interest Company (“CIC”). Lakeland Events Community Interest Company (registered company number 11191535) has been formed to organise the 2018 event and all those in the future. The company does not have shareholders, is limited by guarantee, and any profits made can only distributed to registered charities.
The company’s objectives is provide benefit to residents of Cumbria and visitors to the area by the organisation of competitive navigational running events that take place in the Lake District and surrounding area. The company provides incentives which encourage young people to participate in these events and believes that regular participation will lead to many of them retaining a commitment to physical activities throughout their lives. The company looks to providing quality events at a relatively low entry fee.
The company’s activities will also benefit local businesses that provide services both to the events themselves and to the visitors who come to the area to participate in them and require accommodation and supplies.
Any surplus will be donated to registered charities that provide outdoor activities in the Lake District for disadvantaged young people and to charities which pursue improvements to the local environment.
The 2018 event will be the 40th Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon since it was started in 1978. The event continues to rely on a large number of committed and hardworking organisers, helpers and marshals and the event could not be staged without this voluntary support.
We are now getting cap claims coming in and some have an interesting way of showing that they were at previous events. One competitor has just opened his wardrobe as evidence. For clarification, you do actually have to have completed each event (ie missing checkpoints doesn’t count as completion) and we do need dates and courses. The web site now has full results for 25 of the 39 previous events and we hope to have the remainder up within the next month. The good news for those that are nearing the 10,20 and 30 milestones is that this is a permanent feature of the SLMM from now on, not just 2018 only. So if you have not quite done 30 events now, claim a 20 year cap now and then then keep at it until you reach the 30 completions for another one
If you are eligible for a cap in 2018 then please send the following information for each qualifying year to email@example.com
We are delighted that our long standing event equipment retailer, Pete Bland Sports, have offered to sponsor awards for those competitors who have achieved certain milestone events. Pete Bland have supported the event for over 30 years so will be the first to qualify for the long service medal. Competitors will need to apply!
Trophies, in the form of customised running caps with logo may be claimed by competitors who have successfully completed 10, 20 and 30 Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathons. To claim a cap, you must a) be present at a SLMM event so that it can be presented to you and b) have completed the appropriate number of qualifying events (this can include the one you at which you want to collect the cap). If you qualify for a 20-year award then you will not be given a 10-year award as well, etc.
If you are eligible for a cap in 2018 then please send the following information for each qualifying year to firstname.lastname@example.org
Routegadget now available. In future events you will be able to upload GPS or trace routes manually and compare with other competitors. This is a great way of working out where you could have gained some time with a different route or sorting out arguments with your partner as to whose choice was the fastest. If you haven’t done the event before, then it is a good way of identifying the length and terrain that each course covers so you can pick the most suitable in future. We have put up the 2017 Loweswater courses so please draw your routes if you can still remember them. http://www.slmm.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/
A Mountain Marathon is a navigational event taking place in high and rough ground where competitors, make their way between a series of specific checkpoints over two days, with a break at an overnight camp.Competitors must carry all the equipment necessary to camp, feed themselves and cope with adverse weather conditions. A Mountain Marathon is race, but not in the conventional sense. Each team starts at a different time, but it is still the fastest team that wins.
Mountain marathons generally have two types of format and competitors choose which they prefer when entering the event. A “line” course requires visiting a series of checkpoints, usually between six and 10 of followed in a set order with the competitor choosing the best route between each checkpoint. The winner is the person or team with the fastest combined time over the two days. The other format is known as “score” and in this case the competitor has to choose which checkpoints to visit within a certain time. Different checkpoints have different points allocated to them. The objective is to plan a route so as to obtain many points as possible during the time allowed. Penalties will be imposed for overrunning the time allowance.
Generally, mountain marathons are run in pairs partly for safety reasons, but some events have specific classes for experienced solo entrance. At least one mountain marathon allows solo entrance in across all classes.
When considering entering a mountain marathon it’s important to note that distance is not comparable with road or trail races. If an organiser quotes a distance or vertical elevation for a course it will generally be by drawing a direct line between checkpoints, as they don’t know which route people will choose. In reality competitors will not be able to travel in direct lines as the ground may be impassable or unsafe or involve an excessive amount of climb. Actual distances covered in the event can therefore be very different to those shown on the courses.
As well as the irregular distance there are some other important differences with Road and Trail Marathons. The course will not be marked with tape or arrows and you must make your own way between the relevant controls. Most Mountain Marathons forbid the use of GPS so you will need to rely on a map and compass and maybe an altimeter if you have a separate device. Whilst many Fell Races are advertised as requiring navigational skills, and equipment must be carried, it is often possible to follow other runners. This is not possible in Mountain Marathons and you need to be able to find the way yourself. Most events feature around eight individual courses with competitors from different courses starting at the same time. Generally, you will not know which courses other competitors are completing so it not sensible to try and follow other teams.First timers should enter the easier, shorter courses. It must be emphasised that good map reading and navigation skills are still necessary
There will be no feed stations on the route and you will be completely reliant on the food you take with you for the for the weekend. There are no drink stations set up for the event and you will rely on drink that you carry or water that you take from streams – and you will have to judge whether it is suitable for drinking. There will be no crowds or bands on the route to cheer you on and your motivation must come from yourself or your partner. You are required to carry everything necessary to look after yourself on a weekend on the fells in any weather conditions and must carry sufficient food and fuel to maintain energy levels over the weekend. Indeed, you will be disqualified if you buy provisions from a shop or a pub. If you want to stop and go home, there is no bus to pick you up and you will have to find your own way back to the event centre to let the organisers know you are pulling out.
Being successful in a mountain marathon requires more than just being able to move quickly. Route choice between controls is often as important as speed on the ground. It goes without saying that nobody is going to win a race unless they can find all the controls so navigation is important and can be difficult when weather conditions are poor. Fortunately, in most mountain marathons the shorter courses will be easier to navigate as well as shorter in distance and cover less severe ground.
When training for a Mountain marathon it’s worth trying to replicate the conditions you will find during the event this means carrying a full rucksack, seeking out rough ground, climbing big hills and getting used to running with wet feet. Often events cross marshy ground and will also involve crossing rivers and streams. You would be very lucky if you manage to keep your feet dry for the whole event. Covering huge miles on the road in training will not necessarily help you get “hill fit”.
There might be times when you are cold wet and miserable but the positives are huge. Completing a Mountain Marathon is a great test of endurance, navigational skill and teamwork. The events are likely to take you to new areas that you may not have thought of visiting. Even if the general area is a familiar one, you are likely to visit parts of it that you would never thought have visiting since the courses will take you a long way off the beaten track. You will be amazed at all the secret places you discover that you want to go back to.
In the UK there are a number of Mountain Marathons that take place annually, with each usually being run at the same time every year. The general area in which the event takes place will be announced but usually the start location will be revealed by the organisers only a few weeks before the actual event – and often only when entries are closed. This is to prevent super keen competitors from getting to know an area before the event takes place.
Often the Event HQ will turn out to be in quite a remote location and some competitors will choose to camp there the night before. The atmosphere is fairly relaxed but competitors will need to register before starting at their allotted time. It is only at this point that a map will be given out and details of the day’s course provided. The clock will be ticking whilst you decide which route to take. Also, this is the first point at you will find the location of the overnight camp to which you are heading
Teams will complete the relevant courses as quickly as possible and then arrive at the overnight camp throughout the afternoon, putting the tent in whatever space they can find at the overnight camp. This site will have organised toilets and water available and some may have other some other facilities but generally the ethos is that all competitors are self-sufficient for the weekend. The second day of a Mountain Marathon usually involves a ‘chasing start’ with the overnight leaders setting off first and then a mass start for other competitors. In most cases the second day will be slightly shorter than the first with the aim of finishing early in the afternoon.
The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon is one of the longest standing events and has been held for 40 years. It is unusual in that it always takes place in the same general location, the Lake District, and it is always at the beginning of July. Although the weather cannot be guaranteed and, competitors must be able to cope with all conditions it does offer the prospect of relatively benign conditions and pleasant camping.
Coming after most school and university exams have finished, and before school holidays start it is popular with families with a specific course aimed at those as young as 14. For first timers, the Saunders is a good entry to the world of Mountain Marathons. The event is relatively relaxed and sociable and, being run in the Lake District, has some of the best scenery in the UK. Another feature of the Saunders is that drinks, including beer and cider, can be all ordered beforehand for collection at the overnight camp. As with other Mountain Marathons, you must take your own food.
We hope this article gives some idea what Mountain Marathons are about and hasn’t put you off. If you like the idea, then there is no better event to start with than the Saunders Lakeland Marathon and we hope to see you there next year!
We want to encourage more young competitors and will be offering reduced entry fees for those under 25 on the day of the race
The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon is ideal for younger runners, from age 14 upwards, as it takes place after most exams and before the beginning for the summer holidays. We offer one course, Bedafell, specifically for teams that include one junior and one adult., , The younger runner will be between 14 years and 18 The older runner will be 21 or over and a parent or “accompanying adult”. This course has a handicap arrangement, based on the age of the younger competitor. Harter Fell, a slightly harder course, can also be entered by a runner over 14, in a team on the same basis but this is an open event with no handicap applied. Carrock Fell, is slightly harder than both these courses and can be entered by a runner over 16, in a team with parent or guardian 21 or over.
We are delighted to announce the 2018 Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon will be supported by Alpkit. We aim to make this a very special event and their sponsorship has allowed us to make some important improvements. Further details will be announced shortly but these will include
Alpkit are an ideal partner to the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, being a UK company with a very sound ethical base that manufactures a wide range of great value functional outdoor gear.
About Alpkit, in their own words….
Established in 2004, Alpkit was born of a passion for outdoor activity and a refusal to accept the price of filling our sacks with quality equipment. These days, we go to the alps, we climb, we ride, we paddle, we swim, we run, we board, we visit our in-laws, and we produce kit: we didn’t want it to be complicated.
Alpkit is a direct-to-customer company that develops honest, great-value and thoughtfully designed outdoor equipment. Our HQ and UK factory is based between Nottingham and the Peak District, and we now have two stores in Hathersage and Ambleside.
Dan Thompson, Marketing Manager at Alpkit, said “We have followed the Saunders for years: it’s given many of our team their first taste of mountain marathons (and second, and third…), and those of us who have participated always seem to wax lyrical about the friendly, accepting atmosphere and positive vibes. It’s not just an event that tests legs and minds: those that do well need to be as handy with a map and compass as they are on their feet”
“We’re excited to be part of the event in its 40th year and are looking forward to helping the event continue to be a success in the future”
Many thanks to all those competitors who completed the survey so quickly after the 2017 event – when they were still recovering from a weekend on the fells! We has around 350 responses which represented around half of the teams entered in the event and confirmed that the SLMM is a much loved event with a strong and loyal supporter base who want to retain the very special feel of the event. Nearly half of respondents enter every year and three quarters enter every year or most years. Of those that completed the 2017 event 72% have already made plans for next year and 26% not yet decided. Only 2% won’t return in 2018 and that is largely because of other commitments. We had some very good suggestions for building on success and we plan on introducing a few improvements that will be announced in due course. Come along and see how we do in 2018!
We are delighted to be introducing Score course, to be know as Fairfield, in 2018.This will run over the two days so you will need to think carefully about strategy when you set out on the Saturday. It works like this:-
At the Start on Day 1, the competitor will be issued with a list of all relevant checkpoints for the two days. Each checkpoint will have a points value allocated to it. You should plan your course for each day in order to accumulate as many points as possible during the two days. You will not gain points for visiting a checkpoint that you visited on Saturday, again on Sunday.
Time allowed is 7 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday with the score being cumulative over the whole 12 hours. Competitors who do over run the time allowance will be penalised with loss of points.
Come and give it a go in 2018!