Courses

Choosing a course : please read all information below before entering

All distances and climbs are for the Planner’s suggested routes which will be displayed after the event.

Summary of  2022 courses

Course Mountain Marathon Experience Approx. total distance over 2 days on best route(km) Approx. total climb over 2 days on best route(m) Estimated time for winning team over 2 days (hrs)
Scafell Expert 57 4100 11 hrs 15 mins
Kirkfell Advanced 49 3000 9 hrs 45 mins
Carrock Fell Experienced 43 2300 8 hrs 30 mins
Harter Fell Suitable for new entrant 36 2200 7 hrs 30 mins
Wansfell Suitable for new entrant 30 1900 6 hrs 30 mins
Bedafell Specifically for Parent or Guardian and child. Suitable for new entrant 30 2000 6 hrs 30 mins
Fairfield Experienced N/A -Score Course 12 hrs

All our courses are designed to provide a test of fitness and navigational skills and also to take competitors into remote and interesting parts of the chosen area. They provide a progression from relatively easy courses to extremely challenging courses. As a general rule, the longer the course selected then: the more difficult it is to navigate to controls (checkpoints); the rougher the terrain becomes; the more difficult it becomes to select the best route between controls.

As most teams will be travelling home on the Sunday, they want to finish reasonably early on Sunday, so we design the length of courses so that Sunday’s course will be shorter than Saturday’s. (Approx. 60%/40%) Exact distances that the competitor travels, and the times taken, are obviously beyond our control, so these guidelines should only be taken as a rough guide.

When assessing which course to choose we would ask you to look carefully at the descriptions below. Historic results and course descriptions are useful but be wary of the lengths and height climbed figures quoted for past events. These were straight line distances, rather than distance actually travelled.  The distances quoted below, and in the future, will be the Course Planner’s calculation of best actual route. Generally, we would encourage you to be cautious in your first event and feel it is much better for you to finish successfully, having enjoyed the weekend and thinking you could have coped with more, than fail to complete your course.

To those used to running on the road, or even in trail races, the distances covered each day look very short but there are some very important factors you should not overlook and each of these can increase the time significantly. When you put them all together it adds up to a lot more time spent out on the fells. Don’t assume that you can travel at the same speed as experienced and leading mountain marathon competitors. It takes some years to acquire the skills needed to achieve these speeds. Here are some of the factors that will affect your speed:-

  • Each course contains a great deal of ascent and obviously a corresponding amount of descent, often on rough ground. You need to add extra time for ascending and descending. Unless you know your speed, think about something in the region of 500m climb per hour
  • Unless you are very experienced competitor you are unlikely to choose the optimal route. So you will travel further than the Course Planner’s selected route.
  • Unless they have good orienteering type experience, inexperienced competitors are likely to lose time in locating controls (checkpoints) and, as a course contains 8-10 controls, this time can easily add up.
  • You need to factor in the time taken to eat, adjust your clothing, read the map, etc. It’s amazing how much extra time this can take.
  • There is a compounding effect of tiredness so the longer you are out, the slower you will go. As you tire physically, you are likely to do so mentally so your navigation and route choice is likely to deteriorate.
  • Finally, and maybe most importantly-as you are in a team , you are only as fast as the person who is slowest at any given time. So when you look at the courses, it goes without saying that you need to choose the one most suitable for the slowest.

With those points in mind, here are the courses. First the line courses and then a score course for experienced competitors only. A line course requires you to visit a set of controls in a given order and the winner is the team that completes the course in the shortest time.  With a score course, you are given a set of controls, each with a points value allocated to it. The objective is to gain maximum points by choosing which controls to visit in a set number of hours.

If you recently finished in the top 25% of a course, then we would suggest you consider moving up a course at the next event. If you finish in the lower 25% we would suggest moving down a course and if you win a course you will not be eligible for a prize in the next event unless it is in a higher course.

Competitors who wish to enter any course other than Wansfell, Bedafell and Harter Fell will be required to provided details of prior experience at the time of entry.

Detailed Course Descriptions – all courses for teams of 2 people only
(Exact statistics vary each year)

WANSFELL CLASS
(Estimated total winning time over 2 days 6.0 -7.0 hours).

This is the course to enter if you have no previous experience of Mountain Marathons. Participants must have good hill experience and basic navigational skills. Control features will be reasonably easy to identify on the ground (sheep pens, summits, stream and path junctions) and will be placed where simple navigational techniques can be used (handrails and catching features). Competitor should be able to cover the majority of their route by following paths, walls, ridges, streams and rough compass bearings. Entrants must be over 14 years old . Where one of the two runners is under 18 years old, the other runner must be the parent, guardian or “accompanying adult” of the junior runner.

Do not underestimate this course based on the winning times and distances. Wansfell can still involve full day on the fells for many first time mountain marathoners.

Approx. Course lengths  Sat Sun Total
Distance 15.5km  11.5km  27km
Vertical Ascent 1300m  900m  2200m

BEDAFELL CLASS
(Line course for teams comprising adult and Junior-Estimated total winning 6.0-7.0hrs).

This course is specifically for adult/junior (usually parent /child) entrants who wish to compete with an age based handicap. Each team must have one junior, that is someone who is a least 14 years old, but less than 18. on Day 1 of the event. The other team member is the parent or guardian. Participants must have good hill experience and proven navigational skills. In calculating winners’ times, each team will be given a handicap, dependent upon the age of the junior member. (See FAQs for more details)

Approx. Course lengths Sat Sun Total
Distance 15km  13km 28km
Vertical Ascent 1300m  850m  2150m

HARTER FELL CLASS 
(Estimated total winning time 7.0-8.0 hrs)

This course is longer than Wansfell and requires more navigational skills and route choice. It is still suitable for first time entrants provided they have a good level of fitness, good hill experience and proven navigational skills Entrants must be over 14 years old. Where one of the two runners is under 18, the other runner must be the parent, guardian or “accompanying adult” of the junior runner and must be over 21.

Approx Course lengths Sat Sun Total
Distance 19km 14km 31km
Vertical Ascent 1550m 1000m 2550m

CARROCK FELL CLASS
(Estimated total winning time 8.0-9.0 hrs).

Equivalent to OMM/ROC Course B

Both team members should have good mountain navigation experience and at least one participant must have completed one of the following Mountain Marathons  in the past 6 years.

  • SLMM,OMM, ROC,LAMM, Mourne Mountain Marathon.

Entrants must be over 16. Where one of the two runners is under 18, the other runner must be the parent, guardian or “accompanying adult” of the junior runner.

Approx. Course lengths Sat Sun Total
Distance 22km 16.5km 39km
Vertical Ascent 1700m 1200m 2900m

KIRKFELL CLASS
(Estimated total winning time 9.0-10.0 hrs Equivalent to OMM/ROC A)

Both competitors must have substantial mountain experience and one person at least from the pair must within the last 6 years either:

  • completed a Kirkfell Equivalent Course (or higher), or
  • completed one course lower and finished within the top 50% of those starting the course

Kirkfell Equivalent Course

  • SLMM Kirkfell, OMM B, OMM Combined, ROC B, LAMM B, LAMM C, LAMM D

Finishing in top 50% of starting numbers of following events also qualifies

  • SLMM Carrock Fell, SLMM Fairfield, ROC C, ROC Long or Short Score, OMM C, OMM Long, Medium or Short Score

Entrants must be over 18.

Approx. Course lengths Sat Sun Total
Distance 24km 17km 41km
Vertical Ascent 2200m 1500m 3700m

SCAFELL CLASS  (Estimated winning time 10.5-11.5 hrs. Equivalent to OMM/ROC A/Elite)

Both competitors must within the last 6 years must have achieved one of the following

  • completed an Equivalent Course
  • completed one course lower and finished within the top 50% of those starting the course
  • completed one of the other events and finished in the top 25%

Scafell Equivalent Courses

  •  OMM Elite, OMM A, ROC Elite, ROC A, LAMM Elite, LAMM A, LAMMB

Finishing in top 50% of starting numbers of following events also qualifies

  • SLMM Kirkfell, OMM B, OMM Combined, ROC B, LAMM B, LAMM C, LAMM D

Finishing in top 25% of starting numbers of following events also qualifies

  • SLMM Fairfield,  ROC Long Score,  OMM Long Score

Entrants must be over 18

Approx. Course lengths Sat Sun Total
Distance 34km 20km 54km
Vertical Ascent 2600m 1900m 4500m

FAIRFIELD CLASS (Equivalent to OMM/ROC L/M Score)

Total time 12 hours ( split 7 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday)

  • Both team members should good mountain navigation experience
  • at least one participant must have completed one of the following mountain marathons  in the past 6 years: SLMM,OMM, ROC,LAMM, Mourne Mountain Marathon.
  • Entrants must be over 16.
  • Where one of the two runners is under 18, the other runner must be the parent, guardian or “accompanying adult” of the junior runner and must be over 21

Course Format

  • At the Start on Day 1, the competitor will be issued with a list of all relevant controls for the two days. Each control 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 control that you visited on Saturday, again on Sunday.
  • Your time allowance will be 7 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday.
  • You must camp at the designated overnight campsite on Saturday. This is where your timing will end on Saturday and begin again on Sunday. If you exceed your time allowance on either day you will have penalty points deducted (See FAQ’s for details).
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