I have never entered a Mountain Marathon before. Is the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon suitable for a beginner?

Please see the detailed Beginners Guide to Mountain Marathons on the Blog section of the web site and the section on course choice below.

When do we find out the area?
About a month before the event we will put the Event Centre venue on the Website. The overnight site will only be disclosed to you when you get your route on the Saturday morning of the event.

Which course should we do?

If you have not done a Mountain Marathon before it can be a bit difficult deciding which course it is the best to do. As a rule of thumb we would suggest that you do to a shorter course rather than a longer one. The first impression you might get is that the distances seem short. Do not be fooled. The distances quoted are straight line distances between each check point and the heights are the minimum you can expect to climb.

As a rough indication, you can expect to go between 15% and 30% more distance and anything up to 50% more climb. Also, the terrain is likely to be rough and you may spend a lot of the weekend off paths as well as spending time navigating. Your average speed will therefore reflect all of these factors.

For those with fell running experience, remember that you have to carry a rucksack and navigate.

For those with orienteering experience, be aware that the distance and climbs are considerably greater.

For those with mountain experience remember that some of the course will be off-path through potentially rough terrain.

… all of this over two days and in any weather conditions.

If you do not have any of the above experience, you should only be doing a mountain marathon with someone who has participated in previous similar events.

Start by looking at the course descriptions  page. This tells you what experience is required for each course and how long the winners will take. If you expect to take 50% more than this you should do a shorter course.

Another good source of information is the results and courses from the previous races. You can check the range of times taken and you can plot the courses using the grid references in the Course Descriptions.

As a guide, it is suggested that you look at Wansfell or Harter Fell classes for your first mountain marathon. Do one of these for your first event to give you a feel and then progress through the classes as you gain more experience.

If you are still unsure which course is most suitable, then please contact us.

What maps do we get?
Each competitor will be given a 1:25,000 map specially prepared by Harveys and printed on ‘Hartex’ (a plastic type material) for the event area. The map will be issued on Saturday, once you have started the race. Orienteers, please not the map is of a traditional kind and not marked for ‘runnability’.

Can we use GPS?

No! GPS devices (including mobile phones and watches) may be carried throughout the event but must NOT be used for navigation.  Any team found using their mobile phone or other electronic device for communication or navigation purposes, except in the case of emergency, will be disqualified from the event.  We rely on the integrity of our competitors to follow this rule

For solo competitors in the Klets and Fairfield classes it is compulsory to carry a phone (for emergency use only).

It is permitted to use a GPS device to track your route for post-event analysis, but this data must not be accessed during the event. There are no battery charging facilities at the overnight camp

The use of barometric type altimeters is permitted

Do we need to use grid references to mark the course on the map?

The map is overprinted with circles showing the controls used on all courses on both days. At the Start, you will still be issued with a control description list for your course, including grid references. You will need to identify which controls on the map are the ones for your course. You must take a pen with you for the event and we recommend a waterproof permanent marker is used to highlight your specific controls on the map. There are a number of markers that work well on dry maps and are not affected by subsequent wetting. However, we have found that the only method of reliably marking an already wet map is a wax pencil (Chinagraph type). You will be marking up your map in the open so be aware if this in the event of rain.

What sort of waterproofs must be carried?
Full waterproof clothing must be carried by all competitors.  These must meet the FRA requirements for waterproof, whole body cover:

The FRA regards waterproof to be a garment marketed as waterproof (i.e. not merely windproof) with taped seams. Such garments require maintaining (i.e. cleaning and reproofing) to maintain their waterproof quality.

The FRA regards whole body cover to be an outer layer for the torso, with an attached hood, plus an outer layer for the legs that reaches the ankles; just below the knee cover is not adequate.

Do we have to carry all our water for the weekend?
Water will be available at Event Centre and Overnight Camp. It may need to be treated (boiled) at the overnight site. If this is the case, notices will be erected to remind you. The organisers to not provide water or feed stations on the course. You must be self-sufficient in food and the only water available will be from natural sources, and this is dependent on the weather and the precise location of the course. You will have to judge whether it is fit to drink and use a suitable filter or other purifying method if you think appropriate.

 Can we camp at the Event Centre?
Camping is available free at the Event Centre from late on Friday afternoon and tents can be left erected until Sunday afternoon if required. The organisers take no responsibility for tents or any items left in them over the weekend.

What time do we start?
On Day 1 competitors are pre-allocated a start time.  (Normally between 8am and 10am.)  On Day 2 there is a chasing start for all competitors within 30 minutes of the course leaders. Remaining competitors start from 8am and must have started by 9am.

What are the toilet arrangements?
Mobile units will be on site at both the Overnight Camp and Event Centre.

What is available at the Overnight Camp apart from water?
Beer, Cider, Lager, Milk and a limited selection of soft drinks will be available. This must be pre-ordered in June. No food is provided at the overnight camp and you must bring all supplies with you. It is against the rules to be supplied with any other food by friends, family, pubs or shops during the event.

Can I leave rubbish ad the Overnight Camp?

No! You must take back everything you have brought with you, apart from the food you have eaten. This includes bubblewrap you may have slept on and all food packaging. Random checks may be carried out at the finish.

Is there any entertainment at the Overnight Camp?

You will need to make your own entertainment but the Saunders is known as a relaxed and sociable event and the overnight camp usually has a great atmosphere. We will display Day 1 times and positions on a rolling basis and there will be a shelter available for competitors to congregate in the event of rain.

If we make it to the overnight camp but have missed checkpoints along the way then can we still start the Sunday course?
Yes, provided you do so with your original partner (if you started on Saturday in a pair). You will receive a time and position for the Sunday course alongside the other competitors so you may feel this allows you to finish the event on a positive note .You will obviously not be given a time or position for the whole race as you will not have completed it.

Can we buy T-shirts?
Commemorative tee shirts should be purchased when you make your entry, and will be available for collection at the event. Tee shirts purchased in advance will be at a reduced price. If you do not purchase on entering , a few of each size will be available to purchase at the event, on a first come basis and at a higher price.

How can I review my performance after the event?

We publish split times and positions for each leg between control points as well as overall times and positions. This enables you to see where you lost or gained time on other competitors. We will also load the courses onto Routegadget so you can either plot your route manually or upload any GPS trace you have collected. If other competitors do the same then you will be able to see how their route choices compared to your own.

What is the veterans’ handicap and how is it calculated?

Veterans’ results, based on a handicapping system, are calculated for all courses except Bedafell.  The calculation of the handicap has been changed for 2018 following competitor feedback; now only the age of the older team member is considered, and woman are given an additional handicap equivalent to 10 years.

This is how the percentage handicap is calculated:

  • A team is eligible for a handicap if both members are 45 or older on the Saturday of the event. This applies to both men and women.
  • A solo competitor is eligible for a handicap if he or she is 45 or older on the Saturday of the event.
  • To calculate the handicap, ten years is added to the age of women and then the greater of the team’s two ages is used as the handicap age (or for a solo competitor just the single age).
  • The handicap percentage is then calculated as 1% for every year over 45.
  • Here are some examples:
  • A solo man of 45 has a 0% handicap.
  • A solo woman of 50 has a 15% handicap.
  • A team of two men aged 50 and 55 has a 10% handicap.
  • A team of a man aged 55 and a woman aged 50 has a 15% handicap.
  • A solo man of 44 is NOT eligible and nor is a solo woman of 44.
  • A team of a man aged 55 and a woman aged 44 is NOT eligible.
  • A team of two men aged 40 and 70 is NOT eligible.

This is how the percentage handicap is used:

  • For a linear course or the Klets course the total time over the two days is reduced by the handicap percentage.
  • For the Fairfield course the total points score over the two days is increased by the handicap percentage. If the total points score over the two days is negative, no adjustment is made.
  • Here are some examples:
  • If the total time over two days on a linear class is 8 hours 30 minutes and the handicap is 10%, the time used for veteran results is 7 hours 39 minutes.
  • If the total score over two days on the Fairfield class is 800 points and the handicap is 20%, the score used for veteran results is 960 points.

How is the handicap calculated for the Bedafell class?

  • The handicap is calculated solely on the age of the junior.
  • The handicap is one minute for every whole month under 18 years of age on Day 1.
  • This handicap is subtracted from the total running time over the two days
  • The range of the handicap is from 47 minutes for someone of 14 years and 0 months on Day 1 to 0 minutes for someone of 17 years and 11 months on Day 1
  • Prizes are awarded on handicap time only
  • Start times for the Day 2 chasing start are calculated using the handicap. This means that the finish order corresponds to the final results.


A team has a junior who is 16 years and 5 months on Day 1. This is 1 year and 6 whole months (18 months) under 18 years of age. Their handicap is therefore minus 18 minutes. If the team has a total running time over the two days of 7 hours and 23 minutes, their handicap time is 7 hours and 5 minutes.


Can my entry be deferred until next year?
If we receive an application for a refund no later than 6 weeks before the event we will return 50% of your entry fee. No entry can be deferred until the next year.


How does the penalty points system work for Fairfield?


The first 10 minutes — 2 points will be deducted from your score for every minute, or part of a minute, that you are late, between 1 minute and 10 minutes

10 – 20 minutes late – 5 points  will be deducted from your score for every minute, or part of a minute, you are late, between 10 minute and 20 minutes

10  points will be deducted from your score for every minute, or part of a minute, you are late, after 20 minutes.

Your score after deductions will never go below zero each day.


If you are 25.5 minutes late you will have points deducted from your score as follows:

1-10 minutes              20 points

11-20 minutes            50 points deducted

21 to 26 minutes        60 points deducted


If there is anything else you need to know, then please contact us.

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