Marathon 2017 was held on Saturday 25th November, based in Burrough Green near Newmarket.
Marathon is CUSAGC’s annual incident hike for members of the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK and SSAGO aged 14 and over (that includes leaders!). The challenge is for teams of 4-5 to gain points by visiting as many as possible of 26 checkpoints in 9 hours, over about a 70 sq. km area. Teams are given grid references for the checkpoints and must choose their own route. The majority of checkpoints are unmanned, but teams can gain more point at manned checkpoints where there are further challenges to complete.
Three trophies are available to be won: one for under-18 Scout Association teams, one for under-18 Girlguiding UK or all-female teams and one for teams with members over 18 years of age. However, the number of checkpoints you visit is up to you, so it can just be a stroll in the countryside and opportunity for a pub lunch! This makes Marathon Challenge suitable for all levels of ability. Due to the distance covered, time needed to complete challenges at manned checkpoints, and the fact that some navigation may be in the dark, only the very best teams will manage to visit all 26 checkpoints.
Where is it held?
It’s normally somewhere west or south of Cambridge, as we aim for somewhere a bit less flat than the fens – but always within comfortable reach of City. Previously it has been held in Thaxted, Essex (2016), Steeple Morden, Bedfordshire (2015), Potton, Bedfordshire (2014), and Ashdon, Essex (2013). In 2017 it will be held in Borrough Green, Cambridgeshire.
When is it held?
It is normally a Saturday in the first half of November, depending on Cambridge University Term dates, and trying not to clash with things like Remembrance weekend and SSAGO Rally!
Who can enter?
Any member of Guiding or Scouting aged from 14 upwards is eligible to enter, as are SSAGO members. This includes older Scouts and Guides, Senior Section, Explorer Scouts, Scout Network, and Leaders/Occasional Helpers of any section. Teams should be of 4 – 7 (over 18’s may enter as a 3 if they are happy to do so), but if you can’t find other people to enter with, we may be able to place you with a team – contact us if this is the case.
Can I have more information?
Check back here around mid-September to find the entry forms and details. Or email marathon[at]cusagc.org.uk at any time for more information.
Can I help?
Marathon is less helper-intensive than Forward, but we are always looking for willing volunteers! Let us know if you’d like to help!
Marathon 2016 Report
The 2016 Marathon challenge was based in Thaxted, in Essex. Centred on Thaxted Church Hall, the usual 26 checkpoints were distributed within a 5km radius and teams were challenged to visit as many of these as possible within a 9-hour period.
Although most of the checkpoints were un-manned, at four of them the teams were greeted by CUSAGCers who set them additional challenges. At base O, there was the traditional first aid base. The quiz again made an appearance, this time at base V, with slightly 2016 themed rounds (European languages, songs containing America, Cubs and Senior Section badges), and a random round where all the answers were part of the creation account in Genesis 1 (written by our token Arts student, studying theology). Base R was very far away, the furthest in fact from HQ all off the bases. Here participants had to try and rescue a number of rubber ducks with a range of equipment they were offered, including rope, climbing paraphernalia and a bucket. At Base F, participants had to make a knot in a large rope, whilst blindfolded, without letting go of the rope.
We had 78 participants in 18 teams who all left, and returned to, Thaxted. The weather was lovely all day. There was thick fog as we drove to Thaxted, but it cleared before the team set off. Dinner was, as usual, Chili con Carne, but this time the meat and veg came from a farm shop, making it extra delicious. At the end of the day, we were very pleased to see all the teams return safely to HQ, if not all on time, and we had no teams who got lost which was great.
Finally we were ready to announce the winners and award trophies. Congratulations to legacy Explorer Leaders, our overall winners this year; they also took the over-18 trophy. Top of the Explorer teams was Legacy Explorers A who came in 7th place overall, while Framlingham Guides (Leaders) were the highest-scoring all female team. Well done to all the teams who took part – Marathon is designed to be hard and you all put in a great performance, and we hope you enjoyed yourselves too! This year no teams managed to visit all 26 checkpoints, but our course did seem extra difficult.
We would like to thank all the volunteers (who helped with organising and running the event), Thaxted Church Hall, all the local landowners (for putting up with the boot-prints and tents), and last but not least, all the participants for your energy and enthusiasm which makes the event worth running!
Amy Bland, Meghan Bird & Matt Maltby, Marathon Organisers 2016