Marathon 2024 will take place on Saturday the 16th of November.

For more details, you can email the organisers. To receieve all the news about Marathon and our other event, Forward, you can sign up to our Events mailing list here.

You can also have a look at this entry pack from 2023 for an idea of how the event works.

What is Marathon?

Marathon is CUSAGC’s annual incident hike for members of the Scouting, Girlguiding 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 Scouting teams, one for under-18 Girlguiding 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. In 2023 it was based in Ashdon. Previously it has been held in Steeple Morden, Bedfordshire (2022); Potton, Bedfordshire (2021); Radwinter, Essex (2019); Clavering, Essex (2018); Burrough Green, Cambridgeshire (2017); Thaxted, Essex (2016).

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! Marathon 2024 will be held on the 16th November.

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, Rangers, Explorer Scouts, Scout Network, Girlguiding Inspire, and Leaders/Occasional Helpers of any section. Teams should be of 4 – 7, 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?

Entry forms with more details can be found at the top of this page. Or email at any time for more information.

Can I help?

There is no requirement for leaders to stay and help during the event, but we are always looking for willing volunteers! Let us know if you’d like to help!

Marathon 2023 Report 

The 2023 Marathon Challenge was based in Ashdon Village Hall, just outside of Saffron Walden. There were the usual 26 checkpoints distributed within a 5km radius for the hall, and teams were challenged to visit as many of these as possible within a 9-hour time limit.

Although most of the checkpoints were unmanned, at four of them the teams were greeted by CUSAGCers who set them additional challenges.  At base D, there was a Linguistics challenge, where teams decoded some Swedish Runes (or attempted to as we might have made it too difficult). Base E was Duck Pioneering where teams had to lift as many ducks off the ground as possible using bamboo sticks and string. Base G was the First Aid Base where teams were faced with 3 casualties of different severity of injury and had to treat them. Base L was Lasers where a “laser” course was set up in the woods using string and sighted team members had to guide their blindfolded counterparts through the course. The rest of CUSAGC were at HQ with their own challenges, Rachel and Will were busy making chilli, Rachel, Oliver and, later, Katelyn were manning the radios and phone and the organisers caught a break and wreaked havoc (with the pinnacle of delusion being around the time they forgot the cutlery for the helpers’ chilli).

This year saw eleven teams leave Ashdon Village Hall and to chilly, but not unpleasant, weather. Teams walked the long distances between cones and challenges but no team managed to visit all 26 checkpoints this year, with the most checkpoints a team visited being 17. All eleven teams returned in time for dinner.

Finally, we were ready to announce the winners and award trophies. Congratulations to the 28th Cambridge Leaders no 1, our overall winners this year. Also congratulations to Vortex Explorers who won the Explorers Trophy and 1st Ely Rangers who won the Rangers Trophy. 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! 

We would like to thank all the CUSAGCers and ex-CUSAGCers whose hard work before and during the event made it all possible, Derrick (for proving the radio system), 50th Cambridge Milton and Landbeach Scouts (for the last-minute minibus hire), Ashdon Village 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. Hope to see you all next year for another successful Marathon!

Caitlin and Mara

Marathon Challenge Organisers 2023