Marathon Challenge 2012 happened on Saturday 10th November in the area around Chrishall on the Cambs/Herts/Essex border. Results are below.
What is it?
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?
In 2012 we were based in Chrishall on the Cambs/Essex/Herts border. 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 distance of City. The 2011 event was based at Westley Waterless (Cambridgeshire) while in 2010 HQ was in Thaxted (Essex), in 2009 it was in Bourn (Cambridgeshire)and in 2008 Steeple Morden (Cambridgeshire).
When is it?
Marathon Challenge 2012 was on Saturday 10th November. To help plan for the future, it is always a Saturday in November.
Who is eligible?
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 - 5 (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.
Forms for the next Marathon will be available here from September 2013, so do check back! Also keep an eye on any Scouting/Guiding mailing lists for more info. Contact saglo [at] cusagc.org.uk for more info before then.
The 2012 CUSAGC Marathon Challenge was held on the Cambridgeshire/Hertfordshire/Essex border, with the course contained within a 5km radius of the village Chrishall and including the County Tops of both Cambridgeshire (Great Chishill, 146m) and Essex (Chrishall Common, 147m) – how flat East Anglia is!
As ever, there were 26 checkpoints, the shortest known route around them this year being about 26.5 miles and the idea being to try to reach as many as possible and return to base in 9 hours. Four checkpoints were manned and had challenges to test the teams skills and teamwork – the perennial first aid base (with a topical firearms incident) joined blindfolded Lego construction, an obstacle course involving moving a very large beach ball with just two ropes and a complicated game where teams had to do exercises to earn rope, in turn to tie knots and score points!
After a difficult gestation for the event this year, it was perhaps inevitable that only 8 teams – 35 entrants – took part, after late publicity and with a further 5 teams dropping out in the days leading up to the challenge.
It was heart-warming however to see those teams that did attend rising to the challenge so well, and indeed this year saw one of the tightest ever finishes, with just 11 points (out of 2100) separating 1st and 4th positions, and the competition eventually coming down to which team performed best at the manned base challenges. No teams reached all 26 checkpoints, no doubt in part due to the very muddy ground underfoot, but the top 4 teams came very close. In the end, 28th Cambridge Young Leaders came first overall with 1820 points, also securing them a win in the Explorer Scouts class, whilst the second-placed team, Miscellaneous Scouters B, scored 1818 points and won the over-18s class. Congratulations to them both, and to all teams that took part – we hope you enjoyed yourselves!
On their return, teams were given a hot meal and a chance to discuss the day's events, before the trophies were awarded. The organisers are all very grateful to the participants, as well as to the CUSAGCers and ex-CUSAGCers who came to staff the event, to the landowners who tolerated us all, the Chrishall Village Hall committee and the Histon and Impington Community Minibus.
Marathon 2012 Organising Committee Member