Usually held on the May Bank Holiday, this highly popular event is not about racing along the BCN. It’s about careful planning, and developing a cunning plan well ahead of the event. The fun starts with maps of the BCN, all available canal guides, and all online resources. It’s not about winning, it’s about exploring and getting deeply involved with the Birmingham canals.

BCNS-owned ex-British Waterways working boat "Atlas" at the BCNS Marathon Challenge 2013

BCNS-owned ex-British Waterways working boat “Atlas” at the BCNS Marathon Challenge 2013

How does it work? You’ll learn, months ahead, where the Challenge finishes, and where you should arrive, on the Sunday, for a fun afternoon with the other participants, and perhaps a BBQ. You start, wherever you like, at 8am on Saturday. Six hours of rest are mandatory, where and when is up to you. Planning is everything.

Historic FMC narrowboat "Clover" at Bromford Junction during the 2015 BCNS Marathon Challenge

Historic FMC narrowboat “Clover” at Bromford Junction during the 2015 BCNS Marathon Challenge

Points are awarded for navigating under-used parts of the BCN, for reaching certain locations, and for answering clever questions about something on or near the canals, and for the number of locks and miles you’ve done. It’s not a race, it’s about clever planning. Having a Plan B (or C), should you discover, at 8am on the Saturday, that you are last in the queue to go down Farmers Bridge locks. Doing then something queue-less could make all the difference.

It’s all about fun, and exploring the BCN. I’ve taken part three times myself, lots of photos here. Highly recommended.

Details will be published, as soon as we know them, on the Upcoming Events page.

At Ghosty Hill Tunnel during the BCNS Marathon Challenge 2016

At Ghosty Hill Tunnel during the BCNS Marathon Challenge 2016

To give you an idea how it all works – here are the documents for the 2019 event, just for your information. The 2020 documents are not yet finished.

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Marathon Challenge 2019 Info & Rules

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BCNS Marathon Challenge 2019 Route Planner

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BCNS Marathon Challenge 2019 Cruise Log

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BCNS Marathon Challenge 2019 Route Planner

Comments 1

  1. WB&DCS narrowboat Cecilia
    We entered in 2017 and 2018 but were unable to take part in 2019 Marathon Challenge.
    We are intending to enter in 2020 so please add us to the circulation list.
    Many thanks,
    Ian

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