Welcome To The Inaugural St. Magnus Marathon, Orkney

Sunday 3rd July 2016
  • The Birsay Community Association welcomes you to the inaugural St. Magnus Marathon.

  • To be held on Sunday 3rd July, 2016, starting at 10:00am from Kirkwall’s St. Magnus Cathedral, the route follows that associated with the journey undertaken by his followers after the martyrdom of the Viking Earl Magnus to the ancient Christ’s Kirk in Birsay, finishing at the nearby Birsay Community Hall. We are approaching the 900th anniversary of the death of the sainted martyr, and intend this to be one of the most friendly, beautiful, and outstanding events of the calendar, to reflect and celebrate this historically significant anniversary.

  • Starting from the front of Kirkwall’s historic Cathedral the route proceeds into the beautiful north-west corner of the mainland, Orkney’s “Hidden Treasure” of Birsay. It will provide great photo opportunities at various points on the route; the UK’s most northerly, it is also one of the most rewarding distance runs, through wonderful coastal scenery, with challenging gradient changes in the early stages and gentle gradients latterly.


All entries are via Entry Central; there will be no entries on the day of the race.


Race Numbers will be issued from 08:00 on the day of the race at Registration at The St. Magnus Centre, Kirkwall, (at the rear of the Cathedral).

If you are unable to compete for any reason we ask you to kindly let us know. Refunds will not be made and there will be no deferrals.


The race starts at 10:00 am.

Health and Safety

Clear route maps will be posted at Registration and sent out on a reminder email 2 weeks before the race; we ask you to study these clearly before the race. The route is well signposted, but it is almost all on public roads, not closed to traffic. For this reason we advise runners to not wear headphones when running. The organisers are being assisted by a number of volunteer marshals. The safety of all is paramount and it is a condition of entry that competitors must follow the instructions of the marshals. First aid will be at the finish line and, if required on course, a marshal will contact First Aiders via our dedicated communications system.

The marshals will be on the course for the required time to oversee all capabilities of runners, noting that runners must enter emergency contact details on the back of their bib number.


There are prizes for first to third in both male and female as well as age categories 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and over. All finishers will get a medal, technical T shirt and goody bag


There are changing facilities at Registration including toilet facilities; car parking is available and details will be included with the Registration Pack. Coach transport will be available, (pre-booked) between Birsay and Kirkwall on the morning of the event, with runners’ kit being taken to the finish at Birsay Hall, and transport back to Kirkwall in the afternoon for those returning there.

There will be 6 water stations on the route and water will be available at the finish.

A Week-end, as well as an Event

We look forward to welcoming all to Birsay to enjoy this unique event, both local Orkney folk as well as visitors from elsewhere.

Entertainment in the Birsay Hall will be staged on the Saturday evening, by ticket only, with further details to follow.

Catering and refreshments will be available on the day of the marathon, with a 5km “Fun Run”, along with childrens’ and other entertainments.

A ceilidh will be held in the Hall on the evening of the event, again by ticket only.

(Please note that entrants and their families will be given priority for ticket purchases for the concert and ceilidh, and coach transport can be provided back to Kirkwall on the Sunday evening).

Where to stay

Please contact the Orkney Tourism Group, (OTG) advising them of your plans to come up for the marathon, and what kind of accommodation you’d prefer; OTG members having suitable and available space will come back to you directly, usually by e-mail, ensuring clear, first-hand communications -

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