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To ensure fairness to all competitors, all rules must be strictly adhered to. Please take particular note of those rules regarding the equestrian section, on a separate sheet.


Any competitor who breaches the Race Rules or loses his team number in The Event faces team disqualification. (NOTE: It is, therefore, essential that all competitors attach the team number bibs securely to their person).

Runners - don't need arm numbers

Canoeist - Numbers as specified in the rules below

Swimmers - Numbers on the arms

Equestrian - Numbers on helmet and bridle as specified below

Cyclists - will have an additional Tail Tags fitted

  1. All place getters in the Veteran’s classes may be required to produce evidence of age before placings are confirmed. Men 40 years or over, ladies 35 years or over.

  2. All place getters in the 18 years or under section must produce evidence of age before placings are confirmed.

  3. Minimum age for any competitor is 14 years by the end of the year in which The Event takes place, unl ess permission is given by the Executive Committee prior to the Marathon.

  4. Competitors in a school team must attend the same secondary school and submit a completed verification form from the administration of the school they are attending. Maximum age is 18 years.

  5. Any protest must be lodged in writing to the Chief Steward and must be submitted within 10 minutes of the last competitor finishing. A protest can only be lodged by a competitor. Equestrian section protests must be made in writing immediately to t he Chief Veterinary Officer, at the start or finish of the Horse section.

  6. There will be numerous checkpoints along the course with attending stewards.

  7. The Chief Steward reserves the right to disqualify any team considered to be in breach of the Race Rules.

  8. No person is allowed to remove or cut obstacles from the canoeing course, including logs, tea tree, debris and other flora. Any person found so doing will cause their respective team to be disqualified. PLEASE INFORM ALL YOUR TEAM MEMBERS.

  9. SWIM START. To prevent the field becoming too extended, starting times of swimmers may be altered. This has the result that the finishing order is not necessarily the final placing order. Please co-operate with all marshals and time- keepers to ensure that your times are recorded accurately.






  1. Detours and short cuts are not allowed.

  2. The marked course must be followed.



  1. Helmet, Buoyancy vest and protective footwear strongly advised.

  2. Any deviation from the course (meaning “river bed”) apart from portage at Terry Road culvert (which is mandatory) will automatically disqualify the team. Failure to properly report to stewards at a checkpoint will automatically disqualify the team

  3. Minor repairs to craft during The Event are allowed, but must be performed by competitors. Back-up crews are not allowed to perform this function.

  4. Craft must be one-man canoe, kayak or surf ski.

  5. Paddles only to be used for propulsion, spare paddles may be carried on craft.

  6. Competitors must mark their craft with their team number on both sides as well as on the front. Numerals must be minimum size of 100mm high and 15mm wide. Numbers preferably black on a yellow background. Number 6 and 9 must be underlined.



  1. Any attachment to any part of the body (eg. Flippers) is not allowed.

  2. Wetsuits, goggles and swimming caps are allowed.






  1. Spare bike not allowed and road traffic rules must be observed at all times.

  2. Minor repairs during the race are allowed but must be performed by competitors; back up crews not allowed.

  3. Vehicles driving alongside, immediately in front of or behind the competitor not allowed.

  4. Start assistance allowed.

  5. Protective headgear is compulsory.

  6. No EBIKES are allowed or any form of motorised assistance.



The equestrian part of the Blackwood Marathon is unique among endurance rides in WA in that it is short (16km) and very fast. There are few shorter events and frequently the Blackwood Marathon is the first exposure of the horse to this experience. It differs from other events too in that the rider is under pressure as a member of a team consisting often of people who have little or no knowledge of horses and therefore cannot appreciate the potential dangers of allowing a horse to push itself beyond its physical limitations. In the past, the majority of teams competing in the Blackwood Marathon have been very conscientious in preparing, competing and caring for their horses. The low number of serious equine problems reflects the commitment and skill of the riders. Despite this, problems have occurred. For this reason, changes have been made to the rules governing the equine section of The Event in order to tip the balance between speed and fitness slightly, in favour of fitness.


  1. The RIDER must present the horse at the pre-ride veterinary examination.

  2. Horses may run barefoot, but due to course conditions shoes and/or boots are highly recommended.

  3. At the pre-ride veterinary examination, the horse must, in the opinion of the examining veterinarians, be able to complete the race without jeopardising the health of itself or the rider.


IMPORTANT –  Pre ride Vet checks start at 10:00am and must be completed by 11:30am.

Please make sure Equestrians are made aware of these rules


  1. The horse’s heart rate must be at, or below, 60 beats per minute within 30 minutes of crossing the finishing line and, in the opinion of the officiating veterinarians must not show any lameness or distress.

  2. The horse must be free of any ‘prohibited substance’. That is any substance having a direct or indirect action on the central or peripheral nervous system, or the cardiovascular, respiratory, alimentary digestive, musculo-skeletal, uro- genital systems of a horse. Prohibited substances include analgesics, anti-histamines, anti-inflammatory agents, blood coagulants, diuretics, hormones and their synthetic counterparts, cortico-steroids, anabolic steroids, local anaesthetics, muscle relaxants, tranquillisers and vitamins administered by injection.

  3. All Iron Man / Woman entrants must provide a Certificate of Competency in horse riding before their entry will be accepted. This must accompany their entry form.

  4. Minimum age limit for horses is four (4) years old. This rule will be strictly adhered to.

  5. Horses must not show any signs of lameness or distress during the event – this will be monitored by officials.

Failure to meet the above criteria will result in Team disqualification.
  1. Team numbers must be on the front of the helmet approximately 50mm high and the team number must also be securely attached to the horse’s bridle. This is the responsibility of the competitor who must present the bridle for inspection at the vet check.

  2. Any type of horse may be used.

  3. Riding caps or helmets must be worn.

  4. The marked course must be followed.

  5. The entire team will be disqualified if a team member takes a short cut.

  6. The entire team will be disqualified if there is any unsportsmanlike behaviour, i.e. Barging etc.

  7. No whips, spurs or long reins are allowed.

  8. DRUGS - Place-getters and other randomly selected horses may be swabbed and / or blood tested. Positive swabs /

  9. samples will result in team disqualification and the rider will be banned from future Marathons.

  10. Vets have the right to disqualify any horse.

  11. Horses should be available at 10:00am. for a vet inspection at Jayes Bridge.

  12. The Chief Vet will disqualify any rider for any blatant disregard of the rules and / or ill-treating a horse. Any rider so disqualified will be banned from future Marathons.

  13. The Chief Vet’s decision is final.





Unfortunately, even horses that are physically fit may still have trouble passing the vet check at the end of the ride due to a high heart rate at the time it is taken by the veterinarian. The following may assist newcomers to avoid this problem: obtain a stethoscope. One of the most common problems I’ve observed is the horse that recovers after the ride, but as soon as a stranger approaches the m and

tickles them with a stethoscope the heart rate sky rockets. Try to train your horse to stand calmly when approached by a second person under circumstances similar to those he / she will encounter at the vet check.


Make sure your horse is used to being out in company. It doesn’t matter how fit horses are if after months of training on their own they are suddenly confronted with the excitement of a large gathering you can expect them to have a high heart rate. Give them eve ry chance. Take them out to any event where there is a crowd, as often as possible; get them used to mayhem! Finally, if you have a head-strong horse, make sure you are going to control him if five riders gallop past you, or have him so fit that even he does bol t for half kilometre it is not going to exhaust him. Remember, start training early; any healthy horse given correct training and feeding is capable of successful completion of the Blackwood Marathon.



Written by an old, “seasoned” Blackwood Rider


▪     Start training your nag early – 12 weeks minimum.

▪     Fitness and conditioning are the basic aims. You will be asked to trot the horse at the final vet check to show he / she is not lame.

60 beats per minute (bpm) or less is the pass rate.

▪     Buy a stethoscope – training is a science, not a hit-and-miss affair. Serviceable stethoscopes are available from medical suppliers.

▪     Purpose-train your horse. 16km is not a long distance for a horse if ridden to a predetermined plan.

▪     Trotting is the training gait. It strengthens both the respiratory and skeletal elements.

▪     A 20km trot – at the eight-week mark – three times a week will have the horse working aerobically efficient. Measure the horse’s heartbeat on the build up to this goal. If he is not recovering to mid-40s within half an hour, increase the number of training rides but decrease the distance.

▪     The actual course is hilly, so vary your training tracks to include hills and flats.

▪     Variety also keeps the horse interested in his work. Different terrains also assist in conditioning the tendons and skeletal frame overall.

▪     Your horse will be burning more energy than usual so increase his diet. Grain, however, is not necessarily the be st. As the muscles work they produce lactates, which contributes to the horse “tying up”. Grain produces a higher percentage of lactates so quality chaff (lucerne or rough-cut), carrots, plus some selenium and electrolytes can form the basis of a good diet.

▪     Once the horse is performing well three times a week, i.e. aerobically efficient, some cantering can be introduced into the program. Say six kilometres twice a week in place of the training trots. Two weeks of canter at the two and three week mark i s ample.

▪     The last two weeks can be a gradual wind-down. The work is done. The horse will freshen up and enjoy the event.

▪     Remember, you and the horse are part of a team. Better to ride well within your pre-measured performance parameters and pass the final vet check than have to confront your other team members after a vet out.

▪     Training – trotting for kilometres – is the key to a successful and enjoyable ride.

▪     On the course and at the finish there are bunting strips that may frighten horses if they are unfamiliar with these. The fluttering, especially when windy, may cause horses to shy or refuse to approach the finish A good training idea is to attach a couple of metres of bunting to a fence or similar near to your horse’s feeding area. This helps horse become familiar with bunting during training.

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