Milky Way

List of Bimarathon Attempts

Historical Bimarathon attempts and successes

If you have attempted or completed a bimarathon, send an email with verifying details here so that your bimarathon can be added below.
  1. Between sunset and sunrise on the night of March 9/10, 2016, Warren Finlay successfully ran 42.2 km, on a course with 500 m elevation gain and loss, and observed the required minimum 110 deep-sky objects near La Perouse, Maui, Hawaii. This is the first known bimarathon attempt. His list of objects included all the Messiers except M 30, for which he chose to substitute the aptly named Running Man Nebula (NGC 1973-1975-1977) in tribute to the concept of the bimarathon. He used a 10" manual Dobsonian telescope with a 1x red dot finder for the dimmer objects, and 8x42 binoculars for the bright objects. Luca Vanzella, the serving President of the Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, joined Finlay and observed the same list of deep-sky objects himself that night (with a 10" Dobsonian telescope and 12x36 image stabilized binoculars), as well as supporting and vouching for Finlay's bimarathon. A more detailed description of the first bimarathon is given in “A Truly Celestial Marathon”, Stardust 63(9):6-8, May 2017.
  2. On March 24, 2017, Finlay attempted a repeat of his successful 2016 bimarathon at the same location in Maui. However, clouds intervened and forced him to abort after observing 42 deep sky objects and running 10.2 km. Vanzella again joined Finlay, but Vanzella was injured during a fall near the beginning of his first run. The night provided a reminder of the difficulty of completing this event.
  3. For the 2016 Northern Prairie Star Party (NPSP), Finlay prepared instructions for attendees to attempt a "mini-bimarathon" that included 10 Messier objects interspersed with five 700 m cross-country laps around the star party area. Clouds prevented anyone from attempting this mini-bimarathon at NPSP 2016. However, at NPSP 2017, on Sept. 22, 2017, using a 12" manual Dobsonian, Andy Hengst completed all five walking laps (3.5 km distance) but clouds prevented him from finding the last two Messier objects. Warren Finlay completed the NPSP 2017 mini-bimarathon that same night before the clouds rolled in.
  4. On March 15/16, 2018, Warren Finlay successfully completed a bimarathon near Dubbo, Australia. His planned list of objects did not include any Messier objects, but instead consisted of southern hemisphere deep sky objects. Clouds came and went through the first half of the night, causing him to revise his observing/running schedule on the fly, including at one time searching for any random deep sky objects he could find in holes between clouds. In the end, he observed 119 deep sky objects (including the Running Man Nebula, and just two Messier objects - observed during sucker hole observing). He ran the marathon mostly on dirt and gravel roads, including crossing cattle guard Texas gates 30 times, which made for slower run times. He used a 10" manual Dobsonian telescope with a 1x red dot finder for the dimmer objects, and 10x42 image stabilized binoculars for the bright objects. This was the first bimarathon completed in the southern hemisphere. A short documentary about it is given here.
Finlay at his telescope near the end of his March 9/10, 2016 bimarathon