The first race was held in 1997 in Smiltene – a small town rich in cycling traditions. Since 2002 it is named SEB MTB marathon. Today it is one of the largest series of MTB marathons in Europe with about 1800 – 2300 riders participating in each stage.
The race takes place from late April to early October in 7 stages, in different Latvian towns. Participants have opportunity to choose among 4 distances in a rugged terrain (forest tracks, meadow paths, water obstacles) in the most picturesque regions of Latvia:
- Marathon distance – 55 – 70 km,
- Half marathon distance – 35 – 45 km,
- Health distance (no time calculating) – 25 – 30 km,
- Children distances (from 500 m – 5 km).
Each stage has its own winners, based on individual and team scores, in different age and gender groups. More information is available on www.velo.lv under section – Competition rules.
The race welcomes both experienced athletes and beginners. They all must have an MTB bike, helmet, courage and determination to complete the distance they have chosen. To participate in the longest marathon distance, riders must have a licence issued by the cycling federation of their country.
Toyota distance (55–60 km). The track is marked in a rugged terrain. Only riders born in 1999 and after are allowed to participate. European XCM championship Sigulda stage ~100 km. Riders born in 1997 and after are allowed to participate in Sigulda stage.
Virši-A distance (35–45 km) track is marked in shorter and simpler area (gravel roads, dirt roads and forest roads, tracks, water obstacles). Riders born in 2001 and after are allowed to participate.
Mammadaba Health distance (25–35 km) no time limit. Riders born in 2014 and after are allowed to participate. For M-14 and W-14 age groups results are recorded in each stage and in total score. MTB cross (XCO) track consisting of laps may be included in the cycling programme for this age group in some stages (Smiltene, Vietalva, Talsi).
Children race takes place in the start/finish area. Distances for children born in 2012–2008 (400–800 m); 2007–2005 (1200–5000 m).