As we approach the end of March, once again, TheOneRing.net prepares for our take on ‘sports ball type activities’; yes, Middle-earth March Madness is almost here!

Last year, we had a hotly debated contest to decide the best scene from Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films. Newly quarantined and locked down, many of us found solace and entertainment in discussing the match ups; and for the first time in MeMM’s history, we hosted live shows to discuss each round. We also shared a look back at all the previous MeMM contests – you can read that article here.

2021 is the TENTH edition of Middle-earth March Madness – and on last night’s TORn Tuesday, we revealed the theme for this year. It is ‘Battle of the Best Dressed in Middle-earth.’ Looking at costumes from Peter Jackson’s two Middle-earth trilogies, we want to know which outfit is your favourite. You can see the four ‘regions’, with 16 entrants in each, below.

Here’s the key thing: we’re hoping for lots of participation from you this year, and particularly, we want to see YOUR versions of these costumes and characters. In choosing from our ‘long list’, to decide the final 64, we thought particularly of all the amazing cosplays we’ve seen over the years. (That’s why the bracket includes characters such as Gollum and the Balrog – not exactly costumes as such, but we have seen some brilliant cosplays for these characters!) We tried to pick costumes which seem to have been popular with cosplayers; and we’d like you to campaign for your favourite. You can do this by sharing pictures of your cosplays; show us video if you have it; tell us about your creative process; whatever you’d like to share! Convince us that THIS is the costume which deserves to win, because it so inspired your own creativity.

You can share your images on our facebook page; you can email them to spymaster@theonering.net; or you can simply tag us on Twitter or Instagram, and use #middleearthbestdressed. As last year, we’ll have live shows to discuss each round, and we hope to share some of your images on these shows. Staffers are already prepping their armour, as they’re expecting some battles royale! Join in the fun: campaign for your favourite, and get ready to vote when the contest launches at the start of next week.

AND – stay tuned for an announcement coming later today, as we mix things up a bit before Middle-earth March Madness 2021 has even got going…

Congratulations! You are a true Rider (or runner, or maybe a walker). You answered the call to traverse the miles from Dunharrow to Minas Tirith. Here is your Finisher Certificate. Print it out and share a photo of yourself on our World and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien Facebook page, and tell us a tale of your adventures, or perhaps share a poem or song.

There is still time to run this race here or the three previous Middle-earth Virtual 5k races. The Shire Sprint , Racing to Rivendell and 5000 Meters through Moria are still up and available for download. The certificates for those races are in the posts.

If you complete all four races by May 31, you can download a final additional certificate that shows you completed all four races. Congratulations again! We hope you had fun.

Certificate design/illustration by staff member Mithril (Nancy Steinman).
Additional illustration by BSGStudio and freedesignfile.

Whether you have run the previous three races or not, you can still participate in this one, so get psyched up for The Run of the Rohirrim Virtual 5k. This course follows the route that King Théoden and the Riders took from Harrowdale to the Pellenor, while Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and the Grey Company tread the Paths of the Dead.

This is a Virtual 5k Race (3.1 miles). You can run, jog, walk in your neighborhood or your backyard, use a treadmill, climb the stairs in your home, or use an elliptical – whatever is most convenient and safe for you. (Please follow your town’s current rules.) 30 minutes of exercise can also count as 1 mile. Run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself – our 5k’s are on the honor system.

Before you start wracking up miles, download a RACE BIB here or from TheOneRing.net’s “The World and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien” Facebook page. Write your name or nickname and/or race time in the white box, then you can stop by our Facebook page and post a photo wearing your bib. Once you have completed each race, let us know! Download your Finisher Certificate and share another photo. Finisher Certificates will be posted early next week.

This is the last race, but it is not too late to participate in the previous three. Just click these links to get your bibs and certificates. All races are 5k (3.1 miles). If you complete all four, an additional crowning certificate will be available next Friday to download.

Race #1: Shire Sprint
Race #2: Racing to Rivendell
Race #3: 5000 Meters Through Moria

If you’re so inclined, reading the section in “The Return of the King” that corresponds to this race might add a bit of color to your journey. Above all else, have fun. On your mark, get set, go!

Bibs and certificates designed and illustrated by TORN staff member Mithril, aka Nancy Steinman.
The mountains on this bib were illustrated by BSGStudio.

5000 Meters through Moria Virtual 5k Certificate

If you survived the dark and dangerous halls of Moria, congratulations! Here is your Finisher Certificate. Print it out and share a photo of yourself on our World and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien Facebook page, and tell us what you encountered on your run. Perhaps you had to fend off orcs or cave trolls? Did a Balrog singe your sneakers?

There is still time to run the two previous Middle-earth Virtual 5k races. The Shire Sprint and Racing to Rivendell are still up and available for download. The certificates for those races are in the posts.

You have until May 29th to complete all four races to be eligible for the final additional certificate that shows you completed all four races. The next and final race will be posted this Friday, May 22. We hope you’ll join us. Congratulations again!

Whether you have run the previous two races or not, you can still participate in this one, so limber up and join your fellow ringers and take on the 5 Meters Through Moria Challenge. This course will follow the fellowship of the ring’s dark and dangerous journey through the mines of Khazad-dûm. Once prosperous and echoing with song and the ringing of pick-axe, these dark caverns are now inhabited by orcs and cave trolls and something much, much worse. So be on your guard as you make your way to the final bridge and cross once more into daylight.

This Virtual 5k Race (3.1 miles) can be run or walked at any location you choose (please follow your town’s current rules). You can run, jog, walk in your neighborhood or your backyard, use a treadmill, climb the stairs in your home, or use an elliptical – whatever is most convenient and safe for you. 30 minutes of exercise can also count as 1 mile. Run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself – our 5k’s are on the honor system.

Before you start each race, download a RACE BIB here or from TheOneRing.net’s “The World and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien” Facebook page. Write your name or nickname and/or race time in the white box, then you can stop by our Facebook page and post a photo wearing your bib, or post in the comments below.

Once you have completed each race, let us know! Download your Finisher Certificate here and share another photo.

Also, check back next Friday for the fourth and final race. If you complete all four races, an additional special certificate can be yours! If you’re so inclined, reading the section in “The Fellowship of the Ring” that corresponds to this race might add a bit of color to your journey. Above all else, have fun. On your mark, get set, go!

If you weren’t able to join the first two races, don’t despair! Click on these links to earn your Shire Sprint and Racing to Rivendell bib and certificate. Complete all four races by May 29 and earn an extra crowning certificate.

Bibs and certificates designed by TORN staff member Mithril, aka Nancy Steinman.