Race 5 Photos by Paul Fegan
Race 5 Photos by The Inspirational Runner
Lynch and Troeng share the spoils on Rocky
By Rusty and Stainless
A summers evening in the middle of the Mournes, if that well known Danish Lager did Fell races. Thursday evening saw race 5 in the Hill and Dale series descend upon Leitrim Lodge Car Park where 259 runners signed on for the annual haul into the hills of one of most picturesque parts of the Mournes.
Ran in an anti- clockwise direction, the charge began at precisely 7.29pm (Frank was delighted) the runners set-off with the imposing climbs to Altnatagart, Tournamrock, across to Pierce’s Castle onwards to the final climb up Rocky before the runners embarked on the fast, technical descent off Rocky towards the finish. Pre-Race favourites, Seamus Lynch Newcastle AC’s and William McKee made their intentions clear putting daylight between himself and the chasing pack as they reached the first climb, Lynch extended his lead as the race progressed and ran out a worthy winner in an impressive time of 30.22., McKee ran a strong race in second with Colm Murtagh completing the podium.
The Ladies race was won by Newcastle Ac’s Mari Troeng who ran an excellent time of 39.23
The long lane towards the finish is Taylor-made for the fast finisher, some epic battles were witnessed with Bolt-like lunges to the line being standard form. Only for the instructions from the race director to “slow down and get into order” who knows how many would have ended up the river for an early bath.
In a world of sameness it’s often a challenge to “stand out from the crowd” that condition clearly does not affect Paddy O Higgins who clearly had an early week reccy to seek an alternative route. Whilst the 258 runners ran the traditional climb along the wall Paddy, much to onlookers amusement, set off at a 90 degree angle and proceeded to run towards Rostrevor!! Onlooker’s proffered a lack of updates on his Garmin the only plausible reason for such a route. Paddy stole the occasional glance over his shoulder to see just how many were following his “outside the box thinking”, turns out the other 258 runners thought he was barking mad as he progressed alone. Upon reaching the first summit (Paddy’s second as his route added a new mountain to climb) he asked of his position, a sharp 230th was the reply from the marshall’s it became clear to Paddy his alternative route needs some further refining for next year’s event!!
Runners enjoyed the obligatory post-race bathing session in the nearby river to cool the limbs and make one presentable for the Maghera Inn where Mathew and his team provided a warm welcome, great grub and the best pint of Guinness in the country.
Sincere thanks to everyone who made the event possible from Marshalls, timekeepers, sign-on team, a great effort saw the event run like clockwork.
Next week’s race takes place at Moughanmore, 7.30pm Start, limited car parking at Deer’s Meadow 271254
Bar – Dorans.