Boxing Day, saw the annual Turkey Trot race take place, and this year, yet another course change. Starting at Tollymore mountain centre, the race followed the fast fire roads through the forest to the bottom of the Trassey track. From here the terrain under foot changed as competitors climbed towards The Hares Gap before veering left onto the well trodden walkers’ path which brings you to the stile on the shoulder of Slievenaglogh.
From my vantage point at the stile, I could see the lead runners approaching in the distance, red and yellow vests could be made out and started the debate of who was leading. “That’s Lynch leading, I can tell by the way he runs,” one seasoned marshal proclaimed. Two minutes later a red and yellow vest with Carnethy on it crossed the stile, soon followed by the red and yellow vest of East Down ac, in 3rd position at the top was NAC’s Seamus Lynch.
From here the course drops down on a very steep path to the Hares Gap, across the stile and back down The Trassey track with its array of route choices. It was on the steep descent where Lynch made his move, proving how a recce of the route is good for picking the fastest line, as he passed both men. Once onto hard ground again Lynch held his lead all the way to the finish in a time of 54:23. Eoin Lennon of Carnethy finished 2nd in 54:41 followed by East Downs Aaron McGrady for 3rd in 56:24. A red and yellow podium albeit 3 different clubs! Narrowly missing a podium position was NAC’s Mark Stephens in 57:11 for 5th and winning his mv50 category and 7th overall was Pete Grant. Just outside the top 10 was Sean Russell in 12th in 1:06:03 closely followed by Gary McEvoy for 15th in 1:08:18 20th place overall for Dominic McGreevy was enough to see him win his mv60 category in 1:10:19, hot on his heels for 21st was Stephen Graham in 1:10:26. A well rested Owen Brady finished 30th in 1:13:55, followed by Ian McCracken in 1:29:42. Seamus White was the final counter for NAC, who completed the course in 1:30:42, not bad considering he decided to leave his shoe down a deep hole on the way to Slievenglogh resulting in a frantic search operation, latest reports say that, “The shoe has cleaned up well and is drying out ready for the next outing.”
The ladies race was led from the start by Dark Peaks Megan Wilson who finished 18th overall in 1:08:39, followed by Lagan Valleys Shileen O’Kane in 1:11:05, finishing the podium was Carnethy’s Aisling Allum in 1:15:11. NAC’s Catherine McIntosh claimed 2nd fv40 in 1:22:01 for 8th overall followed by Bronagh McInerney who won her category fv45 in 1:25:25 for 12th overall.
Mince pies and mulled wine finished off a brilliant day where prizes were aplenty dished out by host club BARF.
New Year’s Day sees the action heading to Co.Antrim where Ballymena Runners host the annual Race Over The Glens, entry available on the day, sure what else are you doing?
By Hill Runner