Mountain Running Report

Yorkshire 3 Peaks
On Saturday 28th April Ian Bailey took on this classic Fell race in Yorkshire. Described as a marathon with mountains, it consists of 23 miles and 1600 metre of ascent and descent across the 3 summits of Pen Y Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Ian finished a very credible 9th in a time of 3:05:32 against some very stiff competition and sponsored athletes.

Highland Fling
Sunday 29th April saw the annual Highland Fling take place in Scotland. This is a 53 mile ultra trail marathon taking in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park. NAC had 3 competitors taking on the challenge, none of them strangers to this sort of thing. Dominic McInerney and Stephen Wallace both finished in 10:40:24 followed shortly afterwards by Mark King in 11:17:23.

By Hill Runner

Hill and Dale Series 2018 – Race 4

Race 4 Results

Binnian – the ‘High Point’ of the Series

Race Report by Deputy Dog

The planning for each race in the Hill & Dale Series starts well before actual race day. With participant numbers so much higher than than the early days nearly 25 years ago, there are two different people, ‘The Race Directors’, who are furnished with the ‘bible of details’ weeks before – proper forward planning. This year, however, there has been some ‘date swapping’ (no, not a variant on the popular App ‘Tinder’) for some of the races but that should work alright, in theory. Well I said it should – until I discovered that my organising partner for Binnian had sent round a Google Map Reference for the registration field in the deepest South Mournes from high up in the Pyrenees – apparently he was on a road trip (also being referred to as an Elite Training Camp) with an Olympian and a Plumber where the daily Strength & Conditioning Sessions included demolition and the construction of a shower unit. Binnian to the Top is the ‘High Point’ of the Series but this Race Director had truly been left with the steepest mountains to climb.

Hanna, McKee & Lynch – Binnian (photo by Ryan McDonald)

So to Race Day and the weather was not being favourable, but with the help of an army of willing volunteers (without whom the Series could not take place – thank you to every single one of them), the pre-race arrangements had been put in place and necessary infrastructure had been installed in Mourne Runners’ stalwart Willie Marks’ field. All great plans need to be flexible and after the first 5 cars skidded and slid into the sodden field, there was a quick consultation of the ‘bible of details’ to look for ‘Plan B’. ‘Plan A’ would required a Tow Truck and so having left his team of trusty disciples at the registration table, Joe McCann was commandeered to devise a new solution for the parking issues. To be fair he did handle the mini-crisis reasonable fashion and within the hour he was at the front of a record crowd to provide race instructions and safety briefing. He then set the 231 runners off up the road and onto the mountain lane towards Binnian.  Continue reading

Hill and Dale Series 2018 – Race 3

Race 3 Results

Race 3 Photos by Paul Fegan

Record Numbers at Slieve Martin

Report by The Terminator

The third race in the 2017 Hill and Dale series took place in Rostrevor on Thursday 26 April. The weather forecast during the lead up to the race had changed that many times it was anyone’s bet what would be in store for the runners that evening. Thankfully Kilbroney missed the predicted showers, the wind had dropped and the sun was out just in time for the race.

1st Seamy Lynch with 2nd Willy McKee and Newry AC’s Krion Kelly 1st MV45.

Registration went smoothly thanks to Mary, Debbie, Richard and Nadia. They were kept busy, with 277 runners entering the race – a new record for the Slieve Martin race. Runners seem to be a forgetful bunch, as after every race, without fail there will be an item of some sort left behind. Usually it’s a jacket or top someone has left hanging on a tree, the last thing on a runner’s mind after a challenging run up a mountain! Over the years we have been amused at the items left. Last year a McKibbin misplaced her bumbag and when shown said bumbag which had been found the week before was certain it wasn’t hers only to come back a week later realising it was! This year someone managed to leave behind a good pair of inov8 fell shoes. The shoes were passed to this week’s race organisers in a box along with the other race equipment and left in their parent’s garage for a week. Unfortunately, she was not made aware of these shoes and as anyone who runs up mountains knows if shoes are left sitting they can smell like bog… When she returned to collect the equipment on Thursday morning she was given a right telling off for leaving wet fell shoes sitting as her mother had to clean them and leave them out to dry. Confused as she was certain she had already cleaned her inov8s went out the back and to much amusement found her nice clean inov8s sitting next to a second pair of nice clean inov8s! The shoes were collected this week from lost property. If you dislike cleaning your fell shoes after each race I wouldn’t recommend leaving your shoes behind as we can’t guarantee all lost property will be returned in such a clean condition! Continue reading

‘It is not much fun in the searing sun’

A Bogusboy Special Report on the Virgin London Marathon

Murdock, O’Flaherty, Farrell and Rodgers.

The London marathon is one of the great spectacles of the spring sporting season. With competition for places greater than ever, securing an entry is about as rare as seeing Ronnie Horrox in a Hill & Dale race. More and more people are looking to complete the ultimate challenge of 26.2 miles, something that the human body is not designed to do. Training is arduous and requires commitment to a minimum of 16 weeks of intense training, with long miles a feature of every weekend. This year has been particularly difficult for those in training with very cold weather, snow, heavy rain and winds. Even after enduring all of that, there are no guarantees of success and little things can undo all the good effort. One such factor is the weather on race day. Last week in Boston, there was torrential rain and this invariably impacted on performance. At the other extreme, excessive heat can be an even more undermining factor and can put paid to the best laid plans as evidenced at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast recently. Throughout the week, the meteorologists (and the mortorologists, in the form of our very own Jerome ‘The Prophet’ McCrickard) were warning that Sunday 22 April would be hotter than any runner would desire, even those used to training in warm weather at altitude. Advice was given; take more fluids on board throughout the race and adjust your expectations to match the conditions.

They got it right, unfortunately
The forecasters got it right and temperatures soared as participants assembled at the red, green and blue starts at Blackheath and Greenwich for the 2018 Virgin London Marathon. With arguably the strongest ever field assembled, and the welcome presence of Sir Mo Farah, the streets were lined from early morning as fans sought a glimpse of the greatest ever British male athlete. In the days leading up to Sunday, organisers were repeatedly sending out warnings to athletes to be mindful of the weather and to adjust their target times accordingly. This was not going to be an occasion on for PBs; start slower and forget about the time was the wisdom proffered to the masses. Additionally, they had advised against running in fancy dress to mitigate against the danger of heat exhaustion underneath cumbersome attire. Extra water was ordered by the pallet load and additional on course showers were provided to combat the temperature increase. Continue reading

British Championship comes to Newcastle!

Misty conditions at the Start! Photo by Richard Cowan.

Saturday the 14th of April saw the first round of the British championship, The Mourne Highline take place in Newcastle. The race was organised by NIMRA and all the local clubs helped out with registration and marshalling etc. Race Director, Ricky Cowan did a fantastic job as usual, getting everything into place for one of the biggest Fell races of the year, right down to arranging for thick fog to give locals a home advantage.

Competitors were bussed from Donard Park to the start line at Spelga Dam, where visibility was down to 30 metres, so being competent with a map and compass or having recced the course was sure to be an advantage.

The race took runners up the first climb, Slievenamuck, before dropping down to cross the road at Ott car park, then onto the Ott track where careful navigating was needed to get you to the first checkpoint on the summit of Slieve Meelbeg. From here it was a matter of sticking closely to the Mourne Wall and following it to checkpoint 2 on top of Slieve Meelmore, followed by Slieve Bearnagh, Slievenaglogh, Slieve Corragh and finally Slieve Commedagh. From here, runners descended quickly on very wet and slippery terrain towards the last checkpoint on the edge of Donard forest at Slievenamaddy. Getting the right line off this was crucial and good navigators were well rewarded, the quickest times being under 10mins, while those who like to get value for money and stay on the mountain as long as possible took over an hour! Continue reading