Photos by Paul Fegan
Photos by Jack Proctor
Lynch and Dickson edge one step closer to series victory
By Björn and Agnetha
A warm evening saw 239 runners depart Deer’s Meadow for the sixth race in this years Hill and Dale Series. After last weeks maverick route choice by Patrick Higgins at Rocky, numerous runners were spotted on the side of Pigeon Rock on Monday and Tuesday night considering the Pigeon conundrum – up and over, or contour round?
Seamus Lynch and Willie McKee led proceedings up Pigeon closely followed by the young talented Spaniard Gonzalo Lopez de Miguel who is up for grabs as a Bosman transfer. As they descended into the valley, disaster struck for young Gonzalo who went over on his ankle. Despite getting his mane tangled in the heather, Frank Cunningham came to the rescue and carried the young man back up over Pigeon Rock and down to Deer’s meadow. After such a display of heroism, Gerard McCauley et al have now resigned themselves to the fact that Cunningham will once again be receiving the club entry for the 2019 London Marathon.
Back at the front end, David Hicks and Colm Murtagh were chasing down Lynch and McKee. As they descended Moughanmore and climbed Pigeon for the second time, Lynch kicked for home and opened a gap which he comfortably held to the finish in 31:16. The spectators at the finish enjoyed watching the leading men descend at break neck speed back with McKee a further 16 seconds back in 31:32, Hicks took third place in 32:03 and Murtagh with yet another fourth in 32:14.
In the ladies race Dickson led from start to finish winning in a time of 38:24 with a two and half minute gap over Mari Troeng and Ballymena’s Gillian Wasson who passed each other on numerous occasions despite taking differing routes over the mountains.
Numerous runners attempted to find the best route round Pigeon with Stephen Knight and Monica McCrickard receiving the evenings award for best route choice, contouring round Pigeon. Monica was also present for the worst route choice of the evening. After taking a lift to the race with Aidan Brown she spent the whole evening pushing the Transit van out of the ditch after Brown managed to get it stuck parking.
At the finish line seasoned veteran Dave Fulcher was spotted observing proceedings with great passion. Rumours are that he is planning an intense training programme for his first grandchild due later this year. Dave plans that this future King of the Hill and Dales will be on the podium by 2034 by the latest. No doubt Dave will still be running then too!
Frank Morgan as usual set up an impressive finish chute which any observer would accept could be used to gather thousands of lost sheep off the mountains. Nigel McKinney with a fetching pair of sun glasses appeared to be too busy looking for the sun to see the finish and nearly continued on up Slieve Muck. In his series debut Michael Durton tried his best to shoulder charge his way across the line. With such determination to pass the lady infront of him, he managed to run past the scanner and five people managed to sneak in before he managed to get himself processed.
Further down the field it was great to see Niall McCrory back from honeymoon and making a welcome return to racing finishing in a time of 43:24 and 81st place. There are strong rumours that his bride Rose will be making her Hill and Dale debut before the end of the series. An anonymous source close to the McCrorys state that Rose believes their new home is lacking a finishing touch – a Hill and Dale mug. And on that note – the Race Director asked the authors to remind all runners – that the only way to obtain a coveted Hill and Dale mug is to turn up to the prizegiving!
After the race it was on to Dornan’s pub, where the craic was great, Mary Mackin tried to eat all the food, and the Guinness flowed. A word of thanks to the silent (and some not so silent) volunteers who are there, week in, week out. Without them there would be no Hill and Dale. Thanks to Frank for the start and finish, Darragh for scanning, Debbie, Mary and Rita for the entries and food, Jana and Nadia for their efficient results, John for making sure everyone got home and Mark, Francie, Jonny and Frank for marshalling.
Next week racing moves to Millstone starting at Donard Forest. Get in quick before Jack O’Hare gets it sorted with a cable car at the end of the O’Hare mile and the race route disappears. With Irish Champs at Carrauntoohil at the weekend, Thursday could be anyone’s race!