MUCH MOURNING IN MOURNE
by Pete Moss
It is with much sadness and regret that I have to report to you the loss of a great Mourne character. This fellow had tramped the mountains for many years and was well known to many Hill and Dale runners as they often watched him disappearing into the distance. Mourne Runner’s Andrew Niblock was particularly attached to him and had these words to say shortly after the loss, “I will miss this old soul terribly and it will be hard for anyone to follow in his footsteps” Despite a thorough search the remains have not yet been located, a situation which has left all Mourne Runners distraught as his remaining twin brother is not expected to last much longer himself. It has been rumoured that in keeping with Mourne’s sea faring tradition when his time comes he will be buried at sea. Local undertakers Bailey and Mc Neilly have been entrusted with the funeral arrangements and have already chartered a sailing boat for the occasion which will undoubtedly be laced with sadness.
Meanwhile at race five of this year’s Hill and Dale series Des Woods was made to work all the way by young Andrew Annett, with Des just holding on to take the win. In third place came the single shoed athlete mentioned above. When asked why he didn’t stop to pick up his shoe Andrew Niblock said he was worried about Neil Carty passing him and so he decided to the finish the race in one sock and one shoe, true dedication to the cause. Whilst his search for the shoe proved fruitless he was offered some consolation by a Hill and Dale loss adjustor who advised him to fill out a claim form and assured him that it would be filed in the bin as with all previous claims.
The race, which many would argue is the true start of the Hill and Dale and indeed was the series opener for many years, starts at the Deers Meadow and takes in the Summits of Pigeon and Moughanmore covering a distance of 3.25 miles and 1560 feet of ascent. It also includes the first of this year’s mountain descents which obviously proved to some peoples like and to others dislike. Paul Carlin, who has been a revelation in the first few races, finished clutching his stomach admitting that he shouldn’t have had a sausage supper before the race whilst Gerard Boylan complained that he had injured his calf with his own knee, a feat not terribly common. PJ Mc Crickard after incurring the wrath of the race officials by parking in a restricted area said that he was so affected by the dressing down he got that he just wanted to get the race over and get home. In his rush to do so he left many seasoned athletes in his wake including Newcastle’s Brendan Quail who lives and trains at altitude.
In the ladies race it was Shileen O’Kane who once again took the honours ahead of Anne Sandford and Diane Wilson with Megan Wilson finishing first in the junior ladies category. Further down the field one poor lady fell foul of chief steward Captain Marty ‘Mainwaring’ Mc Veigh. The mild mannered and even tempered Mc Veigh spotted her crossing the line whilst listening to a personal stereo which apparently contravenes all good practice regulations. Although she tried to melt into the crowd the eagle eyed mc Veigh, with the assistance of Marty Mc Mullan’s sniffer dog, spotted her and left her in no doubt about her misdemeanour. Others beware particularly those who ignored the body cover instructions given when entering the race. Whilst on the subject of our chief steward it is worth noting that he carried out all his duties to his usual exacting standards in a pair of Eugene Mc Cann’s trousers as he forgot to bring a pair of his own or perhaps he is doing his bit for the environment and cutting down on detergent.
With all runners accounted for the party moved to Greenan’s bar and restaurant in Kilcoo for the prize giving and refreshments. Mourne Runner’s, still reeling from news of their earlier loss, sat sombre faced in a quiet corner; nothing unusual about that. Life goes on without ‘Wee Shooey’ said club stalwart Willy John Brown, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the fifth plate of sandwiches.
Many thanks to everyone who helped and in particular to Greenan’s for hosting the prize giving and putting on a fine spread. As the evening drew to a close three men from Monaghan were seen leaving the premises in a hurry. It is a sign of the times that this gave rise to little concern when it was discovered they had simply left the immersion heater on.
The next race is a new race, over Millstone Mountain, with registration in Donard Park, Newcastle from 6.15 pm and please remember to make sure your shoes are on good and tight!