Hill & Dales 2024 Race 6 – Lukes Race Report, Results & Photos

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall, While The Prophet Ensured a Litter Free Event for all 

from Meelmore Lodge by The Civil Servant 

Meelmore Lodge was the setting on Thursday past for race number six of the 2024 Hill and Dale Series. Across this 4.5mile race route runners had to tackle the summit of Slievenaglogh [the mountain of the stones], which is 586 metres high with a prominence of 42 metres, and the summit of Lukes, which is 391 metres high with a prominence of 29 metres. A total of 216 runners toed the line in the Meelmore Lodge overspill car park area.

With the Thursday 23rd May designated as national lucky penny day, a few competitors were spotted pre-race in the general Meelmore Lodge area staring at the ground in anticipation that they would find a lucky penny that would bring them some luck around the gruelling course that they were about to encounter. On his arrival The Prophet noticed all the runners walking around the grassed area and he enquired were they all litter picking, but then realised that the McVeigh brothers were not messing about regarding environmental protection standards and had positioned litter bags on every possible post in the Meelmore Lodge car park area.  

Registration opens, has anyone got a hair bobble? 

By 6pm the townland interface of Tullyree, Cross, Clonachullion and Moyad, within the East Down parish of Kilcoo, started to become inundated by a diverse mix of runners and interested onlookers from all parts of Northern Ireland and Castleblaney. Sam McNeilly and Debbie Kendal diligently set-up station in the back of the newly refurbished camper van and started to process all the 216 registered runners. Around half-way through registration mass panic struck as Catriona Edington (Annadale Striders and 55th overall in 49:57) realised that she had no elastic material with her to keep her hair tied back ahead of tackling the undulating slopes in the foreground. The full body check support team of Uncle Frank, The Prophet and The Butcher stood back in disbelief as to what had just been revealed; however they all wanted to be helpful and to find a solution to the problem. Uncle Frank offered up some old used bailing twine, The Prophet offered up some cable ties [potentially used], The Butcher’s offer cannot be permitted for publication, with finally Sam bringing some common sense to the situation and kindly stepping in with a spare bobble that she had stored in her new camper van. Perhaps the Hill and Dale Race Committee need to take some legal advice from Marathon Man on whether they should add hair bobbles as a standing item of Hill and Dale full body kit essentials? 

Another item up for discussion at registration was the fine collection of dry robes on display. A motion was taken by Debbie and Catherine McIntosh to ask The Civil Servant to raise in dispatches if the Hill and Dale directors and volunteer crew can be provided with branded dry robes for the 2025 series. Going to press the club chairman (BEM) could not be contacted on the motion. The Chairman, The Goat and The Rambling Landlord had abandoned ship and were on a Last of the Summer Wine tour following the 2024 Giro D’Italia in the Italian Alps. For those of particular generation The Civil Servant will let you all decide which of the three is Norman, Walter [Foggy] and William [Compo]. Reports received by The Civil Servant suggest that the tour was badly impacted by some inclement weather, including 12-foot snow drifts, forcing these experienced cyclists off road and into a forest. Due to the extreme risk of avalanches the Carabinieri [the Italian police] had to deploy extra resources, not only to protect the public but to chase down and escort three cyclocross males with strong Northern Irish accents.  

A notable absentee from registration duties was Bogusboy; however Miss World lodged his apologies to the McVeigh brother race directors in advance claiming that he was too busy with an online convocation of the Lasallian District of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta in planning for their next symposium. To put this excuse more simply, Bogusboy was lying up in The Burrendale Hotel Spa jacuzzi consulting some poor soul about his early 2000’s exploits at the Armagh 10 miler. 

Who was Humpty Dumpty? What brought him to that wall? And how did he fall off? 

As the race got underway and the runners took off up the long straight path to the open mountain disaster struck as The Civil Servant, who following a long hard day working from home, decided to rest up against a dry-stone ditch and take some photographs of black face ewes in the adjoining field. Not only did The Civil Servant fall from a height nearly breaking his neck in the process, he also managed to displace several stones from a historical handcrafted dry-stone wall.    

Given humpty dumpty’s historical portrayal as an egg, it was no surprise that The Prophet, who at the time of the incident was reviewing the contents of the Meelmore Lodge honesty egg box, was the first on the scene to review if any damage had been caused to The Civil Servant. In true Prophet fashion, he could be heard shouting for Uncle Frank and that he would need to use his bricklaying skills to put the fallen stones back into some shape. The Prophet turned to The Civil Servant and told him to man up and get out on the main road to check the car parking situation.    

Dickson and Crudgington take top spots 

Tom Crudgington (Newcastle AC) was 1st home overall in 37.21 with a very well controlled run from Frank’s whistle to Debbie’s chief scanner, while Esther Dickson (Newry AC), in an impressive 24th position in 47.03, taking the overall victory in the ladies race. Ashley Crutchley (Newcastle AC) 2nd overall in 38.55 and Joshua Mcatee (unattached) 3rd overall in 39.33 completed the male podium positions. Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) took the 2nd female podium position and 43rd overall in 49.10 with Rachel Quinn (CrossFit) the 3rd female home in 53rd position overall in a time of 49.52. 

With around half the runners through the finish line it was pointed out to the McVeigh brothers that there was a flashing light to the upper end of western slopes of Lukes. Upon closer inspection and following consultation with club photographer Paul Fegan the McVeigh brothers decided to let the situation develop before calling Mourne Mountain Rescue. As the light got closer to the finish and entered the laneway back to Meelmore Lodge it became clear that the flasher on the hill was Stuart Lynn (Lisburn Triathlon Club and 196th overall in 78:25). Well done to Stuart on a great run and for adding another possible item for discussion to be added as a standing item of Hill and Dale full body kit essentials. 

Finally and as the sun began to set over the Slieve Croob hills the Leitrim/Rostrevor and Kilcoo/Newcastle tail runner crew of the Butcher and Jinxy Farrell approached the finish line with Chun Yee Gillespie (Lisburn TC and 215 overall in 89:19). Well done Chun Yee, not only for a great run, but for also putting up with The Butcher and Jinxy for a full 4.5 miles. 

The 2024 Booley Boot Award Goes to?  

This year the Booley Boot award can only be associated with one possible person. Having put in a very decent run Stephen Hoey (Jog Lisburn Running Club and 30th overall in 48:03) in his wisdom decided to abandon his running mud claws and socks in the Meelmore Lodge car park and drive off to the pub. On finding these abandoned items The Prophet wanted to treat them as litter and take enforcement action against the perpetrator; however, Jinxy Farrell managed to talk The Prophet down and explained it was probably just a genuine mistake and that the owner did not intentionally mean to discard the items. The abandoned items were taken to Doran’s Public House where they were returned to their gleeful owner who at the time was on his third plate of chicken curry and rice.  As a punishment Stephen had to listen to The Prophets stories of how to spot the early warning signs of a mis-behaving rooster and how the Dollys Brae car park is one of the best meeting points in County Down for summer foraging walks. Race Directors the McVeigh Brothers and all from Newcastle AC would like congratulate Stephen on his Booley Boot award. 

Prizegiving at Doran’s Public House  

As normal after a Hill and Dale race Doran’s Public House opened its doors to the Hill and Dale competitors for refreshments. As is custom a 2024 Hill and Dale Series mug was immediately presented to the Doran’s Bar owners to sit along the many collected from years previous. The bar stool conversations soon got going with Jinxy Farrel reacquainting with some of his old classmates and Eugene Lively in deep conversation with The Butcher about some of the famous Reid/Hall derby’s that have taken place in Down football over the years.  

Connell Nugent (RunningShorts.com AC and 212th overall in 83:51) then joined the discussion with The Butcher asking him how long he has been at the Hill and Dales. Nugent pondered his response before claiming I have not been at the Hill and Dales the Hill and Dales have been at me! 

From the rear room of Doran’s suddenly singing could be heard and upon closer inspection The Civil Servant heard the following words being sung, very badly I must add, by Uncle Frank “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall; The Prophet laughed when humpty had a great fall………..”. 

Before matters got out of order it was left for The Civil Servant to bring the Lukes 2024 proceedings to a close.  

Thank you’s and onward to Millstone with The Bogboy and The Italian Goat  

Race directors the McVeigh brothers would like to thank all the volunteers, marshals and the catering crew for their help and assistance for making the race go so smoothly [Sam, Debbie, Paul Catherine, Rebecca, Rita, Ian, Mark, Miley, Oran, Dave, Niall, The Butcher, Frank, The Prophet, Jerome, Rory, Connaire Og and Harry]. A special thanks also to Doran’s for their kind hospitality. 

Next Thursday and race seven in the Hill and Dale series moves back to the East Down capital of Newcastle to Millstone mountain with registration in O’Hare’s, Bar, Lounge and Spa and the whistle going at 7.30pm sharp. For those who need directions to Newcastle for next Thursday’s meeting point it can be confirmed as Donard Car Park, South Promenade, Ballaghbeg, Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland, BT33 0JB or to put more simply the big, massive car park at the bottom of the tallest mountain in Northern Ireland. Runners are again reminded that full body cover will be essential [bobbles to be confirmed] and full checks will be conducted pre-race. The prize-giving after will be in the exclusive Avoca Hotel/Gin Lane/Wild O’Hare, Estate and Spa, Newcastle. For those intending to save money and travel to the race by helicopter please note that direct transfers are available to Newcastle from 5-star Lough Erne Resort and Spa. 

Until next year it is over and out from humpty dumpty at Meelmore Lodge.  

Eva Jacques and Jessica Jacques (unaffiliated) 

Eva Jacques and Jessica Jacques (unaffiliated)

Number 263 Deborah Wells (Willowfield Harriers 179 overall in 68:02)

Number 263 Deborah Wells (Willowfield Harriers 179 overall in 68:02)

Number 14 Peter McEvoy (Mourne Runners 37 overall in 48:29)

Number 14 Peter McEvoy (Mourne Runners 37 overall in 48:29)

Number 545 Roger Morgan (Newcastle AC 11 overall in 42:40)

Number 545 Roger Morgan (Newcastle AC 11 overall in 42:40)


Race Results:

Click here for results

Race Photos: 

Photos by Paul Fegan

Photos by Richard Cowan (If you want to use Richard’s photographs then feel free. The link below gives you a chance to say thanks by buying him a cup of tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/thekillinchyphotographer)