** NOTE : Race 5 is at Moughanmore on May 16th. No race on May 9th. **
Binnian the beautiful
Slieve Binnian is the third highest mountain in Northern Ireland at 747 metres (2,451 ft). The name comes from the rocky tors situated around the top of the mountain. These very rugged crests of rocky tors make it easy to identify and boast some of the most scenic views in the Mourne Mountains.
Binnian the beast
I’d wager a bet though that by the time the 176 hardy souls reached the summit after a tortuous ascent which, at times, requires the runners/crawlers to use both feet and hands to propel themselves upwards on 30% plus inclines that the rather special views on offer was not to the fore in their thinking.
Thursday 2nd May saw the 4th race of the Hill and Dale series. Binnian is a pretty unique race in that it’s literally a race to the top. At 7.30pm the runners set off from the homestead of Willy Marks with the relatively straight forward task of summiting Binnian a little faster than the other 175 runners. The race unfolded with an early group establishing a strong pace led by Ian Bailey and Allan Boggle, closely followed by evergreen Deon McNeilly. The 3 men opened a gap on the chasing field lead by William McKee and David Steele. On the steeper slopes above the quarry is typically where the race is won and lost and this year proved no different. From our viewpoint on the summit we watched a battle of wills between the leading trio, McNeilly looked the danger man as he took some unique line choices which, it must be said, had some of us thinking his inbuilt sat nav had indeed malfunctioned. However with constant running Deon made significant ground on the leading duo and at the approach to the stile the 3 men were inseparable. With a lung bursting effort Bogle climbed first and made a race winning move which saw him accelerate up the final 200 metres in impressive form. Bailey and McNeilly followed home to round out the podium, with Deon taking the honours in the V50 category to no-one’s surprise! William McKee, David Steele and the recently married Sean Donnelly ran strongly to round out the top 6. Dominic McGreevy recorded a noteworthy 9th position and with it the honours in the V55’s, Paul Pruzina, MJ 11th, Martin Wilcox V40 19th, Shileen O’Kane LV40 25th, GillianWasson LV35 37th, William McKay V60 50th, Anne Sanford LV45 53RD, Patricia McKibben FO 106th, Dearbhla Magee FJ 107th and Fred Strickland V65 124th rounded out the category winners on the night.
After you Sir/Madam…ehhh don’t think so !
The finish line is a great place to be at the end of any hill and dale race but no more so than that of Binnian. A cracker team of helpers lead by old hands such as Brian Mc Burney, Audie McVeigh, Barry Wells, Mark Hanna and Paul Watson had erected a makeshift finish area which funnelled the runners to allow for accurate number and time recording. One would have thought by this point in proceedings old rivalries would have been settled and the fight for position pretty much put beyond doubt however to the entertainment of the assembled posse we witnessed feats of athleticism more akin to an Olympic sprinter played out whether it was for 90th in the case of Newcastle’s fast finishing Laurence Hamilton or 123rd for Murlough’s Debbie Kendall! It once again highlights the unique appeal of the Hill and Dale series. Throughout the 11 race series you will witness battles right throughout the field with week old rivalries being renewed and that chance of capturing the bragging rights for at least 6 days.
Special thanks must go to the following people who made this event happen; Audie McVeigh, Brian McBurney, Barry Wells, Mark Hanna, Mark King, Paul Watson, Tony Steele, Darragh McCrickard, Phil Hodge, Mark Kendall, Nathan McCoombe, Jack O’Hare and his team and finally Willy Marks for the use of his land for parking and registration.
The series take a week’s break as our annual Slieve Donard Moutain race takes place on Saturday 11th May, full details on our website at www.newcastleac.org
Next race is Moughanmore on May 16th. Full body cover will be required in order to compete. Please car share where possible as parking is very limited.
Race 4 of the 2013 Hill and Dale Series will take place on Thursday 2nd May at Slieve Binnian.
Online registration is now CLOSED and will reopen after Race 4.
Please remember to only register ONCE for entire Series.
Pre-Entry List – please check your race number.