Hill and Dale Series 2013 Race 9

Photos by Deon McNeilly and Photos by Henry McLaughlin

Bailey has the punch to floor Rocky
by Fat Boy Slimmer

The Rocky Race is the 9th race of the 2013 Hill and Dale Series. The race started on the mountainside at Leitrim Lodge and was run in an anti clockwise direction. It included the summits of Altnataggart, Pearse’s Castle and Tournam Rock before the final climb and the fast descent of the eponymous Rocky and then back to the start.

Compared to awful conditions of last year, the weather was good for racing, and importantly visibility was good. One hundred and forty nine souls pitched up for the start, with many who had completed weekend events including the Camlough Triathlon, and Mourneway Events including the marathon and the Ultra events…runners can no longer say there are not enough events on!

The start of the race is fast before the field climbs steeply alongside the edge of Kilbroney Forest before rejoining the main track heading for Altnataggart. One of the great things about the Hill & Dale series is the wide variation in each of the 11 races and also the variation within each race itself. This week the ground covered included smooth track, rough bog and tussocky terrain, gentle and steep climbs and descents.
Ian Bailey is in the running form of his life and led the field up the wall at the start and on to the main track with local boy Seamus Lynch and Neil Carty hot on his tail. Some usual front end suspects (Stephen Cunningham, Deon McNeilly and Diane Wilson) were sitting this race out in anticipation of the Flagstaff to Carlingford race on Saturday however this didn’t slow the speed that the lead male and female runners took off at.
Ian Bailey pushed hard and led the race the whole way round, winning in a very quick time – 32.17 only 11 seconds outside Alan McKibben’s 2006 record for the anti-clockwise route. Seamus Lynch also had another fantastic performance, with an excellent second place with ever present Neil Carty third.

In the ladies race there was another victory for Shileen O’Kane, who had a comfortable win. This is Shileen’s fifth win in the 2013 series and she will be aiming to extend that to six wins over the last two races. Patricia McKibbin had another good run to finish second in the ladies race with a fast finishing Taryn McCoy a close third.

Behind the leading five male runners, Mourne Runners, William McKee had another fantastic run in this years’ series finishing in 7th overall. William has been very consistent this year and the Mourne Runner has continued his good form with consistent performances throughout the series and must be one of the most improved runners this year.

The runners at the finish line were welcomed with delight by the local midge population, who descended in their thousands to a gorge of blood rich athletes!

Many thanks to all the runners, registration helpers, summit marshals, finish marshals, parking marshals, photographer and finally to the Downshire Hotel in Hilltown for their fantastic hospitality.

Next week is the 10th race in the 2013 series with the return to the series of the Hen and Cock Race. Race organiser is Brian McBurney. Runners please remember to bring full body cover and registration is from 6.30pm in the field on the lane opposite Hen Car Park. Presentation venue is Greenans Bar Kilcoo.

Race 9 of the Hill and Dale Series – Rocky – will take place on Thursday 13th June.

Registration is now OPEN. Please remember that you only need to register ONCE for entire Series.

Rocky Route Map

Race will be run in an anti clockwise direction

Registration from 6.15pm in Leitrim Lodge Car Park

Grid ref: 224:256 – Leitrim Lodge car park, Sandbank Road (under Rocky Mountain)

Race starts at 7.30 sharp from Leitrim Lodge. The finish line is also at Leitrim Lodge.

Checkpoints below will be marshalled, and runners follow these in order.

There is free route choice in between the checkpoints.

1. Start – Leitrim Lodge
2. Altnataggart
3. Pierces Castle
4. Tournamrock
5. Rocky Mountain
6. Finish – Leitrim Lodge

The pub this week is Hilltown Hotel (Downshire Hotel in the Square Hilltown).

Note : Full body cover is mandatory for all participants regardless of weather conditions. Runners should bring this regardless of weather forecast.

There will be a kit check at start and finish of race. Further instructions and information will be available at registration.