Bailey and Wilson make it double tops on Sl Donard
Report by Bogman
I’m not a betting man but would guess that the odds of winning the Sl Donard race two years in a row would be fairly generous. To do that and record the same time as last year (57.01) and also retain the fastest descent trophy would surely have attracted very generous odds. So step forward Ian Bailey, the man who did all the above to become the winner of the 70th Sl Donard race. The “red/yellow magpie” who just returned to racing in the last few weeks led his club Newcastle AC to the team award, along with team mates David o Flaherty (2nd) and Colm Murtagh (8th).
As the runners gathered at the Newcastle Centre, before the race, the sun came out to greet them and to give a very much needed boost to their confidence for the task ahead. Music supplied by “GOfigure” thanks DJ El Mitty, helped the runners with the pre race warm up routines and added to the carnival atmosphere. Just think what sort of a day it could be, for the town, with a little backing and involvement from the Town Committee and the Council. With the stunning back drop of the Mournes in full view the spectators, locals and visitors, were going to have a ringside seat of the race as it unfolded on the slopes of Sl Donard.
Also doing the double was Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) who retained her ladies title, with a quicker time than last year. Diane could be on for another double as this win puts her in prime position to retain her All Ireland Champion title from last year. Making her Sl Donard debut was Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) and her recent Hill and Dale form continued with a fine 2nd place. 3rd place went to another first timer at this race with Sinead Murtagh transferring her road training on to the hills, perhaps she will follow hubby Colm and sign on the dotted line for Newcastle!!
As can be seen from the Hill and Dale results each week the bulk of the field, at these mountain races, are made up from the age 40+ category runners. But youth has its place, with Paul Pruzina (BARF) and Dearbhla Magee (Newcastle AC) taking the first spots in the Junior category, well done to both. On the minus side if they both are still competing in the event at the age of the ” most senior (unnamed) runner” they will have over 50 more races to do. I will write a special report when they reach that milestone, that is if these special tablets I’m taking do what they say on the box.
Race time keeper Frank got the record field of 195 starters lined up on Main Street and on the stroke of two o’clock he sent them off on their journey. The field contained brothers, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, wives and husbands, friends and foes, all full with the joy of (late) Spring. By the time some of them returned they were showing signs of a harsh winter. Not surprising when you see that 140 made it to the top in under the hour and 180 made the up and down journey in under 2 hours.
A large number of IMRA runners made the journey up from Dublin and Kerry as this event is also part on a 5 race All Ireland series. With Mourne AC runners Sam Herron and William Mc Kee take 3rd and 4th place the best IMRA got was 5/6th. It could have been all so different if Ian Conroy (Raheny Shamrocks AC) had not have blown up at the top. Ian reached the top in 2nd place but could only manage 116th place on the descent for 25th overall.
10 people had a descent time under 20 minutes, children don’t try this, from Sl Donard to the Newcastle centre. On hearing this, the voice of Newcastle Joe “Mike” Mc Cann was not overly impressed. He announced that he had jogged from Sl Donard to his housing estate in under 20 minute wearing road shoes. It was only when his coach and mentor Paul Og reminded him that his journey was the 1 mile from the Sl Donard hotel, that there was 30 seconds silence from “mike”
When the draft results appear it is always interesting to hear the reaction from the runners, (who will say, sure I only do it for a bit of fun) as the text messages, emails and twitter bring news of ” not that I care but think my time was 2 seconds quicker, never slower”. Sure that’s what half the fun is.
Events like these only work because of the time and effort given by the officials and marshals (who had 5 hours on their time sheets). Some were club members but a special thanks goes to those from outside the club.
It was good to see that runners came prepared with wet weather gear and while not needed at this event please remember to bring this gear to all Hill and Dale events. Next event is Rocky on Thursday night.
The 2014 Slieve Donard Race will take place on Saturday 17th May at 2:00 PM.
This year the Slieve Donard race is the 5th race of the Hill and Dale Series and it also again is part of the Irish Mountain Running Championships.
Registration is now CLOSED.
If you have already registered for the Hill and Dale Series you DO NOT need to register again to run the Slieve Donard race.
Prizegiving and barbecue will be in O’Hares after the race.
Can all Juniors (16+ and U18) please make sure that parental consent form is signed on day of race.
** NOTE – due to the changeable weather conditions wet weather gear will be required. Please remember to bring full body cover with you **