On Friday evening, 43 brave souls, including 8 from Newcastle AC took on the challenge of the Granite Trail, the curtain raiser to the Mourne Skyline event the following day. The Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) saw competitors start on Newcastle’s Central Promenade, before making their way into Donard Forest and up the historic Granite Trail towards the finish at Millstone Quarry, overlooking the town. Altogether, this totalled 2 miles uphill with approximately 1,000ft of ascent. The steep climb is made all the more difficult by the presence of steps at various points as these break the rhythm of the runners and upset their cadence. All NAC athletes performed well, evidenced by the filling of the three male podium places and a podium finish for Sam McNeilly (2nd) in the ladies’ race.
|1||David Steele||Newcastle AC||M35||00:17:38|
|2||Barry McConville||Newcastle AC||MO||00:17:58|
|3||Colm Murtagh||Newcastle AC||MO||00:18:09|
|15||Gary Cairns||Newcastle AC||M35||00:21:55|
|16||Stephen Graham||Newcastle AC||MO||00:22:05|
|19||Stephen Rice||Newcastle AC||M45||00:22:31|
|20||Sam McNeilly||Newcastle AC||FO||00:22:49|
|24||Declan Magee||Newcastle AC||M50||00:24:54|
The following morning the skies went dark and the clag came in as the 2016 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR started under stormy skies as torrential rain soaked the runners. On the stroke of 09:00, the runners departed the Newcastle and ran into Donard Park via the promenade entrance and then climbed the Granite Trail for a long and relentless climb. Things got less difficult as all of the major peaks followed before returning from the top of Donard to the finish in Donard Park. NAC had 7 athletes in the race with Carlin the best of the bunch in 17th, closely followed by Hodge in 19th. Needless to say McInerney, King and Wallace were in their element as the hours passed by – their motto: the longer and the tougher, the better. Even Wonderwall was forced to concede that they were mad!
Top 3 Men: 1st Germain Grangier (Team Garmin France) – 3:49:39, 2nd Roki Bratina (Team Salomon International) – 3:50:17, 3rd Chris Arthur (Bowland Fell Runners) – 3:55:16
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) – 4:30:02, 2nd Sarah Ridgway (Mercia Fell Runners) – 4:34:10, 3rd Katie Boden (North Leeds Fell Running Club) – 4:49:17
|Pos||Surname||Forename||Category||1 Don-Com Col||4 Fofanny||7 Meelmore||10 Donard||Finish|