Christmas Off-Road Running Report

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Report by Hill Runner

Turkey Trot 2019

Christmas is normally a time for people to take it easy, eat and drink plenty and to put the feet up for a while. When most folk were busy doing this, the local running fraternity were gearing up for a week of off road running which sees three very popular races taking place. Boxing Day started it off with the Turkey Trot mountain race followed by the infamous pairs race (see separate Cracker report) on Saturday 28th and ringing in the new year we had Race Over The Glens in Co. Antrim on New Year’s Day.

Boxing Day dawned doom and gloomy after heavy overnight rain fell forcing organisers to cut the course short avoiding the open mountain section, much to the annoyance of some of the hardier mountain folk! The route followed fire roads through Tollymore Forest to the Trassey Track, which was like a river in places, with several knee deep icy cold crossings to be made. Staying on the Trassey, runners headed for The Hares Gap, where three hardy marshals stood guarding the dibber control ensuring it wasn’t going to be blown off the mountain. This was the halfway point and a very wet, slippery and mucky descent followed before returning along the Trassey back to the mountain centre.

A ferocious pace was set from the start on the fast and twisty fire roads and a small group of 3 broke away consisting of Carnethy’s Eoin Lennon, NAC’s Seamus Lynch and LVO’s Paul Pruzina. With the open mountain section now closed 2018 winner Lynch was at a disadvantage and at the turning point it was Lennon leading by a minute with Pruzina following and Lynch not far behind. Further back, Newcastle’s Gary McEvoy was having an excellent race and at the turning point he was inside the top 20, a courageous descent seen him picking off another four runners keeping them at bay all the way home.

By the time the finish line was in sight Lennon had held his lead to win in 50:37, Lynch moved to 2nd in 50:48 and Pruzina 3rd in 51:37. McEvoy held off Mourne Runners’ Dale Mathers to take 14th in 1:03:48. Other NAC men Pete Grant finished 20th in 1:07:33 and David Hicks, back running again after missing a year due to injury was 23rd in 1:09:06. The ladies race was won by Dark Peak’s Megan Wilson in a time of 1:05:02.

A big thank you must go out to organisers BARF, it takes a lot of commitment from people to host this event every year, prize giving was in Tollymore Mountain Centre where the usual spread of goodies and prizes was had along with a bit of craic and banter ending what was another excellent days racing.

Race Over The Glens

New Year’s Day saw the action head North to Glenariff forest for the annual ROTG. Conditions on the day were dry, if a little chilly,

along with the occasional strong gust of wind to blow you along the 6 mile route. The course had a slight change from last year but still included all of the big climbs and fast descents as it winds its way along the fire roads before coming to the famous waterfall and the dreaded steps that bring you to the finish line. King of the Glens, for the 4th year in a row, was NAC’s Zak Hanna, having a large lead throughout, he stormed home in 33:22 followed by Glens Runners’ Jonny Steed in 35:21 and Ballydrain’s Jared Martin in 36:17. Also flying the flag for NAC were David Hicks, 39th in 42:03 and June McMinn, 48th In 55:43 and 2nd F60.

See you all in the mountains in 2020.