Commedagh Chase Mountain Race 2017:
On Saturday 30th September 2017, a host of Northern Ireland’s top mountain runners descended on the Mourne Mountains for the final race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Championships, and the penultimate race of the mountain running season, the Commedagh Chase.
The event, hosted by Mourne Runners, covered a 13k course starting and finishing on the Trassey Track. The runners initially made their way towards Hare’s Gap – from here, they took the ridge to the top of Commedagh which included Slievenaglogh and Slieve Corragh. At the top of Commedagh, the athletes retraced their steps along the ridge over Slieve Corragh and Slievenaglogh. On the return route, the course did not go towards Hare’s Gap but instead, took the stile halfway down Slievenaglogh and from there it was a straight out downhill sprint to the finish at the bottom of the Trassey Track.
Quality fields in both the male and female competitions ensured an excellent race. In the men’s event, Newcastle AC club mates and international mountain runners Ian Bailey and Seamus Lynch went head to head and this battle for top spot ultimately brought a new course record, with previous Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR Champion Ian running out victorious in 57:46 (1st place). The always impressive Seamus followed less than a minute later in 58:22 (2nd place), while Timothy Johnston (Mourne Runners) edged out Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC) for 3rd place – Timothy crossed the line in 1:02:32, with Colm following in 1:02:39 (4th place).
Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) topped the ladies podium, but the respected international athlete had to work hard for the win. North Belfast Harriers’ Martsje Hell pushed Shileen for a large part of the race, but the Lagan Valley AC runner moved clear on the descent off Commedagh. Shileen extended her lead rapidly on the race downhill to the finish line, breaking the tape in 1:15:36 for 1st place. Martsje secured 2nd place in 1:20:03, with the always impressive Bethany Haugh (Mourne Runners) completing the top three in 1:20:28 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) – 57:46, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 58:22, 3rd Timothy Johnston (Mourne Runners) -1:02:32
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 1:15:36, 2nd Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers) – 1:20:03, 3rd Bethany Haugh (Mourne Runners) – 1:20:28
Full Results: Commedagh Chase 2017 Results (Photo by Judith Robinson)