On Saturday 14th April 2018, hundreds of athletes descended on the County Down town of Newcastle for the opening round of the British Fell Running Championships, the Mourne Highline Mountain Race.
The Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) event was won by Joshua Jardine (Helm Hill) and Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC). A summary and results are available HERE.
As part of the event, NIMRA hosted their own Junior Championships, which was also used as a trial race for several up and coming international races.
NIMRA Junior Co-Ordinator Phil Hodge provided us with the follow summary and results for the NIMRA Junior Championships.
NIMRA Junior Championship and Trial Race 2018 (by Phil Hodge):
No sunshine this year for the Junior athletes who arrived on Saturday (14th April 2018) morning to compete in the NIMRA Junior Mountain Running Championship. Thankfully they didn’t have to contend with the poor visibility that the seniors enjoyed on the Highline.
The route for this year’s trial, used the Donard Trial Race. Following the cobbles up the side of the Glen river they headed left along the forest paths. A short sharp descent through the pine needles, deposited the runners on the lower path, so that every step of the Granite Steps could be enjoyed before arriving at the quarry.
Jared Martin, had a lead of 32 seconds at this point, which was never under threat throughout the race. Second place to fourth were split by 25 seconds at this point, with the girls arriving in 5th – 7th overall.
From here the runners descend from the quarry, to run along the back of the forest, before attacking the short, sharp tarmac road to the quarry.
Travelling around the mast, led to a tricky descent down the firebreak, where runners had to keep focus to avoid slipping in the mud. Second placed female, Leila Ponziani, was so focused on her footwork, that she detoured into the forest, getting completely disorientated. It speaks volumes of her descending ability, that she was able to get back to within 10 seconds of the winner by the finish!
From here the runners follow the main forest tracks to the Shepherds lodge, where they turn and follow a singletrack along the river, leading to the path at the back of Tullybrannigan, before exiting into Donard Park and the finish.
Jared Martin had built a comfortable lead of almost 2 and a half minutes, with Gareth Campbell and Jack Moore split by only 17 seconds in 2nd and 3rd.
The girls podium were split by only 36 seconds, placing 6th to 8th overall, with Grace Carson taking a fantastic win, followed by Leila Ponziani and Sorcha Mullan in third.
Full Results: NIMRA Junior Championships 2018 Results
… and Thank you!
A massive thank-you goes out the marshals, Colin, Simon, PJ, Sarah, Neil, Alan and sweeper David. A particular thank-you goes to Gareth McKeown who spent hours on Friday marking the course.
Thanks also to the Steele family for the use of the trailer for registration.
Hilltrekker and Niki’s Kitchen Café supplied the prizes – we were very grateful for their generosity.
Information regarding Team selection will be posted this week.