NIMRA Mourne Highline Mountain Race 2018:
Joshua Jardine (Helm Hill) and Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) starred as the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) hosted the first ever running of the Mourne Highline Mountain Race, a course designed especially for the Northern Ireland leg of British Fell Running Championships (Saturday 14th April 2018).
The eyes of the British and Irish fell running communities were on Northern Ireland with this being Round 1 of the aforementioned Championships – but in truth, everyone struggled to see anything, with the thick fog which covered most of the 15k route (incorporating 1300m of ascent).
After claiming third place on his last visit to the Mourne Mountains, much was expected of Joshua Jardine and he delivered, with some style. The Under 23 British Champion made short work of the tough course and defied the poor conditions as he move through the field in the second half of the race to win in an impressive 1:35:02 (1st place).
2016 British Championship winner Rhys Findlay-Robinson (Dark Peak Fell Runners) followed less than a minute later to secure the runners up spot in 1:35:41 (2nd place). Just behind was Under 23 athlete Jack Wood of Ilkley Runners, who recorded 1:36:43 for 3rd place.
In the race for local honours, a fast descent off Slieve Commedagh from previous British Championship (NI) round winner Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) saw him pass rising star Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) in the closing stages; the Spartan athlete claimed 1:41:07 place in 19th place. Zak crossed the line in 1:41:27 for 21st place.
In the ladies race, former Skyrunning Xtreme World Series Champion Jasmin Paris returned to competitive action in fine fashion. Cheered on by her husband Konrad and 5-month old daughter Rowan, the Carnethy HRC athlete blasted to victory, leading from start to finish, to win in 1:51:49 (1st place).
Another of the pre-race favourites, in-form Caitlin Rice (Ribble Valley Harriers) secured 2nd place. Caitlin covered the Spelga Dam to Donard Park route in 1:55:39, finishing just ahead of Eryri Harriers hot prospect Bronwen Jenkinson, who completed the top three in 1:58:56 (3rd place).
Like the men’s event, the battle for the first local finisher in the ladies race was a close affair, with Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017 winner Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) edging out emerging star Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners). Shileen crossed the line in 2:04:53 for 6th place, with Sarah following in 2:06:25 (7th place).
In the associated junior race, Jared Martin (Scrabo Striders) and Grace Carson (Mid Ulster AC) led their respective field home!
Full Results: NIMRA Mourne Highline Mountain Race 2018 Results