Junior Home Country Mountain Running Championships 2017:
On Saturday 16th September 2017, a junior mountain running team from Northern Ireland were in action on the tough slopes of Cademuir Hill, above Peebles in Scotland, as part of the fiercely contested Junior Home Country Mountain Running Championships.
The junior stars, representing the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA), battled against teams from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales in Under 17 and Under 20 age categories.
First off for Northern Ireland were the Under 17 Men. As they lined up nervously looking skyward to towards the notorious Cademuir roller-coaster a lone piper opened proceedings. The undulating course covered 5.8k with 321 metres of ascent – with the recent heavy rain the going was soft to firm. Conall McClean led the way for Northern Ireland with a battling 28:23 to finish in 16th place. Next to finish in quick succession were Jamie Anthony in 30:21 (24th place), Callum McCabe 30:28 (25th place) and running for St Colmans, Miceal McCaul in 30:31 (26th place). In 28th place was a determined Tony McCambridge who only recently came out of plaster following a fractured foot finished in 31:27
Over the same course it was the turn of the Under 20 Ladies. Lagan Valley AC’s Leila Ponziani was to the fore for Northern Ireland, pulling away strongly from a trio of Team Ireland runners to finish in 16th place in 34:27. She was ably supported by Molly Brennan who found herself in her own private tussle with the same trio of runners to finish in 20th place in 36:14
Finally, it was the turn of the Under 20 Men – they would run the far loop of the 5.8k course twice with the distinct privilege of ascending the steep 127m climb to the ancient fort at the summit of Cademuir Hill on both occasions. Oisin Brennan found himself renewing acquaintances with Team Ireland colleagues from the recent Under 20 World Championships and finished in 20th place in 40:06. Ethan Dunn battled his way over the toughest of courses to finish in 24th place in 44:58. Team Northern Ireland scoring was completed by Tom Magee bravely fighting the undulations to finish 25th place in 45:56.