The sun was shining in Donegal last Saturday for the Seven Sisters Skyline race, a 52k mountain run starting at the foot of Mount Errigal and part of the UK-Ireland National Skyrunning Series.
Nearly 180 competitors set out early on a bright, sunny morning to the start line near the village of Dunlewey. The out and back course took in all seven peaks of the Derryveagh Mountains with all but the highest peak, Mount Errigal, being covered twice. With sections called ‘Bridge of Tears’ and ‘Heart Attack Hill’ this was never going to be an easy day out. The competitors had to contend with everything from soft, heathery bog and open mountain to rock and scree, often having to scramble on hands and knees over the loose stone. The 4000 metres of climbing and tough terrain was made even more difficult by the heat on the day. Not the usual conditions expected for the Donegal mountains.
The first competitor to cross the finish line was Shaun Stewart who completed the 52k in 7:11:13. Grant Mackellar came in 2nd in 7:52:20 followed closely by Aidan McMoreland in 7:52:15.
In the women’s race, Laura O’Driscoll took first place in a time of 8:22:43, Ellen Vitting took 2nd place in 8:39:08 with Karalee McBride rounding out the top three in 9:09:32.
Ballydrain Harriers was ably represented by Alison Stocks. Alison had put in months of training and looked very strong throughout the day. She finished in a very creditable sixth position in a time of 10:34:44. A fantastic finish on an extremely tough course, made even tougher by the heat. Congratulations Alison on a tremendous result.
Club members Ben Stocks, Debbie Mingout and Naomi Montgomery had also been training over the past few months to take part in the 27k Sky Challenge that was to have run alongside the main race. Unfortunately, due to Covid 19 restrictions their race had to be cancelled at short notice. This did not deter Ben, Debbie and Naomi who used their training to run some of the course and encourage Alison as she made her way over the tough mountain course. Well done to the support crew. #allrunnersareawesome.