With races being cancelled all over the place, mountain runners were bracing themselves for the worst, alas, it was not to be and the good news was that race 1 of the NIMRA Championship, Glenariffe, would go ahead, albeit without any prize giving or tae and sandwiches afterwards.
This is a category short race in the NIMRA Championship and is approximately 6 mile on an out and back course. A new registration venue caused a slight course change which avoided the road section, crossing a few fields and down a lane that took competitors back onto the river path. Leading out the runners was Newcastle AC’s Seamus Lynch and Mourne Runners’ Johnny Scott, once onto the open mountain section Lynch showed his climbing ability having a 1 min lead at the top before a devastating descent put him well out in the lead. The rest of the field swapped places as everyone fought for grip on the steep mountain side.
In the ladies race it was Newry AC’s Esther Dickson who dominated, showing many a good fell runner a clean pair of heels on the descent.
At the end of the track back along the river it was Lynch well in the lead making it his 4th win here and 3rd in a row in 44:20, Scott held his position for 2nd in 46:32 closely followed by Mourne Runners’ Adam Cunningham in 46:55. Making the top ten for NAC were David Hicks in 7th place in 48:37 and Gary McEvoy 9th in 50:06. Also running for NAC was Stevie Rice finishing in 59:53 for 36th place. The ladies race was won by Dickson for the 4th time in a row in 52:39 followed by Mourne Runners’ Karalee McBride In 55:52 and 3rd was Ballydrain Harriers’ Alison Stocks In 58:55.
The silly boy award this week went to Hicks who very nearly didn’t get entering the race and then turned up without his mandatory kit bag! His only excuse being, “I’m just getting back into the swing of things,”a quick scramble around the start area saw him beg and borrow enough gear to be allowed to go ahead thankfully. A big thanks has to go to our driver today, Ciara Coffey, who finished 7th in 1:02:36, and co pilot Dickson. With these two women at the helm what could possibly go wrong? All I can say is that it’s a good job it wasn’t foggy up there today!
With all the uncertainty about future races over the coming weeks keep an eye on the NIMRA web page before travelling.
By Hill Runner.