Shimmons shoots down Bigfoot !

Last week Aaron Shimmons travelled to the USA to take on one of its iconic 200 mile races , The Bigfoot 200 , 206.5 miles with over 42000 feet in ascent .

The race route would take him from Mount St.Helens traversing the Cascade mountain range of Washington State eventually finishing in Randle . Those of us that know Aaron have seen how hard he has worked towards this race and that hard work paid off for certain. From the start of the race Aaron maintained a steady pace and held a top 10 position throughout the race in a very competitive field . Weather conditions on the Friday and Saturday produced heavy rain and thunder storms which added to the gruelling race but his experience in the mountains and of past races almost certainly gave him the edge he needed .

Choosing his well earned and coveted finishers buckle

With 200 starters in the race the finish rate was a mere 65% which in itself aludes to the difficulty of these races and distance . Aaron finished in a superb 72 hours 44 mins for a magnificent 8th place overall , 7th male and 3rd in the vet40 category.

Definitely a performance to be proud of Aaron and from all your Barf teammates, bloody well done hi ! Arf ! Arf !

Weekend Round up !

We had a lot of athletes taking part in races this weekend throughout the world . The Seven Sevens in The Mournes saw Alan Ritchie storm to a top 10 finish in 9th place overall with a time of 4.58.13 as he continues to improve in the mountains weekly . Rónán Davison-Kernan was next home in 5.11.04 followed by Brian Linton 6.31.53, Mark Robson 9.01.31 and Ian Taylor 10.25.11. Well done to them all on a challenging day weather wise on a seriously tough course .

Rónán finishing the Sevens , pic J.Brown

Also on Saturday Denise O’Hagan and Pauline O’Hara travelled to the Glens of Antrim to take part in the famous Lurig Challenge Run with both tackling the serious descent with ease and finishing under an hour .

Denise and Pauline at Lurig .

Further afield Trevor Wilson took on the Zierre Zinal race in the Swiss Alps , a well known race throughout the mountain running world and now part of The Golden Trail Series .

Trevor at the finish line of the iconic Zierre Zinal !

Well done once again folks ! Arf ! Arf!

Mourne Seven Sevens Race 2019 – Final Instructions

Phone Number – 07845 659503
Give your Name and Entry Number in all messages
In an emergency dial 999 ask for Police then Mountain Rescue

BARF welcomes you to the Mourne Seven Sevens Race. This event is run under FRA and NIMRA rules for fell races and is a NIMRA Championship event categorised as A-Long – Minimum age 18 years old. To compete in the race you must be an experienced fell runner and be fit enough for the distance, climb and terrain involved. The exact route is not fixed and is not way-marked at any stage. Navigational skills will be required, especially if weather conditions are poor so participants must have the ability and experience to use both map and compass. (Navigation using only a smartphone app is not allowed).

Registration opens on Saturday morning at 08:45 and closes at 09:40 at the north end of the playing field beside Donard car park in Newcastle. The car park is free but parking may be limited due to other events. Please car share if possible and allow time to find parking nearby. 

You will need to fill out a FRA Race Registration form with details of your car registration and emergency contact info etc.

You will be given a set of green plastic tabs and one small white tab with your entry number on each of them. For convenience they will be held together on a string. You will also receive an electronic timing chip (aka dibber) which will be fastened to your wrist. Please look after this as you will be charged £30 if you lose it.

Timing Chip (dibber)

The Start  – of the race is in the playing field at 10:00am sharp.

There will be a funnel into the Start Pen and ALL RUNNERS WILL BE GEAR CHECKED. We will also activate your Dibber at this point.

At each summit you will find an electronic SI Control Box on a post with an orange and white flag. Insert your dibber into the hole in the SI box and wait till you hear a beep. The dibber will now have recorded the time you arrived at the top. (Click here for more info on the timing system). There are five marshalled positions along the route in the cols between summits and at Ben Crom dam. Remove one green plastic tab from the string and hand it to the marshal at each of these positions.

At the Finish, hand in your dibber and the last (white) plastic tab. You will receive a print out of your progress around the route with split times for each summit. The white plastic tab is our way of checking that you are off the hills, so even if you fail to complete the walk please make sure that you come to see us at the finish and hand in any remaining tabs and the dibber.

Light refreshments and showers will be available from 12:00. Please bring a cup so we can reduce waste.

Finishers’ times will be streamed live to http://lvo.org.uk/liveresults throughout the day. We will also have live data from several checkpoints around the course which we will publish snapshots of onto Facebook page through the day so your friends and family can monitor your progress.
Route: The route is anti-clockwise around each of the seven summits which must be visited in the order stipulated below plus the marshalled checkpoints (denoted MCP below). N.B. The Controls on Commedagh and Meelmore are now at the Summit Cairns and not at the Shelter Towers on the wall.

Cut-off time: There are cut-off times of 12.00 at Donard-Commedagh Col and of 2:30pm at Ben Crom Dam. This is to ensure runners complete the route before dark. Runners missing either cut-off will be retired from the race and should return directly to Donard Park. N.B. Retirements are marked RTD on the results with no times.  

In the event of extreme weather conditions the route may be altered on the day. Marshalled Check Points may have to be moved for their safety but Control Boxes will remain in place.

Retirees at any stage of the event must report as soon as possible to a marshal or via text to base and return directly to Donard Park to register that they are safely off the mountains and to return their dibber and tags.

The Mourne Rambler Bus (Service 405) does a loop of the eastern Mournes every couple of hours. See https://www.translink.co.uk/timetables for info.  

Equipment, food and water: The event is not supported along the route. Participants must carry minimum MANDATORY kit listed below:

  • Trail shoes or fell shoes (no trainers)
  • Waterproof coat with hood  &  waterproof trousers
  • Hat & gloves
  • Foil space blanket (a foil bag better)
  • Map of the course, compass & whistle
  • Emergency rations

Please be aware that for long sections of the course there is no water so plan accordingly

These items are required regardless of the weather forecast as mountain conditions can change dramatically with very little warning. 

Leave No Trace – This event subscribes to the LNT ethos and the NI Countryside Code: – Use stiles to cross fences and walls, leave gates as you find them and please bring ALL your rubbish home.

BARF members putting back into the hills .

On Tuesday BARF runners Conor McKernon and Geoff Smyth (pictured below on new trail) were on the hills but this time they were working with the Mourne Heritage Trust helping to construct a new trail above Ben Crom reservoir to replace the old trail which is suffering from erosion . This was Geoff’s first time time but Conor has been helping out for a while now and also helps with the National Trust repair team on occasions .

Later in the week Denise O’Hagan, Pauline O’Hara ,Dawson Stelfox and Vincent Mc Alinden we’re invited to join a group on Donard including Mountaineering Ireland ,National Trust and the Mourne Heritage Trust to discuss and give input on a range of issues from path repair , wall repair , erosion ,event management, land ownership and a host of other topics. No doubt the various organisations benefited from having such an experienced group of Barf members at their disposal for the day . Well done on both days folks , great to see the club being represented in these ways Arf!Arf!

Seven Sisters 50k and 26 k

The Derryveagh mountains in Donegal provided the setting for some serious mountain running at the weekend with the UK and Ireland Skyrunner Series coming to town. Saturday saw the 26 k take place with over 2000 metres climbing .

Clarke Campbell (above) took on the 26k on the Saturday finishing in 7.09.42 and remarked at how brutally tough but enjoyable the course was .

On Sunday it was the turn of the 50 k with a gruesome 4000 metres plus of climbing it would certainly put our Barfers to the test . Richard Wilson (above) completed the race in 13.04.05 and Alan Ritchie (below) came home 18th male ,19 th overall in a very strong field he ran an impressive 8.55.17 .

Well done to all three on a testing course but definitely an enjoyable one from all reports , will definitely be on the radar of a few more from the club next year . Arf ! Arf !

BARF training schedule for August

Just like to put meeting time and venues from August. The 8th Divis carpark at 6.30- The 15th at 6.30 at Shaws Brigde carpark at 6.30. The 22nd at Redburn carpark beside nursing home, as per last year. Last session each month will be more speed focused meeting at Ozone carpark 6.30pm on 29th.

Anyone wishing to try a session or two before joining the club is welcome to attend , just make yourself known beforehand if possible .

BARF battles the Giant !

On Friday evening The Giant’s Trail Race 2019 took place in Belfast. The route takes in some of the most scenic trails in Belfast with a few hills thrown in for fun .

Three of our members took this race on in sticky heat , Denise O’Hagan completed the course in 1.03.07 with Pauline O’Hara following in 1.07.45 for the tough 6 mile course .

Rónán Davison-Kernan also took on the Giant and finished in 42.20 for a superb 29th place overall in a highly competitive field . Well done folks Arf ! Arf !

Andorra joy for Jackie !

Congratulations to BARF ultra athlete Jackie Toal who has just finished in the top ten at the notoriously tough Ronda dels Cims race in Andorra. Taking in over 13500 metres of elevation gain over a distance of 170 km Jackie completed the course in a superb 51 hours for 7th lady in this highly competitive race . Well done Jackie .Arf ! Arf !

Shimmons shines in Mourne 500 challenge!

On Saturday morning Aaron Shimmons took on the Mourne 500. A gruelling route around the Mourne Mountains taking in all 39 summits over 500 metres in height, over 60 km in distance, and total elevation gain of 5000 metres. It also has to be completely unsupported and everything needed has to be carried by the challenger. Aaron completed the route in 12 hours 38 minutes breaking the previous record held by Billy Reed of 13.10. His route choice took him to a distance of 62.5 k in what was superb run. Aaron’s local knowledge definitely proving beneficial as he prepares for even bigger challenges ahead!

Well done Arf! Arf!

Silent Valley from Ben Crom