Turkey Trot 2020 CANCELLED

Unfortunately we will not be organizing the Turkey Trot this year due to the ongoing uncertainties regarding Covid 19. At the time of writing (early November) it looks like the situation will not be improving any time soon so there is no point putting the effort into organizing a race in such circumstances. 

A gaggle of Turkey Trotters 2008

We, the Turkey Trot organizers would like to express our condolences to the family circle of Chris Smith who lost his life while running in the Scottish Highlands last week. Chris won the Turkey Trot in 2008 and 2012 and would appear every second year when he spent the Christmas period in Northern Ireland, apart from 2010 when the race was cancelled due to snow. His last appearance was in 2014 when he finished second after an epic battle with Shamus Lynch. He was an exceptional runner especially on continental type courses where he represented GB on a number of occasions. He ran for Thames Valley Harriers and there is an interesting Athletics Weekly article from 2014 where he talked about his training techniques for the mountains while living nowhere near them. These techniques obviously worked for he had some great results including winning the Snowdon International race. A nice guy and a very sad loss.

2008: 1st Chris Smith ( 835), 2nd Matt Williomson (822), 3rd Eddy Hanna (854),
Steve Cunningham (794) 5th Jonny Steede (814).

Jim Brown.

Rankin success for Rónán

Congratulations to our rock climbing and mountain runner Rónán Davison-Kernan who successfully completed The Denis Rankin Round , 90km and over 6000 metres elevation through tough terrain in the Mourne Mountains, at the weekend .

Taking on the 39 tops his dedication to learning the round and his helping others previously gave him the experience needed to get round in an impressive 19 hours 56 mins on a tricky day weather wise and underfoot . Well done Arf Arf !

Rónán smiling his way round on Saturday

More on this challenge can be found here

Top 5 for Alan in Wicklow

With the seven sisters 25k being cancelled on Saturday Alan Ritchie turned his attention to Drumgoff Mountain race in Wicklow .

Alan (left) at Drumgoff Mountain race

Alan went out with the front runners and had a strong race coming home in 1 hour 35 mins for a super 5 th place . Well done and great to see the purple vest on tour! Arf ! Arf !

Joy in Donegal for our athletes !

Last Saturday morning bright and early saw some of our eager mountain goats get to finally race again . The setting was the stunning Derryveagh Mountains in Donegal . The race was the Seven Sisters Skyline 50 k , a gruelling race with over 4000 metres elevation in these tough mountains .

Jackie Toal looking strong on the climbs . Pic by Rory O’Donnell

In the ladies race the ever consistent Jackie Toal finished in a great 8th place in 11.09 . The men’s race saw Colin Pascoe home in a super 20 th place in 9.09 followed shortly after by Glen Blake , Philip Ward and Richard Wilson in what was a tough day out in the heat .

Well done to all representatives of the club and great to see you finally racing again ! Arf ! Arf !

Rankin joy for Glen

In the early hours of Sunday morning BARF athlete Glen Blake set off on his challenge , The Denis Rankin Round , which would see him take on 90 km in distance and around 6500 metres in elevation covering all peaks in the Mourne Mountains over 400 metres .

Glen under the arch at the finish .

A gruelling challenge lay ahead but Glen stormed round in 19 hours 26 mins finishing way ahead of the 24 hour cut off for completing this round, running the entire route on his own he only received food and water at the road crossings .

A very well done from all at BARF as we add another member to the list of completions ! Arf Arf !

More information on the round can be found here http://www.denisrankinround.com

BARF helping hand in clean up !

This morning bright and early two of our members Susan Lambe and Geoff Smyth joined a group of 17 fellow mountain enthusiasts organised by Joanne McCauley for a litter pick on various areas of the Mournes heading out from base at Meelmore Lodge. Teams went in all directions and covered a lot of ground on the hills and surrounding roads and car parks , The team managed to fill an entire industrial euro bin with rubbish . Well done to all involved . Our new environmental officer Pauline O’Hara is also working hard in the background and liaising with various bodies involved in protecting our precious hills so you can expect to see more BARF representation working on the hills in years to come to make it a great place to come and visit . Arf ! Arf !

Susan Lambe (left) Geoff Smyth (right) pictured after the clean up with organiser Joanne McCauley with her daughter Meadow and Alan Woodcroft from Mourne Heritage Trust .

Runner profile !

Next up is Pauline O’Hara for our runner/climber profiles .

I’m originally from Coleraine, did a PE degree at Jordanstown and have lived and worked in the Newcastle area as an outdoor instructor for over 30 years. I took early retirement a couple of years ago and started a small tour guide business introducing people to the history and beauty of the Mourne area. I first joined BARF in 1993.


1. How did you get into this sport? I got into fell running as an extension of my hillwalking, climbing and orienteering exploits and as I was working with the original inventors of the Hill and Dale series it was easy to get started.
2. Favourite local race ? Favourite local race is Lurig. The climb and descent is so different from most races, lots of fun and the support of the locals is fantastic.
3. Favourite mountain ? Mera.
4. Favourite moment in running? Finishing 1st lady and 13th overall at Loughshannagh Horseshoe in 2007.
Favourite moment in climbing ? Soloing White Walls for the first time.
5. What’s your diet like ? Diet is great. Love savoury. Don’t have a sweet tooth.
6. Funniest moment in running? Finishing 1st lady and 13th overall at Loughshannagh Horseshoe in 2007.
Funniest moment in climbing? Getting stuck on a crag on Hen Mountain with Vince.
7. Other activities ? Hillwalking, camping,mountain biking.
8. What race or mountain would you like to complete in the future ? Would love to do the Everest Marathon and climb Aonach Eagach
9. How did you end up at BARF ? I Joined BARF after my very first Hill and Dale race when I was accosted by Mark Pruzina in the pub…..they weren’t so fussy then!
10. Favourite music or album ? Kathy Mattea. Ready for the Storm.

Runner profile !

With the suspension of all activities we will take this time to get to know our runners and climbers . First up is Mark Hopkins a 46 yr old Information Security Consultant or in his words ‘professional geek’ . He started running in 1999 with Ballydrain Harriers then North Down before joining the prestigious B.A.R.F .

How did you get into mountain running/climbing? Through my dad , he was orienteering and doing mountain marathons also the Hill and Dale races in the 90’s. I was running a bit for training with Ju Jitsu and was talked into my first race at Castlewellan Hill and Dale in 1999.

What’s your favourite local race? Probably Slieve Bearnagh as it’s 3 summits in 4 miles and brutal and sustained eyeballs out the whole way .

Favourite mountain? Slieve Commedagh

What’s been your favourite moment in running? Finishing Ben Nevis race or Pilgrims challenge, a two day ultra in England .

What’s your diet like? Could be better…..I have a very sweet tooth.

Funniest moment in running or climbing? Funny for my climbing friends but not for me , swinging from the end of a rope at Muckcross Head .

What other activities do you enjoy? Skateboarding, snowboarding, cycling, swimming, video games and going to live music gigs .

What’s the one race you want to do in future or mountain to climb ? I would like to complete the Rankin round and also tick off more Munroes.

How did you end up with the motley crue that is Barf ? I was nagged into joining by Mark Pruzina.

Favourite music album and why ? Impossible to narrow it down but Prong ‘ Umleashed in the West Live in Berlin’ gets rolled out quiet a lot .

Peter’s Travels

Barf athlete Peter Thompson and his family are currently embarking on a tour of Europe and beyond in their van and in typical Barf fashion Peter is finding races as he goes .

Last weekend he took part in the Katerini half marathon in Greece coming home in a very strong 1.25 . Well done Arf ! Arf !