Hill and Dale Meels race 9

As the Hill and Dale series draws close to the end it hasn’t deterred our hardy runners from turning out in great force . 13 mountain goats took to the start line this week for the ever popular Meels race which saw over two hundred descend on the Mournes for a Thursday night blowout.

Rónán Davison-Kernan,now sporting a BARF vest was first home for the club in 15 th place overall in 34.55 followed by Declan McGrellis 35.58, Jim Brown 36.21 which saw him take an age category win . Alan Ritchie was next in 39.39, Stephanie Pruzina 40.50, Trevor Wilson 44.44 closely edged Mark Pruzina who was 4 secs later in 44.48 , Andy Bridge 45.33, Gary Longridge 49.09, Clarke Campbell 50.16 ,Philip Ward 55.03, Ian McCullough 56.22 and Stephen Waterworth 59.40. Brilliant effort by everyone once again and super turnout folks. Arf! Arf!

26 Extreme Mourne Way 2019

Rostrevor and Newcastle were the startlines for our runners taking part in the 2019 Mourne Way races by 26 Extreme. Conditions on low lying trails were expected to be a little muddy due to monsoon season in Northern Ireland but it wouldn’t be enough to put off the BARF crew who are well used to harsh conditions and hills .

A very early start for Philip Ward in the Ultra which saw him make his way from Rostrevor to Newcastle then back again along the same route , a tough course but definitely an enjoyable one. Philip completed the 52 mile trail/mountain course in 13.08.19 and definitely earned a relaxing Saturday evening ,impressive running indeed.

The marathon would see runners start in Donard Park and follow the Mourne Way back to Rostrevor . Peter Thompson had another superb run and continued his fine form with a 3.53.13 and 6th overall . Dessie Green also took on this tough marathon and completed in another fine run of 5.23.47 . Denise O’Hagan (pic above) lined up for the marathon also and finished in a great 6.11.38 , she had a nice surprise en route also as Taryn and Pauline met her providing some great BARF support in the latter tough miles . A superb effort by all our runners under tough conditions on a testing course . Well done folks Arf ! Arf !

Loughshannagh Hill and Dale Race 8

Thursday night means Hill and Dale race day and as usual the club had a great turnout of 12 mountain runners ready to take on probably one of the toughest but most enjoyable races of the series . This year it started anti clockwise with Carn then down around the Lough climbing Doan then meandering the peat hags to Loughshannagh before crossing to Ott onto the finish .

Colin Pascoe was first home for the club and 20 th overall in 50.54, Rónán Davison-Kernan 51.49, Jim Brown 52.55, Declan McGrellis 53.11, Paddy Mallon 54.49, Stephanie Pruzina (above pic) 1.01.12 and first in her category , Trevor Wilson 1.05.24, Mark Pruzina 1.06.57, Andy Bridge 1.07.12 , Gary Longridge 1.13.34, Clarke Campbell 1.19.06 (pic below) and Stephen Waterworth 1.34.18.

Well done to all our runners again , great effort and display from the club and congratulations again to Stephanie on her category win . Arf ! Arf !

Cairncastle Classic NIMRA Race

The Glens of Antrim set the scene for Saturday’s NIMRA race, The Cairncastle Classic , a new route set in the scenic Glens of Antrim , a tough 10 miler with plenty of climbing and starting on Ballygally beach.

Alan Ritchie was home for the club first in 14th overall with Jim Brown , Gareth Boreland (below) , Jackie Toal (above) and Clarke Campbell all representing the club on the day .

Well done to everyone on the day ! Arf ! Arf !

pics by Hazel Mc Laughlin.

Hill and Dale Millstone Race

On Thursday evening 12 Barfers took to the hills from Donard Car Park to take on the latest race in the Hill and Dale series.

Colin Pascoe was first club member home in a fantastic 5th place overall and first in his age category finishing in 42.45 followed by Rónán Davison-Kernan in 47.51, Jim Brown 48.12, Declan McGrellis 48.17, Paddy Mallon 50.45, Stephanie Pruzina (pic above) 53.54, Trevor Wilson 56.29 ,Mark Pruzina 58.57 (pic below ), Gary Longridge 1.01.42, Andy Bridge 101.54, Philip Ward 1.02.47 and Clarke Campbell 1.09.36.

Well done to all our members on another great display on a tough fast mountain course . Next week sees the series head to Loughshannagh for the tough open mountain Loughshannagh Horseshoe. Arf ! Arf ! …….pics by P.Fegan and A.Shimmons

The Isle of Jura Fell Race

Congratulations to Declan McGrellis and Trevor Wilson who took on the tough Isle of Jura Fell Race over the weekend. The lads are no strangers to this race but it’s still a navigation day if the weather is bad and that was the case at the weekend meaning the compass was out .

The route takes in 7 summits over a testing 28 km of tough terrain with a total elevation of over 2370 metres taking in the Paps of Jura . Declan finished in 4.59.36 and Trevor in 6.12.04 .Well done lads ! Arf! Arf !

Podium for Pete

Last Wednesday evening Peter Thompson took to the roads at Bann 10 k in Banbridge. An event that grows year on year and attracts some stiff competition to the hilly road race .Pictured left above Peter finished the tough route in 36.55 got a well deserved 3rd place overall . Well done ! Arf! Arf!

Annalong Horseshoe Report

After 37 years of the annual Annalong Horseshoe Fell Race being run from the driveway at Dunnywater, the event moved to a new location at the nearby NI Water Silent Valley complex for this year’s running of the event. This necessitated a change to the traditional route, adding both distance and climb, but given the benefits of a building to act as race HQ, toilet facilities for all participants, omitting the increasing risks associated with the public road section and ample car parking.

The weather on race day was dull and overcast, cloud covering the majority of the peaks on the race route. Pre-race discussion was all about the second half of the race and the route to the finish, both additions to the old course.

67 nervous souls toed the start line for the 3 mile run along the tarmac access road to the first checkpoint and out onto the open mountain. A few were later to regret their attempt at a parkrun PB at this stage of the race. Timmy Johnson of Mourne Runners was straight into the lead, with Mark Stephens of Newcastle AC deciding to keep pace with him, not wanting to concede any advantage. Johnston reached the first checkpoint in the lead, with Stephens seconds behind. Onto the first climb to Lamagan summit and it was Stephens ever so slightly in front, Johnson right on his heels in second. Although the summits were shrouded in mist with very little visibility, few navigational mistakes were being made over the first section of the race.

Stephens continued to lead Johnston over Cove and Commedagh summits by only a few seconds but started to pull ahead by a minute at the top of Slieve Donard, the highest point on the race course. At the next checkpoint on Chimney Rock, Stephens had extended his advantage over Johnston to just over two minutes.

Behind the leading pair, a five-way battle for 3rd place was taking place. Neil Andrews of East Down was holding onto 3rd place, with Shane Lynch, Clive Bailey of Mourne Runners and cousins Stephens and William Shields in close proximity.

In the ladies race, Gillian Wasson had started off at a fast pace to be the leading lady over the first section of the race, but Ciara Largy had caught up by the 3rd checkpoint on Cove and gradually started to pull away. Ciara continued to add to her lead over the section from Chimney Rock to Binian, using her orienteering skills to good effect. Ciara held her advantage to finish as first lady in 23rd position overall, Gillian Wasson finishing second with a fast-finishing Lynne Spence holding off her Mourne Runners club mate Karalee Porter for third place.

From Chimney Rock, Stephens used his orienteering skills to his advantage, pulling away from Johnston in the mist. Johnston started feeling the strain on the ascent of Binian, giving up on the chase for second, stopping for 10 minutes to eat and drink the remaining contents within his rucksack before finishing the climb to the Binian checkpoint. Mark Stephens was first across the finish line in a very creditable time of 2:38, Timmy Johnston finishing in second place 14 minutes behind in 2:52.

Behind the leading pair, Andrews was holding 3rd place at Chimney Rock, a minute ahead of the four-person chasing pack behind. On the next leg to Binnian, former Mourne Mountain Marathon winner and ultra specialist Lynch used his endurance strength to pull away and draw slightly ahead of Andrews at the checkpoint, extending his lead on the rough downhill section to the finish by over three minutes, finishing in 2:57.

Meanwhile, behind the leading groups, plenty of drama was happening due to the poor visibility. One pair reached checkpoint 2 on Lamagan, promptly got lost on the way to checkpoint 3, ended up back at the bottom of Lamagan, at the point which they had started their climb, then went to the last checkpoint on Binian, before jogged into the finish. Another runner reached checkpoint 4 on Commedagh, only to get lost on the way to the Donard Commedagh saddle, ending up in Newcastle and cadging a lift back to the finish in Silent Valley. The various route choices from Chimney Rock to Binnian and then to the finish line provided plenty of discussion at the finish.

Ciara Largy’s achievement in winning the ladies race deserves special mention as it means that Ciara now has the distinction of holding the Ladies course records for both the old course and the new course at the same time.

After ‘retiring’ from mountain running, former multiple British Veteran Fell Running champion Jim Patterson made a welcome return to racing again. Even at the age of 72, over half the field was behind him at the finish, as he finished in 30th place overall, winning the MV60 age category. In no way was Jim decision to race prejudiced by the race organisers offer of a free race entry to over 65’s!

We also had a visitor from London taking part in his first Northern Ireland mountain race, his local training ground being Richmond Park, which certainly contains none of the terrain that he faced on Binnian today!

At the finish, all runners enjoyed the post-race refreshments provided by the B.A.R.F. hosts. Prizes were distributed by B.A.R.F. member Ian Taylor, in his position as President of NI Athletics. Ian has completed 33 of the 38 Annalong Horseshoe races held to date, unfortunately having to miss this year’s event due to injury.

Many thanks to all who participated, organised and assisted in the race. Special thanks to NI Water for permitting the use of the Silent Valley complex for our use.

Rocky vs BARF

This weeks Hill and Dale race was Rocky Mountain starting in Leitrim Lodge . 11 hardy BARF runners lined up to take the loop race with a fast descent back to the finish . First home for the club was Colin Pascoe in 37.02 and 13 th overall .

Rónán Davison-Kernan finished in 40.12, Jim Brown 41.31,Paddy Mallon 43.03,Stephanie Pruzina 46.16,Andy Bridge 49.25, Mark Pruzina 49.58, Trevor Wilson 50.36 , Phil Ward 52.59, Gary Longridge 53.32 and Stephen Waterworth 1.05.

A great summers evening running by all and superb effort on a great course with over two hundred taking part …pics by P Fegan ……well done Barfers ! Arf ! Arf !