Monthly Archives: May 2019

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 !

Donard Hill and Dales race

Newcastle town centre was the start line for Saturdays annual Slieve Donard race with our largest mountain looking down on the eager runners about to tackle the tough climb to the summit and fast lung busting descent again back to Donard Park.

Rónán Davison-Kernan (below ) was first of our 8 BARF mountain goats home in 1.12.47 followed by Alan Ritchie 1.14.30 ,Paddy Mallon 1.21.58,Andy Bridge 1.30.24,Trevor Wilson 1.34.01,Kathleen Monteverde 1.42.18 which saw her first in her category with a strong performance(bottom pic ),Philip Ward 1.57.18 and Ian Taylor 2.17.50.

Strong running once again from all our club members in what is a very stern test but highly enjoyable race . Photos can be found at the link below

https://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastleac/sets/72157705052139932 (Paul Fegan)

Waterville Win for Ritchie

Alan Ritchie made use of the bank holiday weekend to head to Kerry to take part in the Waterville Trail Running Festival, a multi stage race of 129.6 km and total elevation of 3720 metres taking in some of the Kerry Way with each stage consisting of 43.2 km and over 1000 metres per day over the 3 days .

Day 1 saw the runners head anti-clockwise and saw Alan finish in 5.22.11, day 2 was clockwise and he ran even quicker in 5.15.16 but there was better to come . Day 3 and anti-clockwise again he ran his quickest day in 5.14.22 finishing overall winner of the multi stage event and over an hour in front of second place . A perfectly paced weekend of running from Alan as he prepares to take on the West Highland Way shortly . Well done ! Arf ! Arf !

Belfast Marathon 2019

Sunday 5th May saw a new course lined up for the 2019 Belfast Marathon and our 9 BARF runners on the day . As is now well publicised there were a few teething problems but it didn’t deter our runners from putting in a strong run on the day though it did put pay to the group photo that had been organised for pre race .

Glen Blake (above)was first home for the club in a superb 3.11.54 followed closely by Aaron Shimmons 3.12.02 and Peter Thompson 3.12.04 ( pic below)

Declan Mc Grellis managed to shake off some cramping to be home next in a strong

3.25.38 followed seconds later by Gerry Kingston (Pics below ) 3.25.49.

Paddy Mallon had a great run in 3.42.02 with Dessie Green arriving across the line minutes later in 3.45.07. (Pics below)

Andrew Harvey was in next in 4.33.02 followed by Philip Ward who dressed as a minion for the day and

ran with the other minions at East Antrim Marathon Serires to put on a great spectacle. Well done to all our runners Arf ! Arf !

BARF blitz Binnian

This week’s Hill and Dale race saw it double as a NIMRA championship race and runners came out in force with 254 taking to the start line beneath the impressive Slieve Binnian. The weather was looking great and promised a rewarding view after the relentless climb and a chance to get your breath back at the finish line on the summit.

First home for the club was Rónán Davison-Kernan in 28.54 for 40th overall showing strong climbing power . Jim Brown ,Geoff Smyth,Peter Magowan,Andy Bridge , Trevor Wilson,Mark Pruzina,Gary Longridge, Andrew MC Gibbon ,Clarke Campbell ,Ian Taylor ,Ian McCullough and Stephen Waterworth all took part representing the club .

Thankfully the weather on top was as good as it was down at the start line . The 13 strong BARF Crew certainly gave it all on the climb to the finish line ,took in the views ,posed for pics then plenty of banter . Well done ! Arf !Arf !

Mourne Highline British Championship Race

Saturday saw the British Championship come to the Mournes but once again the weather ruled the days proceedings with Storm Hanna raging through the hills . Organisers put safety first and changed the course but didn’t deter the hardy mountain runners who turned out in force .

Three BARF mountain goats took to the start line with Alan Ritchie finishing in 1.25 , Andrew Mc Gibbon in 1.47 and Kathleen Monteverde in 1.50 . Great running by all three in a very strong field from England, Scotland,Wales and Ireland .

We also had a great turnout of volunteers and officials throughout the course ensuring a very professional look to race day. Jim Brown, Denise O’Hagan , Pauline O’Hara,Gareth McKeown,James Carr ,Mark Pruzina ,Mark Hopkins ,Clarke Campbell ,Fred Hammond and Ian Taylor were all in attendance in a strong showing from BARF once again.