Admin first – we’ll be doing Monday night social sessions around Belfast instead of Thursdays for the duration of the Hill and Dale series so keep an eye out for locations on Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.
2022 has seen the full return of the mountain racing calendar and it’s been a busy start to the season with BARF very well represented.
Last week we held a mountain running skills day for members based out of Shimna College in Newcastle. Martin McMullan from Mourne MRT came and we discussed kit and keeping safe and warm while running in the hills, including an outdoor exercise getting a bit cold.
On Saturday 26 February we will be hosting a training day for members based out of Shimna College, Newcastle. The focus of this will be making the transition to mountain running, particularly kit and navigation. It will also be an opportunity for those with some experience to brush up on nav skills.
We will talk through kit before heading out and then break into small groups and follow some classic race routes in the Mournes at a very easy pace, stopping to discuss the navigation.
The first time I did the Mountain Marathon was in 2011 and I swore I’d never do it again. We did the C class and I was talked into it by a friend from the Mountaineering Club at Queen’s, wasn’t fit, carried far too much and wore boots. The weather was rubbish. Time heals all wounds it seems and by 2017 I was up for another go, this time in The B class with the same man, wearing trainers and carrying a more sensible load. The weather was even worse but clearly there’s something wrong with me as I haven’t missed one since and have even had a couple of goes at the elite class.
However, 2020 involved more hours of suffering in the Mournes than usual, so a slight break in 2021 was in order. I hadn’t tried the Score class before so this provided an excellent excuse ease off. Paul Nixon (of this parish) was also keen to have a go but not the 2 days, and I committed myself to helping collect controls on Sunday to make sure I couldn’t be guilted into the 2 day.
3 weeks to go and I got a message from fellow Barfer Jackie Toal, who had just completed the Cape Wrath Ultra. I had seen her in film footage of the race and had messaged congratulations on her run. She asked me to do the MMM with her…. It had been a while, I was not as fit as I used to be but I could not say no to her, she helped me twice in the nighttime section of my Rankin Round, I owed her big time, so I said yes, though looking at my Strava I could see I had not run the distance or ascent of the B course in the last 3 months so I said yes if we can do the “C” Course. I hadn’t been well and am only now starting to get back to fitness, I had to listen to my body and be kind to it. Thankfully as I had done the MMM before I had all the kit through the Balloons for my balloon bed were from 2013 and during the night camp they popped one by one, I pumped more and… well it wasn’t so bad I got a reasonable night’s sleep.
Seventy One runners turned up for this year’s
race and lined up on the playing fields of Shimna Integrated College for a
socially distanced mass start as is befitting of these strange times. High
cloud dulled the suns strength and a breeze give false hope of cooling winds on
the summits but in the event the air was warm and sultry at times, leading to
cramping issues for many as the day progressed.
WE’RE BACK!! Fellrunning returned to the Mournes on Saturday 03rd July for the first time this year. With a new venue, revised race route, a record number of entrants (116) and Covid restrictions to manage, the race organisers were kept busy in the weeks before the race. This race was the first long category race, 20km and 2000m of ascent, in the 2021 NIMRA championship.