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.
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 .
Three of our runners took part in the inaugural running of We Run Wild NI’s Glenarm Castle to Carrickfergus Castle , a tough 50 k route taking in the Glens of Antrim , forests , lanes and country roads . The race is self sufficient and a roadbook is used to navigate your way from start to finish .
Paul Nixon , one of many new members to the club this year was home in 5.54 for 13 th place overall followed by Geoff Smyth in 5.59 who decided to do an extra couple of k on a wrong turn and Philip Ward in 6.57 as he continues to add to his impressive tally of marathons and ultras . Well done to all in what was a very tough boggy 20 k in the mountains . Arf Arf !
Saturday saw the hill running folk appear from hibernation and descend upon Slieve Gullion . A short and fast race to start the season off with just over 6 k and nearly 300 metres elevation. Alan Ritchie was home in a strong 37.11 for 15th place followed by Geoff Smyth in 40.10 , new recruit Luke Terry in 41.27 and Ian Taylor in 68.44.
Photography by Alan Magee …..New Barfer Luke Terry in action on Saturday.
Last weekend saw some of our athletes take in the ‘We Run Wild NI’s midnight marathon ‘ starting at the iconic Carrickfergus Castle and taking in the trails and lanes in and around the area .
Starting at midnight and running into Sunday runners had to make their way to the finish line via a road book provided to them rather than a marked course . Colin Pascoe has a tremendous run coming home third place in 3.58.49 followed by Declan Mc Grellis 4.53.36 and Philip Ward in 5.25.50 . Well done to all on a cold night on a testing course . arf arf !
More details of upcoming races from We Run Wild Ni can be found below
When the call went out for helpers on a recent Denis Rankin Round attempt some of our runners were happy to assist . Moire O’Sullivan and Paul Mahon were about to take on a tough winter round and were overwhelmed with the support from the mountain running community we have in Northern Ireland . Kathleen Monteverde, Susan Lambe , Jackie Toal , Rónán Kernan-Davison and Geoff Smyth all turned out to lend help wherever needed . A host of other runners and helpers from throughout the Nimra family also turned out to help in true mountain spirit.
Last Sunday BARF athlete Alan Ritchie took on the Northern Velocity Dogs Leap trail half marathon consisting of three loops on trails . Alan stormed round in 1.19.53 for third place on the podium. Well done . Arf ! Arf !