Taryn McCoy and Brian Linton teamed up for the 2016 Scottish Islands Peaks Race – an adventure race for teams of Sailors and Fell Runners on and around the most beautiful parts of the West Coast of Bonny Scotland.
Brian also sails and has taken part in this event on 4 previous years with the same sailing crew. It’s a fantastic event, a real adventure and a race so full of variables and tactics meaning teamwork and ability to adapt are absolute key. The weather has a huge impact on the outcome of this event. This year whilst it was ideal for us as runners, getting daylight for all the run sections and even blue sky and sunshine for Arran, the sailors however got a mix of everything.
Record amounts of rain may have sloshed down on other parts of the British Isles, but in the corner of the Mournes where the boxing day Turkeys run, it was actually not too bad. Admittedly the underfoot conditions were of a sloshing nature following the previous day’s rains, but the air temperature was sufficiently balmy to tempt a few hardy souls to opt for singlet’s and shorts.
I used to admire those Purple People from a distance. I marvelled at the way they shone with such vibrant health. They never seemed to sweat. They were so smooth even the wettest peat refused to stick to their legs. I would end races bedraggled, puffing and drenched. If I joined the world of BARF would I too glide serenely across the Fells of Ulster ? But what if they were some strange cult ! A coven of purpley mudclaw clad witches and wizards. But I was drawn into the vortex. For years I resisted. Intimidated by words like “Ultra” and “Run”. Then the shadowy Aaron Shimmons whispered in my ear, “Just joining BARF will make you quicker.”…. “It’s magic” he said as he sat hunched and muttering over a boiling pot of frogs. I took the plunge. I even enjoyed the blood letting initiation under the full moon on the summit of Donard. As the BARF members danced naked around me I at last felt that sense of brotherhood that had been missing from my life. Continue reading
With clear blue skies and perfect visibility, it’s 11.00am on the second Saturday in May and the whistle sounded for the start of the 34th running of the annual Annalong Horseshoe fell race. This race was first run in 1982 and consists of 13 miles and over 5,000 ft of climbing over five summits in the Mourne mountains and this year counts as a long race in the NIMRA championship. 72 runners started off along the Head Road towards the first checkpoint on the summit of Chimney Rock. As we counted them off, we only counted 71 runners over the start line. 30 secs later, the 72nd entrant emerged from the nearby bushes after a ‘wardrobe adjustment’ and headed off after the rest of the pack.
BARF ladies Caroline and Kathleen travelled to Wicklow for the TEAR adventure race part of the CCAR series. Gerry and Billy also travelled down coming 6th in the Male category. Unfortunately Taryn was not able to make it this time.
The real stars of this year’s event were the marshals who had to endure a torrid time of it to ensure that both the runners and walkers progress was recorded accurately. They were lashed by heavy continuous rain for most of the day and a vicious wind which made life very difficult. From the forecast we knew about the rain but such a strong wind was not expected. I think we were victims of quite a complicated weather system which was difficult to forecast accurately. Continue reading
Saturday 10th May saw many familiar faces descend on Dunnywater for the classic Annalong Horseshoe. The race started sharp at 11am under murky damp skies, but the weather didn’t seem to phase NI’s fell running elite. Continue reading
Long Distance Fred, now with a full entourage of BARF company for longer races, once again headed to the Wicklow Mountains on Saturday for IMRA’s Wicklow Way races. Lots of purple vests at the start line, albeit hidden underneath waterproof jackets.
To the hills!!