Annalong Horseshoe

Date: Saturday 5th May 2018
Registration: 9.30 – 10.30am
Start time: 11am
Race Director: Trevor Wilson

NIMRA Championship
Category: Long

Distance: 13.1 miles (21.1 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,371 m
Elevation Loss: 1,374 m
Min Elevation: 109 m
Max Elevation: 771 m


Summits / Checkpoints
Start, Rourke’s Park GR358223
Chimney Rock GR364257
Slieve Commedagh (cairn) GR346286
Cove GR336270
Slievelamagan GR329260
Slieve Binnian GR320234
Finish at Dunneywater GR357223

On descending the track from Binnian, you must continue down the main track to the road at Carrick Little car park (GR345219), you are not allowed to cut the corner.

Apart from visiting the above checkpoints and the above restriction on the descent from Binnian, the route choice is yours.


All runners must  carry the following minimum safety gear in accordance with FRA rules;

  1. a) Whistle
  2. b) Compass
  3. c) Map of the entire course (Mournes Outdoor Pursuits Map) Black & White photocopy not acceptable.
  4. d) Emergency rations equivalent to one Mars bar (minimum)
  5. e) Waterproof jacket & over-trousers with taped seams, affording complete body protection.
  6. f) Hat and gloves – a buff is the acceptable minimum ‘hat’ standard.

Please expect the weather to be poor and bring at least the listed kit with you as a minimum. In adverse weather conditions be prepared to carry any additional kit that you may deem necessary for your safety. Remember that runners are responsible for their own safety at all times during the race.

All runners will have their kit checked prior to the start. Anybody deemed to have inadequate gear will not be allowed to start the race. The race organisers decision is final in relation to gear.

All five checkpoints must be visited in the order stated. Runners may choose their own route between checkpoints and accurate navigation is often necessary.

All checkpoints will have the SI timing units located on the summits but will not be controlled by marshals. All runners must dip their ‘dibber’s’ at all checkpoints. Failure to do this and the download shows the control was not visited, will result in a DNF recorded against the runner’s name.

Marshals are located at the Slieve Beg / Commedagh col (cut off time of 13:15) and at the Slievelamagan / Binnian col.

All runners must report to the marshal’s location and make sure that their race number is recorded.

If you are unsure how to use a ‘dibber’ ask at registration & you will be shown.

Race numbers must be worn to the front.

Runners will be responsible for their own registration at each marshal checkpoint

Route Description – for guidance only

After the start go East along the road for 30 yards, then left up the lane to the Mourne Wall.

There you can either keep to the outside of the wall towards Long Seefin or continue on, cross the stile and pick up the track on the map, crossing the wall on the shoulder between Rocky and Long Seefin. Cross to Chimney Rock, climbing on heather to its south ridge where a path can be picked up taking runners to the summit.

Aim for the north-west tors, probably passing them on the north side and pick up descending paths towards the Mourne Wall. At no time is any runner permitted to run on top of the Mourne Wall. Failure to obey this rule will result in disqualification from the race. 

Then veer north towards the stile where the Brandy Pad crosses the Wall. Along the Brandy Pad cutting up to the Saddle and then to Commedagh Cairn. Southwest from the cairn, past the tower & over the stile to descent steep ground to the col before Slieve Beg. Report to the marshals at this col and ensure that your race number is recorded. Any person reaching this point after 13:15 hours will not be permitted to continue on the race route and will be required to return to the start/finish area via the Annalong Valley.

Over the shoulder of Slieve Beg (no need to go to the top unless you want to stay on paths) to climb the path to Cove summit, well out to the left. A fast descent follows with a short climb to Lamagan. The descent from Lamagan is rough and is followed by a long climb up the well-used track on the north ridge of Binian. If your endurance is not great, this is where you will realise it! Contour along the ridge, keeping to the east of most of the tors, with the checkpoint on the high flat ground a few feet below the rocky summit of Binian. Continue south off this to the small gap between the tors (where the Hill & Dale race finishes) and then turn east to descend with the wall on your right all the way to the track returning you to Carrick Little car park. Then fast along the road for almost a mile, with a short sprint uphill to the finish.

All runners will be required to obey the Highway Code and run on the right-hand side of the road to face oncoming traffic, crossing to the left-hand side of the road to negotiate sharp bends, returning to the right-hand side of the road after the bend.

There will be two marshal’s posts located on the course, located in the following positions;

  1. At the col between Slieve Commedagh and Slieve Beg;
  2. At the col between Slievelamagan and Slieve Binian.

The race organisers reserve the right to add additional marshal’s posts around the course if deemed necessary. Runners will be advised of the location of any additional marshalling posts prior to the start. Marshals may be present at the junction of the Carrick Little track and Head Road, as well as along the road to the finish. Marshals instructions must be obeyed at all times.

Road section
All runners are responsible for their own safety along the road. The road is not closed to traffic, so you don’t have priority over vehicles. Runners should follow the highway code:

  • If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light keep close to the side of the road.
  • It may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you. Cross back after the bend.
  • Help other road users to see you. Wear or carry something light-coloured, bright or fluorescent in poor daylight conditions.

All retiring runners should report to the nearest marshal’s post (if possible), return to the start/finish area by the safest, direct route and must report to the race organisers at the finish. Failure to report a retirement to race organisers will result in disqualification and barring from all future BARF events.

Annalong Horseshoe was first run in 1982 as a replacement for the race on the same day and with same route as the annual Mourne Wall Walk – of fond and often painful memories. The first race had 20 competitors with the winner Stanley Graham taking 2:20:25. It must be something about fell runners that the field included some who are still active today, including Willie John Brown, Noel Douglas, Jim Hayes, Ian Taylor. The current record of 1:56:58 was set by Robbie Bryson in 1996. The current female record of 2:26:56 was set by Ciara Largy in 2012.