A few important changes have had to be made to this year’s race due to the Festival of Flight event, which is happening in Newcastle at the same time. The main change is that the event centre has had to be moved to the Greenhill YMCA at grid ref (369 303), post code BT33 0GR. Access will be from the Tullybrannigan Road which runs around the west side of the Donard Park playing fields. A parking area has been set aside for our use at grid ref (371 305) and a short walk of about 200m will take you to the YMCA. Avoid the main Donard car park which will be closed on the day. Bring a change of clothing and a towel as there are showers at the centre and refreshments will be available after the race.
The start time is 10.00. If you feel that your pace will be slow you can ask to start earlier if you wish but be aware that you will be timed using the walkers system which means your time will only be accurate to the minute. If you want to start early ask me at the event centre and do not plan to start before 8.30.
The race will be run on an anti clockwise course in the following order. Donard, Commedagh, Slieve Bernagh, Meelmore, Meelbeg, Dam, Binnian, Lamagin and back to finish at YMCA. Last year green tabs had to be handed to the marshals as you progressed and we will continue to use this system with the addition of a small white plastic tab which must be punched with the orienteering punch on the summit of Meelmore. This white tab must be handed in at the finish. If you fail to complete the course or withdraw it is still essential that you return to the YMCA and hand in this white tab. It is our method of ensuring that all walkers and runners are safely off the hills.
Can I once again emphasise the importance of bringing the correct kit for this race. Full water proof body cover is mandatory as are map, compass, whistle and enough food to get you around the course. There will be a kit check before the race and if you are not properly prepared you will be refused entry. Long sections of the course do not have water readily available so make your own plans to deal with this problem.
The emergency telephone number is 07802 691540. It might be a good idea to carry some cash as the Mourne rambler bus circuits the Mournes on a regular basis and might save you a long walk if you retire.
Last time we mixed it up with the Festival of Flight we had the Red Arrows doing their routine as I presented Des Woods with his prize. This year we may have a Vulcan Bomber droning across the sky which has to be better than me droning on any longer …. see you all at the start line.