On Saturday morning hundreds of hardy mountain runners arrived on Newcastle promenade ready to take on the prestigious Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail Race which has grown from strength to strength year on year . It sees runners set off for the mountains from Newcastle heading over as far as Fofanny Dam before making their way back across the summits as they come thick and fast on the return leg , 35 km in total with over 3000 metres elevation on open mountain trail , it’s not for the faint hearted .
Kathleen Monteverde receives her age category prize from Ryan Maxwell
Rónán Davison-Kernan finished the course in 5.16.58 , Gerry Kingston 5.21.18, Declan McGrellis 5.26.54, Alan Ritchie 5.30.09 , Geoff Smyth 5.40.48 , Matt Crawford 5.51.11, Kathleen Monteverde 6.53.09 which saw her win her age category with a fantastic run .There was also as many , if not more Barf athletes throughout the course marshalling and helping at critical points in the race . I know the race team are very thankful for the effortand turnout from our club in helping to put these races on so well done to all of you and those who stepped up to take this race on Arf ! Arf !
The weekend saw two of our runners take to the start lines in Armagh and East Antrim . Peter Thompson headed for the highly competitive and fast paced Armagh 10 mile road race . He was on a flyer too completing the course in 1 hr 10 seconds for a fantastic 17 th overall .
East Antrim Marathon series regular Philip Ward had a great run on a tough new route for a marathon . Philip managed to complete the course in 4.38 .38 and a super top 5 finish for him also .
Philip at the East Antrim Marathon series Dams race
Last weekend was the annual event of the Mourne Mountain Marathon , a gruelling two day event with several classes and distances to suit all mountain enthusiasts with a one day score event also. This year was a significant year with it being the 40th anniversary of the event and BARF members as from day one until now have been an integral part , more on this in the next report .
Saturday at the startline saw the sun shining at Shimna College and conditions stayed favourable throughout the day as our members made their way through the majestic Mournes . Sunday proved a harder day weather wise ,after Paddy Mallon had serenaded the cosy campers they made their way onto the Silent Valley Dam wall in heavy rain to mark out their maps and head for the hills once again.
The score class on Saturday saw Helen Brown and Roisin Mallon win the vet prize with Aoife Mallon also taking part .
In the elite class Brian Linton finished the two days with an impressive 14.34.55. Meanwhile in the B class Declan McGrellis and Trevor Wilson finished 7th overall and first in vet category with a vet score of 9.06.30. Stephanie Pruzina was also in this class and finished 3rd place in the vet category with a vet score of 9.54.21 . Richard Gibson and Matt Crawford finished 9th overall in the B class with 11.16.23 . Rónán Davison-Kernan and Kyle Stewart were home in 12.56.17 in the same class.
B class vet winners in the Barf purple , Trevor and Declan
Pauline O’Hara and Denise O’Hagan who took part in the C class with a vet score of 8.37.51 , they also brought cake and wine , proper mountain diet ⛰👌
Last weekend Barf athlete Alan Ritchie was taking part in the Ultra Trail Harri Cana in Canada . A mix of trail and mountain through some of Canada’s most remote wilderness and breathtaking scenery. The race was 65k with nearly 2000 metres elevation . Alan managed to secure a top 50 finish in 7 hours 43 mins for 47 th overall in a competitive field . Well done Arf! Arf!
The weekend saw Jackie Toal take on the tough Kerry Way ultra clocking up 200 k of stunning mountain and forest trails . The accomplished ultra runner battled a tummy bug early on and didn’t let it put her off her stride finishing in an impressive 37 hrs 14 mins on an energy sapping course .
Jackie in action in Kerry
Closer to home Philip Ward was up at the East Antrim Marathon Series 100th event celebrations taking on the marathon . Philip is a regular at these events and added another marathon to his belt in 4.50 .
Saturday was the first running of a new race on the NIMRA championship calendar. Organised by Newry AC the route would take the runners on a 6 mile course taking in Knockshee and Slieve Martin . Five Barf athletes took on this race known as Dan Whites Dander . Rónán Davison-Kernan was home in 1.07.30 for 6th place over shortly followed by Jim Brown in 1.10.41 to win his age category,Trevor Wilson in 1.23.51, Andrew McGibbon 1.26.53 and Ian Taylor 1.55.17.
Jim Brown on the downhill to a category win at Dan Whites Dander
Also on Saturday at Florence Court the Last One Standing Ultra began at midday with the challenge of running a hilly 4.2 mile forest trail loop every hour on the hour until your the last one running . Geoff Smyth was at the start line for this one and managed 16 loops before bowing out at 4am Sunday with 67.2 miles completed.
Geoff Smyth at Last One Standing Florence Court
Sunday saw the hugely popular and competitive Laganside 10 k taking place in Belfast . Barf speedster Peter Thompson lined up for this one and came out with a new pb and impressive 35.41 for the distance .
Well done to all competing through the country ! Arf! Arf !
The organisers of the Mourne Mountain Marathon are putting the call out for helpers over the weekend September 21st and 22nd. If your not participating but want to be part of the action then contact them on the details below . Also if you just fancy a run in the hills you could help by taking in the controls that will be placed over the Mournes either day . Please contact them direct on links below if you can help or message on social media .
Barf runners have been out and about again over this last week or so . Last Sunday Geoff Smyth made a return to the roads taking on the EAMS Knockaghthon managing just over 40 miles on return from injury setbacks .
Declan McGrellis travelled to Scotland to take on the Ochill 200 mountain race , a 32 km race across a tough mountain range with 1800 metres of elevation on a very warm day , he battled the heat and cramp to complete the course in 4 hours 49.
Philip Ward was also in action Saturday and Sunday in Armagh as he completed back to back trail marathons on the tough Folley Glen course with very strong running from Philip on both days .
Last week Aaron Shimmons travelled to the USA to take on one of its iconic 200 mile races , The Bigfoot 200 , 206.5 miles with over 42000 feet in ascent .
The race route would take him from Mount St.Helens traversing the Cascade mountain range of Washington State eventually finishing in Randle . Those of us that know Aaron have seen how hard he has worked towards this race and that hard work paid off for certain. From the start of the race Aaron maintained a steady pace and held a top 10 position throughout the race in a very competitive field . Weather conditions on the Friday and Saturday produced heavy rain and thunder storms which added to the gruelling race but his experience in the mountains and of past races almost certainly gave him the edge he needed .
With 200 starters in the race the finish rate was a mere 65% which in itself aludes to the difficulty of these races and distance . Aaron finished in a superb 72 hours 44 mins for a magnificent 8th place overall , 7th male and 3rd in the vet40 category.
Definitely a performance to be proud of Aaron and from all your Barf teammates, bloody well done hi ! Arf ! Arf !