What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror?
Hallooooooooooooo-meeee 😊 #CheeseJokes
But more on that later.
Thirteen BARFlings, one IMC Hut, and the first game of Jenga of the weekend involved parking all the cars without reversing into the stonework.
Mission accomplished, we moved on to a game of Rustic Stepping Stones on the way to dinner. Some soggy socks gained, some pints of plain consumed, some Wicklow IPAs investigated, some tales of Glenmalure history shared, hop-skip-jump-splash back over the stones, and gear ready for the morning’s adventures.
A settled forecast bodes well for this year’s Seven Sevens and it was correct for we enjoyed one of the best days ever on the course. The ground was dry following a month of below-average rainfall and a breeze for most of the day kept the temperatures at manageable levels along with some high cloud cover.
Seventy three runners gathered on the playing field outside Shimna College and galloped off into the forest at ten o clock in the wake of the challenge walkers who had set off in the preceding hours. Last year’s winner, Mourne Runner Adam Cunningham gradually pulled away and reached the summit of Donard in 43.18 about a minute ahead of the pack. Alice Flint of BARF was also going well and it was good to see her back in action following recovery from a broken arm.
The Laugavegur is a 53 km trail in the Icelandic highlands, an area almost but not quite entirely unlike its Scottish namesake. It connects the ridiculously beautiful geothermal area of Landmannalaugar with the ridiculously beautiful valley of Þorsmörk (pronounced “Thorsmerk”). Most things in Iceland are ridiculously beautiful, except the weather, which given its North Atlantic location is uncannily familiar to anyone who has spent any time in Donegal.
I’d had my eye on the Wicklow Glacier Lakes race for while. As the name suggests, the objective of the race is to visit a set of 7 lakes (touching the water in each), with the route between each lake being almost entirely up to the competitor, returning to start/finish in Glendalough. The race can be run as a 4-leg relay in teams of 2-4 people, or as a solo event. Solo runners are also required to pass through the relay changeover points. Depending on route choice, the course measures approx 42km with 1700m of ascent.
BARF hosted the annual Annalong Horseshoe on 21 May. Trevor Wilson has made sure this race has gone smoothly for a long time now, but unfortunately, he slipped up this year in that he didn’t arrange the traditional Horseshoe weather of low cloud and poor visibility, with the 63 runners having to settle for perfect visibility and light winds. The race returned to its new home of Carrick Little for the 2nd year in a row and the consensus has it that this works well but Newcastle AC’s Pete Grant was adamant that “there’s no call for Donard on that course” and that he would “have words with Trevor” but he may have been suffering flashbacks from the sweatbox of the Donard race the previous week. Without the Pinnacle of Mourne sure, The Horseshoe would be a medium race, and when else do you get to race up the South side of Donard?
Admin first – we’ll be doing Monday night social sessions around Belfast instead of Thursdays for the duration of the Hill and Dale series so keep an eye out for locations on Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.
2022 has seen the full return of the mountain racing calendar and it’s been a busy start to the season with BARF very well represented.
Last week we held a mountain running skills day for members based out of Shimna College in Newcastle. Martin McMullan from Mourne MRT came and we discussed kit and keeping safe and warm while running in the hills, including an outdoor exercise getting a bit cold.
On Saturday 26 February we will be hosting a training day for members based out of Shimna College, Newcastle. The focus of this will be making the transition to mountain running, particularly kit and navigation. It will also be an opportunity for those with some experience to brush up on nav skills.
We will talk through kit before heading out and then break into small groups and follow some classic race routes in the Mournes at a very easy pace, stopping to discuss the navigation.