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.
Another great year at the Annalong Horseshoe. Here are the full results & splits for race.
Well done to Trevor and all the volunteers for another great event. Race report to follow soon!
Photographs can be found on our Facebook Page.
Click here to see the results > http://bit.ly/1Emaawt
It felt like the Twelve Days of Christmas in the build up to this year’s race, with the weather man singing from a different song sheet each day. It wasn’t until we got to the two Turtle Doves that the decision was taken to go with the Mountain course, as the indications were that we could get the run fitted in just before the worst of the weather arrived.
This proved to be the case, and 71 hardy souls turned up for some Bleak Mid Winter action. Jonny Steede was back to defend the title he won last year. Seamus Lynch, second last year was also back, keen to continue pressurising Jonny as he has done all season. Long distance expert Eoin Lennon who ran so well last year was there as was London based Chris Smith, a two times winner of this race. Catherine O Connor who has been singing so sweetly all season looked like the potential First Nowell, er lady. Continue reading
I first walked round all the Mourne peaks over 500m almost 40 years ago (1500ft back then!), on a three day midsummer camping trip. Since then the mountains have been ordered, told to stand up straight and be counted and the Rules have been set down. My interest was kindled during the development of the Rankin Round and I was keen to have a go at the 500’s this summer.
A few sporadic recce’s and then an aborted attempt in June due to poor weather were followed by torn ligaments from an old man’s stumble in the Alps in July and that seemed to rule out any prospect this year. Continue reading
The Mourne 500’s, 39 peaks in the Mourne Mountains over 500 meters.
If you are thinking of giving this a go, please let us offer you two bits of advice.
Firstly, you can do it. The Mournes might be steep and rugged but they are compact and beautiful. It’s worth it and it is possible, if you keep moving, to walk the route in under 24hours.
Secondly, don’t do it the way we did it.
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