Heaven for Hell – and Hicks as well.
I had thought that the weather was going to be good for the runners this year with light winds forecast, no rain and mild temperatures, but in the event it was the humidity which sapped the competitors strength. Many a challenge floundered on the slopes of the Meels, as cramp set into legs fatigued by the long slog up from the dam over rough ground, without hardly a breath of wind to disturb the stifling air. It was a long day for many but for me it was actually a short day, as there was no associated walking event to provide late finishing weary walkers, stumbling through the Donard woods as darkness descended.
Once again Christmas is nearly upon us and the annual Boxing day migration of mountain runners to the Trassey Track car park for the Turkey Trot race will be occurring. It would be a big help if as many competitors as possible could share lifts as car parking space is restricted. The race start time is 12.00am.
The Turkey Trot may be regarded as a bit of a fun event, and indeed we want to keep it as light
hearted as possible, but please remember that the mountains in winter can be a dangerous place so please heed the rules and come prepared. You should choose your running clothing to suit the expected conditions and footwear which will give you grip in the potentially icy conditions which often occurs on the high sections of the course. Full waterproof body cover must be carried along with a hat and gloves. The other mandatory items of kit are a map, whistle, and compass and although not mandatory, I would recommend runners carry a foil space blanket or bag which can be a lifesaver if you become immobilised in the wilds. There will be a kit check before the race. Unfortunately, you cannot enter this race if you are under the age of 18 years. Also, dogs are not allowed. If the weather forecast turns bad please check this site in the days preceding the event for more information.
Following the race, there will be mince pies, mulled wine and other goodies at the Northern Ireland Mountain Centre and a selection of prizes of dubious nature supplied by members of BARF.
Thank you to all who supported our charity event. We raised £1120 for the Irish Napelese Education Trust (INET).
Thanks to our speakers, Paddy Mallon, Ian Taylor and Dawson Stelfox for such an entertaining evening. Massive thank you to all who supported the event.
Normally Christmas trees are cut and extracted from the forest well before the big day but this year one of our first tasks was to remove one which had fallen across the Trassey track, near the start line. The icy gales of the preceding night had brought it down and though the sky was cobalt blue, those Baltic winds were still blowing hard as the runners set off. They would also have to deal with ice and slippery conditions on the high sections of the course.
Top 3 men (r-l Jack, Paul, Zak)
As part of the ongoing BARF Social calendar, the June event would see 12 Barfers make a 20 mile run from Dundrum Castle to The Castles on the Southside of Commedagh in the Mournes and return, taking in the stunning scenery of Murlough, hence ‘The Castle to Castles Challenge’.
Taryn McCoy and Brian Linton teamed up for the 2016 Scottish Islands Peaks Race – an adventure race for teams of Sailors and Fell Runners on and around the most beautiful parts of the West Coast of Bonny Scotland.
Brian also sails and has taken part in this event on 4 previous years with the same sailing crew. It’s a fantastic event, a real adventure and a race so full of variables and tactics meaning teamwork and ability to adapt are absolute key. The weather has a huge impact on the outcome of this event. This year whilst it was ideal for us as runners, getting daylight for all the run sections and even blue sky and sunshine for Arran, the sailors however got a mix of everything.
As part of the ongoing BARF Social calender of events, 17 brave Barfers took up the challenge of ’Run Gully Run’ on Sunday 17th April 2016.
Before the off!
On Friday 31st July a number of BARF members and family met at Donard carpark for a trek to the summit of Slieve Donard 852m, Northern Ireland’s highest mountain. ’OH NO, I hear you shout, not another charity event up Donard!!! But this was a walk with a difference. The plan was to start off at 10pm and reach the summit just before midnite, and experience the wonders of the Bluemoon whilst sharing a refreshment or two with like minded friends. And make a donation in the MMRT bucket at the start.
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