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.
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.
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
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.
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.
This is the thirteenth year Ballymena Runners has hosted the Glenariff Mountain Race, supported by the local company Glens of Antrim Potatoes. Mark Alexander commented that it must have been the best weather they had in those 13 years, as indeed the sun was shinning over the Glens and the mountains were looking majestic, green and glorious.