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.
Boxing Day is capable of producing an array of winter conditions, most of them tending towards the unpleasant end of the scale, but this year we enjoyed a lovely winters day with sunshine, blue skies and light winds. Given the stormy weather which had preceded Christmas and the horrendous day which followed Boxing day we were indeed lucky to have raced in the lull between two storms.
As usual at the start line there was a flurry of activity as we checked that everybody was carrying the correct gear and tried to deal with those who always turn up unprepared for the potential dangers and consequences of an accident in the hills in winter. We managed to get everybody kitted out one way or the other and a record number of 95 runners were sent on their way up the Trassey track.
Here are the official results for the 2013 BARF Turkey Trot. A full race report will follow. Well done to all runners, and a big thank you to all involved.
Place Name Club Cat TIME
1 Johnny Steed Ballymena MO 00:46:11
2 Seamus Lynch Newcastle AC* MO 00:46:36
3 Neill Carty North Belfast Harriers V45 00:47:12
4 Eoin Lennon Olympians MO 00:48:27
5 Jack Millar LVO MO 00:50:16
6 Dale Mathers Newry City Runners* V50 00:51:31
7 Alex Brennan Ballymena Runners V40 00:51:34
8 Emmet McAlister Ballymena Runners* MO 00:51:46
9 Cathal McGreevy Team Purple V45 00:52:00
10 Pete Grant Newry City Runners* V45 00:52:24