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.
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’.
Long Distance Fred, now with a full entourage of BARF company for longer races, once again headed to the Wicklow Mountains on Saturday for IMRA’s Wicklow Way races. Lots of purple vests at the start line, albeit hidden underneath waterproof jackets.
To the hills!!
It’s that time of year again and the races will soon be coming thick and fast and before long you will feel like you have been clobbered by something like a big bag of spuds! Well — it so happens that the first Northern Ireland Championship race at Glengariff next week rewards all participants with a bag of spuds from their sponsor, Glens of Antrim Potatoes so at least you can get some free carbs to help build up for the other races.