This year’s Mourne Sevens Seven’s Race on the 10th August
will start from its traditional start at the Pavilion in Donard Park as Shimna College
is unavailable. The race will be held in conjunction with the annual challenge
walk and will be in an anticlockwise direction, which is Slieve Donard and
Commedagh first followed by Bernagh, the Meels, Bencrom Dam, Binnian, Lamagan
then back to the finish line in Donard Park. Marshals will be at the cols
between Donard / Commedagh, Hares gap, Meelmore/ MeelBeg, The Dam and Binnian/Lamagan
which you check into after completing Binnian.
It will be an entry on the day race costing £10.00 for
registered runners (£11.00 unregistered) and entry’s will be taken from 8.00am
until 9.40am. The race will start at 10.00 promptly. Please do not enter the
race if you are a walker who has failed to get an entry for the walk, as there
are cut off times which you will fail to make unless you are running. The main
cut off time is 14.30 at the Ben Crom Dam which is half way round the route. I
have decided to have a second cut off time of 12.00 at the col between Slieve
Donard and Slieve Commedagh, as anybody going at that pace is unlikely to make
the Dam cut off time.
When you enter the race you will be issued with a set of
green plastic tabs and an electronic Si dibber. Insert the dipper into the
control boxes on the Summits and at the Dam to record your times. Hand a green
tab to each group of marshals you pass and this way we know exactly where you
have been. At the finish hand in the dipper and your last remaining plastic tab
which will be a small white one.
This is the longest toughest race on the NIMRA calendar so
come prepared for any eventuality. Full waterproof kit, gloves and hat must be
carried together with map, compass, whistle and food. We would recommend that a
space blanket or better still the bag version is carried as it could save your
life if you go down injured in bad weather conditions – yes we have previously
dealt with hypothermia cases during this event in beautiful summery August…..
So as I said before, be ready for any eventuality. If the weather forecast is for hot conditions,
remember that water is in short supply for long sections of the route so plan
accordingly. If you are carrying a phone the emergency event number is 07802
All the best with your preparations and if you are not
running but are available to help out please get in touch as it is always a
challenge getting enough helpers to ensure the success of the event.
This year’s Annalong Horseshoe Fell Race will forsake its base for the last 37 years at Dunnywater and will now start and finish at Silent Valley Reservoir, within the NI Water complex.
The number of entrants last year put severe pressure on the existing facilities at Dunnywater and it’s felt that rather than limit the number of entrants, a move to a new location would solve the current issues with the Dunnywater venue. Last year we had a record entry of 100 runners, which meant that we struggled to accommodate parking for the number of competitors vehicles along the Dunnywater avenue, causing complaints from the residents on the avenue regarding access. With an increase in competitors, the lack of toilet facilities and the health and safety risks associated with the road section also raising concerns, therefore it’s a logical move to Silent Valley, which will address all of these issues for this year and years to come. Continue reading
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.