Author Archives: Aaron

Alice and Adam, Hard as Flint!!

A settled forecast bodes well for this year’s Seven Sevens and it was correct for we enjoyed one of the best days ever on the course. The ground was dry following a month of below-average rainfall and a breeze for most of the day kept the temperatures at manageable levels along with some high cloud cover.

Seventy three runners gathered on the playing field outside Shimna College and galloped off into the forest at ten o clock in the wake of the challenge walkers who had set off in the preceding hours. Last year’s winner, Mourne Runner Adam Cunningham gradually pulled away and reached the summit of Donard in 43.18 about a minute ahead of the pack. Alice Flint of BARF was also going well and it was good to see her back in action following recovery from a broken arm.

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Mountain Skills Day

Last week we held a mountain running skills day for members based out of Shimna College in Newcastle. Martin McMullan from Mourne MRT came and we discussed kit and keeping safe and warm while running in the hills, including an outdoor exercise getting a bit cold.

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Mountain Skills Training

On Saturday 26 February we will be hosting a training day for members based out of Shimna College, Newcastle. The focus of this will be making the transition to mountain running, particularly kit and navigation. It will also be an opportunity for those with some experience to brush up on nav skills. 

We will talk through kit before heading out and then break into small groups and follow some classic race routes in the Mournes at a very easy pace, stopping to discuss the navigation. 

Winter 2021 Training Update

Thursday 7th October is the first week of the BARF winter training programme, running all the way up to the start of the Hill and Dale races in April.

These will be weekly interval sessions, designed to add some hills-focussed intensity to your running and get you ready for the mountains!

We will be easing into it in week 1 with short hill reps beside Lock Keepers just off the Lagan towpath, as well as a warmup and cooldown together.

Meet at 7pm at Shaw’s Bridge car park and don’t forget to bring a headtorch.

Here’s what’s coming up in October and November:The full programme is here

Ronan & Paul’s Mourne 2-day Score

The first time I did the Mountain Marathon was in 2011 and I swore I’d never do it again. We did the C class and I was talked into it by a friend from the Mountaineering Club at Queen’s, wasn’t fit, carried far too much and wore boots. The weather was rubbish. Time heals all wounds it seems and by 2017 I was up for another go, this time in The B class with the same man, wearing trainers and carrying a more sensible load. The weather was even worse but clearly there’s something wrong with me as I haven’t missed one since and have even had a couple of goes at the elite class.

However, 2020 involved more hours of suffering in the Mournes than usual, so a slight break in 2021 was in order. I hadn’t tried the Score class before so this provided an excellent excuse ease off. Paul Nixon (of this parish) was also keen to have a go but not the 2 days, and I committed myself to helping collect controls on Sunday to make sure I couldn’t be guilted into the 2 day. 

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Mourne Mountain Marathon 2021

3 weeks to go and I got a message from fellow Barfer Jackie Toal, who had just completed the Cape Wrath Ultra. I had seen her in film footage of the race and had messaged congratulations on her run. She asked me to do the MMM with her…. It had been a while, I was not as fit as I used to be but I could not say no to her, she helped me twice in the nighttime section of my Rankin Round, I owed her big time, so I said yes, though looking at my Strava I could see I had not run the distance or ascent of the B course in the last 3 months so I said yes if we can do the “C” Course. I hadn’t been well and am only now starting to get back to fitness, I had to listen to my body and be kind to it. Thankfully as I had done the MMM before I had all the kit through the Balloons for my balloon bed were from 2013 and during the night camp they popped one by one, I pumped more and… well it wasn’t so bad I got a reasonable night’s sleep.

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BARF Training Update

BARF training runs are back and open to all. If you are interested in running more than just tarmac and want to give mountain and trail running a go, come along on a Thursday night.

In September we are doing some social hilly runs around Belfast (all-around 10km) to get back into the swing of things. We meet at 7 pm.

Please bring a head torch!

9 September – Divis (main Divis car park)
16 September – Belvoir (Belvoir car park beside RSPB)
23 September – Shaw’s Bridge (Shaw’s Bridge car park)
30 September – Redburn (car park beside Holywood Care Home)

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Seven Sevens 2021: Adam and Esther lead the way

Seventy One runners turned up for this year’s race and lined up on the playing fields of Shimna Integrated College for a socially distanced mass start as is befitting of these strange times. High cloud dulled the suns strength and a breeze give false hope of cooling winds on the summits but in the event the air was warm and sultry at times, leading to cramping issues for many as the day progressed.

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