Glenariff (the potato race) Podium4Sport NIMRA championship opener.
by Claire Withers
This race is famous not only for the bag of potatoes you get for your entry fee but also the relatively short climb of 370m which packs a huge punch. Just shy of 6miles it falls into the short category in the NIMRA championship.
Friday night saw a huge deluge of rain which promised to make the descent a slippy affair. The weather was a balmy 12 degrees with biceps being exposed in vest’s rather than jackets.
The start line was brimming which is fantastic to see, the promise of a bag of spuds had brought out the crowds, 113 to be exact.
From the off the charge down the tarmac road toward the grassy trail saw the blue vests of Mourne runners mixed with the reds of Newcastle and City of Derry clubs. The women were led by Esther dickson from Newry AC with Megan Wilson and Shileen O’kane in hot pursuit.
On the climb up the Queen of the glen the Mckee’s were out in front and Esther was showing a dirty pair of Inov8s to the women’s field. From my position somewhere in the middle of the pack I clapped a few but even this seemed too much effort to bear.
Once off the descent Willie kicked off to take the win with Esther staying in front most of the way taking the Ladies race.
The cool down for many was a ice cold submerge in the Atlantic, some making the most and having a swim. Brave men that they carve out of the Mourne Mountains.
A great opener to the championship with the spread laid on after fit for the Queen herself.
Next up is the Donard Challenge race on the 8th April.