NIMRA MMR Donard Wood Trail Race
Report by Ian Taylor
Photos by NIMRA dream team – Jayne Bell and Richard Cowan Jnr
17th February 2018
5 miles, 300 metres climb.
Congratulations to winners Timothy Johnston and Sarah Graham in this fast and furious trail race, held in glorious weather around Donard Forest. There was a great turnout of 83 competitors for this event, held to raise money for the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team.
Timothy was first to the quarry in 12 min 21 sec, with a lead of just under a minute on Jonathan Scott with David McNeilly close behind. At Drinahilly, reached after a further 8 minutes, the positions remained unchanged. On the descent, Timothy extended his lead to one and a half minutes, finishing in 31:15, with David McNeilly just managing to overtake Jonathan Scott for second place with John McKee a further minute behind for fourth position.
In contrast there was no change of position in the leading ladies, with Sarah Graham ahead of Martje Hell and Gillian Wasson throughout and finishing in 37:16 with Martje under a minute behind. In the overall race Sarah was 16th, but 15th at the quarry and 14th at Drinahilly, losing two places to men on the descent.
The veteran categories, perhaps being more seasoned competitors than the overall winners, have appeared in winning categories positions before. Congratulations to John Neill (vet40), Mark Alexander (Vet45), Dale Mathers (vet50), Jim Brown (vet55) now seemingly recovered from injuries, Dale Fulcer (vet60), Ernest Hall (vet65), well ahead of many younger athletes and Ian McCullough (vet70). In the ladies master categories, first vet35 was Donna Daly, vet40 Gillian Wasson, vet45 Bronagh McInerney, vet50 Anne Sandford, now running for the first time in Mourne Runners’ colours and finally Kathleen Monteverde vet55, more used to competing continuously for a few days rather than 47 minutes.
Not only did athletes have a great race, they also contributed generously to Mourne Mountain Rescue, with a total of over £1050 raised. Thank you. And thanks too to all the team who contributed to the organisation – nimra committee, mountain rescue personal and others volunteering to assist including Dave Bell, Harry Teggarty and Stuart Cuningham on race timing and Liz Graham and Stephen O’Neill as sweepers.
And if you enjoyed this event, come back for more – the next two races in the calendar are out and back routes with little navigation involved – Sl Gullion on 3rd March, Glenariff on 10th March with the Hill and Dales series starting on 12th April.