2023 Season Report


The overall winners of the nine race NIMRA Championship were Adam Cunningham (Mourne Runners) and Esther Dickson (Newry AC). Second places in the Championship were filled by Joshua McAtee & Jonny Steede 3rd . In ladies Bernadette O’Kane 2nd & Alexa James 3rd. Category winners were M40 Jonny Steede, M45 James Lappin, M50 Clive Bailey, M55 Stephen Hoey, M60 Colin Brennan & M70 Ricky Cowan. In the females the category winners were F40 Ciara Coffey, F45 Ruth Aiken, F50 Amanda Perry, F55 Aine McNeill. 12 ladies completed the championship and 36 men. No-one completed all 12 races.

Mourne Marauder British Championship Race 25th March 16km 1200 m
NIMRA hosted this event being the first of the British Championship races. 214 finishers of the route on a humid misty day with conditions very wet underfoot. William Cartwright (Matlock Athletic Club) won mens and Nicola Jackson (Keswick AC) the ladies. First local runner was Jarad Martin (Ballydrain Harriers) who came in 24th overall, with Jonny Steede in 38th. Esther Dickson (Newry AC) had great result for local ladies coming in 8th overall in female category followed by Martsje Hell (North Belfast Harriers).

Inter Counties – 7th May, Sedburgh, Cumbria
The Inter-Counties race involved a 14km course 760m climb & descent on grassy fast slopes. Jared Martin first NI Man home in an impressive 21st and 3rd U23 followed by Joshua McAtee 34th, Jack McKenna 35th, Andrew Tees 38th & John Marrs 57th. The team came 9th from 20 teams. In the ladies Aine Gosling came 17th, Martsje Hell 31st, Ciara Coffey 33rd and Bernadette O’Kane 48th and finished 8th team overall from 17 teams.

Mourne Mountain Challenges
10 people have ran DRR this year to date (3 women). Carol Morgan (Irish, living in Lake District, England) set a new woman’s record of 16:17:04.
There have been no completions of Cassie’s Challenge for 2023.
Harry Teggarty also completed a massive 100 peak challenge in June in 109:34:57 a distance of 170km and elevation of 13000m.

Slieve Donard Race
The Slieve Donard race is probably the oldest local mountain race, now in its 77th year. A new champion Paul Pruzina won in 51.48mins from Andrew Tees 2nd and Jonny Steede 3rd . Diane Wilson had a great run to win ladies in 1.05mins from Becky Quinn 2nd and Alexa James 3rd.

Senior Home International & Snowdon International Mountain Race– 15th July, Llanberis, Wales
The race incorporated both races in one. A male team comprised of Jarad Martin, Tom Crudgington, Andrew Tees, Joshua McAtee, Adam Cunningham & James Miller. A female team of Esther Dickson, Naomi McCurry & Alexa James. Unfortunately due to adverse bad weather the course was shortened to 640m climb 2/3rd of the way up and return. Jarad was first home followed by Tom, Andrew, Joshua, Adam and James. Esther first in ladies followed by Naomi & Alexa.

Ben Nevis Mountain Race 2nd September
Many NIMRA members attended and completed this tough mountain race, notable results were Jonny Steede in 29th, Rebecca Magee 1st U23 and Kathleen Monteverde 1st F60.

Zak Hanna continued his good form and list his results below:

1st Race over the Glens
1st-Slieve Binnian race
27th-World Mountain Running Championships
4th-Broken Arrow VK (USA)
14th-Broken Arrow Skyrace (USA)

Also notable results were Billy Reed who participated in the Barkley Marathon in Tennessee and also completed the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 100 Mile (UTS100) on 12th May finishing 22nd overall in 34hrs 23mins. Aaron Simmons ran a Swiss Ultra.

A big thank you as always to the race organisers, volunteers and the NIMRA Committee putting a lot of hard work and effort into organising a successful NIMRA Championship and organising international teams to represent NIMRA and ANI. NIMRA have also been in negotiations with IMRA to make it an all inclusive sport and to try and not clash with dates of races and to both support each organisation. Apologies to anyone I have missed who I have not mentioned.

NIMRA also hosted a Charity Race for Mourne Mountain Rescue and raised £1500.

Junior Mountain Running Season 2023

Selection Trials
U18 – Slieve Croob – March

continues to be a positive trial venue, with welcoming landowners. 2 laps provides a suitable trial for U18 course this year, with extensive grass in Annecy course.
2024 course is forested, so new venue is needed to provide accurate trial.

U17 & U20 – Scrabo – August

good use of existing race, with very helpful race director.

rolling nature of the course was a suitable trial for the selection event.

More athletes didn’t attend trial due to holiday plans – need to highlight this at the start of the season to avoid clash.

Training Days

Rostrevor – April

Comment was made by athletes about how effectively this mimicked the trial course in Limerick – Jonny Steede can be commended for his homework in preparing this course, and the number of athletes selected for Irish Team confirms this.

Cairncastle – August
Feedback again was very positive, with a tough session planned – worth doing again if it suits the 2024 course.

International U18 – 25th – 28th May Annecy, France

8 athletes – only 3 of whom had competed at this level before.
2 Managers – Nikki Graham and Phil Hodge
Katie Graham 21st – a stunning result, and the highest for a female U18 N.I. & Ulster athlete since we started sending female teams 6 years ago. Next up were Niamh Campbell and Alanna Rose Farley in 42nd and 43rd with Jessica Blaney in 49th
The girls achieved 11th team from 13 countries
Tiarnan McManus 41st, Joshua Muckian 44th only 4 seconds ahead of Oliver Playfair, who in turn was approx. 25 seconds ahead of Finn Valley athlete Ciaran McCarroll in 47th.
The lads finished 12th team

  • Girls team performance and Katies individual – Katie shows massive potential, and every effort should be made to nurture and develop it, as she shows a commitment to the mountains long term, with long term realistic prospects on the Senior Irish team.
    _ Seek opportunities to develop the athletes race at pace on the hills in good competition – some struggled to remain in contention.
  • World Championship – 8th June – Innsbruck, Austria
    Irish Team.
    While not a NIMRA team, we sent 5 junior athletes as part of the U20 Irish Squad, as well as Phil Hodge as a Team Manager.
    Highlights were Tom Crudgington achieving a stunning 27th from 72 athletes. Sadly, the effort and the heat were too much for Tom and he collapsed over the line, needing medical attention. After several hours recovery, he was released to rejoin his team later in the afternoon. Colum O’Neill was next for Ireland in 42nd, followed by Ryan McCarthy in 65th and Ethan McMullan in 68th.
    These results were good enough for 10th team from 16, just behind the hosts Austria in 9th – a stunning performance.
    The U20 females were lead by Katie Graham in 36th followed by Eimear McCarroll in 38th.
    9th team, four points ahead of Argentina in 10th.
  • To have the top male and top 2 female results on the Irish Team, was a stunning achievement.
    _ Similar to previous competition, creating more competitive training opportunities needs to be a priority going forward.
    _ need to flag passport issue now to avoid passport delays. Irish management have said athletes won’t be able to trial without valid irish passport, after two years of problems post selection.

British & Irish Championships – 10th Sept Peebles, Scotland

15 Athletes, 3 managers – Nikki Graham, John Rogan, Phil Hodge
7 new athletes, with no previous Mountain running race international race experience.
With Tom Crudgington injured and so many new faces, medals prospects were slim.
However, when looking at individual performances, the results were very pleasing.
Highlights – Katie Graham again showed her talent with 8th from 25 despite some ongoing health issues. Anna Russell and Aoife Magee ran brilliantly in 19th and 20th and we would be confident of further improvements by these two next year.
U20 female highlight was Eimear McCarroll in 10th – Eimear has performed well at this level before.
U17 Male – Luke O’Doherty – 18th from 30 – fantastic debut, despite clashing triathlon the day before (which he won) – need to avoid for next year.
U20 male – delighted to see Ethan McMullan achieve 17th from 25 – Ethan has been on the team for a number of years, making incremental gains each year.
Overall teams – U17F – 4/5, U20F – 4/5, U17M – 5/5, U20M 5/5
+Good individual performance
_ need to develop pace in training as a squad to bring whole team on a few places

Further reflections on 2023 season.

Positives – Management assistance from Nikki Graham and John Rogan. Nikki offers significant help in terms of admin, planning and logistics, while John continues to bring coaching judgement regarding selection and specific helpful advice to athletes at and in preparation for competition. Both have expressed and willingness and enthusiasm to be involved to a greater degree next year.
Jonny Steede has brought a really helpful element to the prep of athletes through recces of courses and the creation of suitable training days. This has been invaluable and I would be very keen to explore whether he is open to developing this further.
KIT – we have loved the kit this year. Need to explore our orders with Playrfit further to see if the 6 week lead time can be reduced as it put significant pressure on kit orders post selection.
In conclusion a very positive year, with the junior program having consolidated, with opportunities for further collaboration with the Irish teams now opening up, with both management teams keen to use the links to help us develop our selected athletes more fully for International competition.

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