British Championship: Seven Sevens
Saturday 25th April, Start 10am.
The Seven Sevens is a classic long race in the Mournes. This race has been used for the Northern Ireland Championship on several occasions. It gets its name as it takes in the seven highest peaks over 700m in the Mourne Mountain range. The 19 mile long route opens up the delights of this granite mountain range; from the monolithic rocks on the Binnian plateau, to Slieve Bearnagh’s angular rocky tors guarded by steep faces, to the more mellow grassy slopes of Commedagh.
This race was last used in the British Championship in 2015. On that day Kim Collison and Jasmin Paris finished the day with new course records; if you are asking that was 3:30:34 and 3:49:34, respectively. That race took place on a sunny August Saturday. This year the event will take place in April; what might the weather gods hold in store for us is anyone’s guess.
The course itself starts at sea level in Newcastle before climbing 850m to the top of Slieve Donard. From there it’s a short up and down to the top of Commedagh. The route continues on to the beast of Bearnagh; this is the toughest mountain in the range which is guarded on both sides by steep, rocky pitches. This is followed by a short technical climb up Meelmore before hitting the grassy slopes of Meelbeg. At the top of Meelbeg it’s time to reach for the compass as the race veers away from the Mourne Wall and onto the grassy plane that runs between the mountains of Ben Crom and Doan before snaking around to Ben Crom reservoir. The granite fortress of Binnian Mountain now looms large and there are a couple of route choices depending on your appetite for climbing. On Binnian’s South Tor the race briefly runs back on itself to the final challenge of Lamagan. This mountain used to be ringed in gorse but since a fire a few years ago has become less off putting. At its summit you might think you have finished, but there is still the matter of Beg and Cove mountains to get round and then the granite steps back down the Glen River to contend with.
This race is a firm favourite. It is a real test of mountain craft, mental strength and athletic ability. Are you ready for the challenge?
ENTRIES. Pre-entry £20. This event will have a limited entry cap of 350. Entries will open on the 6th January 2020 at 8.00pm and close on the 1st April 2020 or when entry limit is reached. Please use the online entry system as it integrates with our results system and helps our race administration. No entries on the day. Enter at www.nimra.org.uk. A list of race entries will be published on the web site. Fee includes light refreshment, showers, car parking, use of Sportident (Si ) race management/results system. All Si cards are provided and pre-logged onto the system; no personal Si cards can be used. All entrants must be members of a registered club. Substitutions are not allowed. Min. age 18. Teams free.
VENUE Donard Park, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.Parking, toilets and showers. GR373306.
Registration, refreshments and prize giving will be at Race HQ in Newcastle Baptist Church Hall, 17,Bryansford Road Newcastle BT33 0HJ (as for last years championship race) which is 400m from Donard Park.
There are plenty of B&Bs, guesthouses and self-catering cottages in the area with Newcastle the main centre. Newcastle has a Youth Hostel and there is a well-appointed campsite at Tollymore Forest Park. Meelmore Lodge on the north side of the Mournes (GR305307) has a basic campsite, showers and a café. Other accommodation details are available from Tourist Information offices.
Newcastle Tourist Office, Central Promenade, Newcastle Co. Down, BT33 0AA. 028 4372 2222
Tollymore Campsite 028 4372 2428
Meelmore Lodge 028 4372 6657
Newcastle YH 028 4372 2133
This race starts at sea level in Donard Park and follows a marked course as far as Donard bridge.
Now your route choices begin!!!
Note that all checkpoints must be visited in the following order: –
Checkpoint Map Reference
Start Donard Park 374305
1 Sl Donard 358277 (Summit)
2 Sl Commedagh 346286 (Tower)
3 Sl Bearnagh 313280 (Wall corner)
4 Sl Meelmore 305286 (Stile)
5 Sl Meelbeg 301279 (S/Side of wall)
6 Ben Crom Dam 314256 (Gate)
7 Sl Binnian 320234 (S/Tor)
8 Slievelamagan 329260 (Summit cairn)
Finish Donard Park 374307
Maps covering the area of the race route are The Mourne Country Outdoor Pursuits Map (LPS) and the Harvey Mourne Mountains Map 1:25,000
The route will be marked from Donard Bridge to the finish in Donard Park.
Compulsory kit. All runners must carry, no matter what the weather conditions. Waterproof whole body cover (with taped seams and integrated hood)
Hat+gloves+whistle +Compass+foil blanket Map of the entire course. (Black and White photocopy not acceptable.)
Some food for emergency use. All runners’ kit will be checked at registration before receiving your race number and spot-checked before the race can start. (So bring your kit with you to registration!!!)
As this is a long and challenging race you must be prepared for all eventualities especially if the weather is bad, as your navigation will be tested. Hot weather on the other hand presents problems with getting sources of water, as it is scarce on long sections of the course. If you do have to pull out tell a marshal (if possible) and return by the safest direct route and report to the race organisers at the finish when you get back to Donard Park so that we know you are safely off the hills. Hand back your Si card (dibber). For those who plan to carry a mobile phone, the emergency contact number will be displayed at sign on for you to add to your contacts.
TRAVEL. By air, you can travel to Belfast City and Belfast International airports. Easy jet to Belfast International airport, BMI to Belfast City.
You can travel to Belfast and Larne by ferry from Cairnryan, also Dublin/ DunLaoghaire from Holyhead. Stena, P&O and Seacat all operate services.
P&O: 0870 24 24 777 www.poirishsea.com
Stena: 08705 70 70 70 www.stenaline.co.uk