Inter-Counties 2024 Report

A fine start to the season for the NIMRA internationals!

The 1st International trip of the season saw a x4 female and x5 male strong NIMRA team travel to Keswick, England to compete in the British Intercounties Senior Mountain race on 21/04/2024. This year’s race also doubled up as the British Athletics trial race for the  “up and down” event at the Senior European Off-Road Running Championships due to take place in Annecy, France from 31st May to 2nd June 2024. Around 200 athletes were toeing the line on the day in an attempt to bring their county glory and hopefully sneak a place on the plane to France with team GB.

Ryan, Tom, Jared, Joshua, Catriona, Martjse, Tanya, Alexa & Ashley

The NIMRA team travelled the day before the race full of hope which soon turned to despair when they realised debutant NI international Ashley Crutchley’s affinity for plain chicken and rice would take them on an extensive tour of rural England. Thankfully, they reached the pinnacle of luxury at Borrowdale YHA hostel in complete darkness and went straight to bed to rest the pins for the 16.3km and 900m hill extravaganza ahead of them the following day.

Martjse enjoying the course

Race day commenced with some of the NIMRA team devastating the hostel’s Rice Krispies and Earl Grey stock levels for years to come. We also felt that 4hrs prior to the start was the optimal time to attempt to map out the course to decide on the best shoe choice for the day. Unfortunately this late decision meant that some of the team would be returning home in their shower flip flops. We soon realised we would be dealing with hard pack trails as opposed to the grassy mud claw slopes promised by male captain Ryan…… To be fair, Ryan has never been renowned for his map reading skills having got lost in more NIMRA races than Ashley has had chicken and rice dinners, so the team should have known better

Catriona & Jared happy with a good afternoons work

As we approached Keswick in daylight this time, we were greeted with cloudy but near perfect running conditions. The stunning site of the peaks of Latrigg, Lonscale Fell and Skiddaw Little Man (which formed the race route) was enough to get the adrenaline going for NIMRA men and ladies. Which is lucky enough given the team decided to have a photo shoot about 20 minutes before the male race started. Sucking in air and trying to tense seemed to do the trick as Tom Crudgington (M23), Jared Martin, Ashley Crutchley (M23), Joshua McAtee and Ryan Stewart all set off at 1pm with vigour. The ladies burst into action 15 minutes later with Martsje Hell, Catriona Edington, Tanya Cumming and Alexa James in hot pursuit of the chaps

Tom on the zig-zags

The race route started from Fitz Park with a fairly gentle climb up to Latrigg via switch backs before a steady grassy descent. Following a couple undulating kms, the team were met with the unrelenting grassy climb to the summit of Lonscale Fell which was the lion’s share of the climb for the route. There was a final short and sharp uphill push to the summit of Skiddaw Little Man before a 3 mile quad destroyer descent back to Fitz Park. 

Alexa going well

The men’s podium of Kris Jones (Scotland East), Robbie SImpson (Scotland North) and Joe Steward (Greater Manchester) were separated by 18 seconds with Kris thumb upping the crowd to glory in a blistering 01:05:17

The ladies race saw Scout Adkin (Cumbria) rip the course to shreds and finish in an astonishing  01:15:37 (34th Overall)  with a 3min 24 sec lead on the 2nd lady Eve Pannone (Cumbria). The female podium was completed by Naomi Long (Scotland East)

Joshua on the hunt

Our NIMRA athletes put in the following solid performances:

21st Jared Martin 01:13:21

27th Tom Crudgington 01:14:38  (5th M23)

40th Ryan Stewart 01:17:56

50th Joshua McAtee 01:20:32

56th Ashley Crutchley 01:22:16

34th Martsje Hell 01:36:11

35th Catriona Edington 01:36:52

38th Tanya Cumming 01:37:34

56th Alexa James 01:45:21


Men: 7th out of 22 

Female: 10th out of 17

There is one thing for sure, there will be 9 people in Northern Ireland with 10% of the energy they normally would today. This was a truly epic event that was filled with laughs and real gnarly, tongue out running. A real eye opener not only for the standard of fell running on the mainland but also for how a regime of cow uddermint cream can be utilised to ease sore muscles….. Ask Ashley for more info this innovative product….

Something is telling Ashley he won’t forget this weekend in a hurry!

You may also like...