Inter-Counties Llanberis 2016 Report
by Mari Troeng
A team of 9 mountain runners (5 men and 4 women) were selected to represent Northern Ireland at Ras Moel Eilio and the inter-counties mountain running championships 14th of May. The race was held in the heart of Snowdonia with start and finish in Llanberis. In perfect clear weather a field of 291 runners set off on a tough 8 mile course incorporating 900m of climb. After a steep initial climb along a tarmac road the course continued onto the open hillside towards the summit of Moel Eilio. An undulating stretch followed along the ridge connecting the summits of Foel Gron and Foel Goch which was extremely grassy and runnable underfoot. This was followed by a final climb up Moel Cynghorion before a rough descent and an easy run along a stone road to the finish.
The men’s race was won by Ben Mounsey (Yorkshire) in 1:00:31 with the top ten finishers all within 3 minutes. William McKee (Mourne Runners) was the first of the Northern Irish man home in an extremely strong 15th position in a time of 1:04:53.
The Under 23 race was run within the race and was won by Maximillian Nicholls (Kent) in a time of 1.01.05 and 4th overall. Zac Hanna (Newcastle AC) who was competing in the Under 23 category on his international debut with an impressive 1:06:44 finishing 30th overall and 5th in the under 23 category.
Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC) and David Hicks (Newcastle AC) were also both making their international debuts and finished in 1:09:11 and 1:10:45 taking 38th and 46th places. Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners) who was a last minute call up to the team following an injury to Sam Herron crossed the line in a time of 1:12:32 and 59th place overall.
The team competition used the best three runners placings and Yorkshire were the run away winners with a total of 18 points. Second was North Wales with a total of 44 points with Greater Manchester completing the podium with 51 points. Northern Ireland’s men had a total of 79 points which placed them in 7th position overall out of the 20 counties who had 3 eligible scorers.
In the ladies competition Heidi Dent (Cumbria) won the race in a time of 1:08:42 which was good enough for 37th place overall and nearly 4 minutes ahead of second place. The Under 23 ladies race was won by Scotland East’s Scout Adkin in a time of 1:12:45 which placed her 4th lady and 65th overall.
Megan Wilson (East Down AC) was the first Northern Irish lady home in a time of 1:19:14 and 18th place. Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC) was next in a time of 1:31:58 for 42nd place followed by Paula McAllister (Ballymena Runners) in a time of 1:32:34 for 43rd place. Mari Troeng (Newcastle AC) was sixteen seconds slower in a time of 1:32:50 for 44th place.
With all three runners on the podium Cumbria had a perfect score of 6 points, with Yorkshire in second with 24 points, closely followed by Scotland East with a total of 26 points. The Northern Irish ladies finished in 10th position overall with a total of 103 points.
The following morning saw the Northern Irish team take the opportunity to run up Snowdon on a beautiful cloudless morning ahead of the race in July before rushing to catch their flights and ferries home.