The warning was Yellow on Meelbeg

From Yellow warnings of Thunder & Lightning, changing to warnings about rain, the Met office just couldn’t make up its mind.

Once the race organisers had contented themselves, that neither Thunder & Lightning, strong winds or heavy rain were any longer a threat to the athletes, the decision was made to mark out the Course, running over Meelbeg, with that long glorious ridge as the descent to the finish.

However, by the time the final markers had been placed, the fog had become so thick, that it was becoming a serious danger that the junior athletes would miss one of the 300 markers on the course and veer off in the direction of Fofanny Dam.

Plan B. Sadly this route too was ruled out, as the stream crossing near Meelmore lodge required wading!

Plan C.

The race start was moved back half an hour to allow a rapid course re mark by the fantastic race Marshalls and it was all systems go for the Trial.

The new route, started the runners from the open space just above the carpark at Happy valley, following the lane up the right side of the river, parallel to the wall, before rounding this at its corner near the quarry huts and descending back down the normal track on the other side of the stream.

As the athletes approached the finish area, they took a right onto the Mourne way, for an ‘Out and Back’ route to the Stream near Meelmore lodge, before finishing at Happy Valley.

Not to be perturbed by the slop and fog, Tom Crudgington of Newcastle AC lead from the gun, to run a lonely race, out of sight of his competitors, finishing in a fantastic time of 28:46, 3 mins exactly ahead of the new face of Mountain Running, Oisin Toye of Finn Valley. Oisin was followed by his club mate Diarmait, who had come home early from a family holiday in Spain, just for the U20 trial.

Nuala Bose of Finn Valley reversed the result from Ambleside 4 weeks previously with her clubmate Sarah Bradley, to win the U20 race in 33:27. Claragh Keane, already selected for IMRA, travelled up for the experience, to come home in 3rd place. Rebecca Magee, still tired from her longest run to date, the Seven 7’s, achieved 4th, securing her spot on the Team for the B&I in the process.

In the U17 race, Joshua Muckian of Slieve Gullion Runners, did something similar to Tom, winning by exactly 2 mins – you would think the time keepers were being lazy, but the back-up time keepers confirmed this apparent anomaly of timing. Ben Acheson, in his first Mountain Race, and first appearance for North Down AC, had a fantastic run to take 2nd. Ollie Robinson took 3rd in some borrowed mudclaws and Ethan McMullan secured 4th, despite stopping to help his fellow Ambleside teammate, Michael Houston, who had fallen. Ethan blew his whistle, while getting to Michael to get his out, with the instruction to keep blowing it until help arrived. Thankfully Michael suffered only cuts and bruises, but had to drop out of the race at that point.

Eimear McCarroll, fresh from a stunning 4th place in Ambleside, fell heavily on the initial climb, but managed to compose herself to win the U17 race. Meanwhile Lucy Cheatley made it the second 2nd for North Down AC, with Ciara Savage in 3rd and Mac Eager 4th.

Eimear’s brother, delighted to get the chance to race in the hills was the only U15, but he managed to place 12th overall – one to watch!

Next up we welcome teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland for the U20 and U17 British & Irish Championships. The teams will stay in Greenhill YMCA and race on Meelbeg.

128:46:00265TomCrudgingtonNewcastle ACU20 M
231:46:00251OisinToyeFinn Valley ACU20 M
333:00:00252DiarmaitKeoghFinn Valley ACU20 M
433:11:00260JoshuaMuckianSlieve Gullion RunnersU17 M
533:27:00257NualaBoseFinn Valley ACU20 F
635:11:00271BenAchesonNorth Down ACU17 M
736:05:00255SarahBradleyFinn Valley ACU20 F
836:40:00267OliverRobinsonEast Down ACU17 M
936:59:00259EthanMcMullanNewcastle ACU17 M
1037:24:00266ClaraghKeaneIMRAU20 F
1137:35:00256EimearMcCarrollFinn Valley ACU17 F
1237:37:00258CiaranMcCarrollNi UnattachedU15 M
1338:07:00264RebeccaMageeNewcastle ACU20 F
1438:38:00270LucyCheatleyNorth Down ACU17 F
1539:21:00254CiaraSavageNewcastle ACU17 F
1642:01:00268MacEagerNorth Down Athletics ClubU17 F
1744:43:00269HollieMasseyNorth Down ACU17 F
1845:03:00261YasinBranniganNewcastle ACU17 M
1949:27:00263PatrickMcDaidNewcastle ACU17 M
2051:44:00253AoibheannO’GormanNewcastle ACU17 F
21DNF262MichaelHoustonCity of DerryU20 M
U20 Male
1TomCrudgingtonNewcastle AC
2OisinToyeFinn Valley AC
3DiarmaitKeoghFinn Valley AC
U20 Female
1NualaBoseFinn Valley AC
2SarahBradleyFinn Valley AC
4RebeccaMageeNewcastle AC
U17 Male
1JoshuaMuckianSlieve Gullion Runners
2BenAchesonNorth Down AC
3OliverRobinsonEast Down AC
4EthanMcMullanNewcastle AC
5YasinBranniganNewcastle AC
6PatrickMcDaidNewcastle AC
U17 Female
1EimearMcCarrollFinn Valley AC
2LucyCheatleyNorth Down AC
3CiaraSavageNewcastle AC
4MacEagerNorth Down Athletics Club
5HollieMasseyNorth Down AC
6AoibheannO’GormanNewcastle AC
U15 Male

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