Mourne Marauder produces epic racing

After a wet week a few calls needed to be made to make sure that at least Saturday would be dry for the 218 runners ready to put their toe on the start line. With plenty of talent in the field of runners there was much debate about how long it would take the lead runner to complete the race. It is not easy running heading up Slieve Donard by the quarry and added to the fact that the decent from Slieve Commedagh would be treacherous due to the amount of rain last week.

After our crack sign on team got everyone their numbers and dibbers assigned it was time for the final race briefing. The runners then made their way to Donard Park ready for the whistle to start the race. It didnt take long for the first runners to get to the first checkpoint at the quarry with Alexander Chepelin of Carnethy Hill Racing Club setting the early pace. William Cartwright of Matlock Athletic Club was hot on his tail on the way up to Slieve Donard summit. The Ambleside pair of Ben Sharrock and Matthew Elkington would lead the chase group behind. The first female to lead the way was Nichola Jackson from Keswick AC with Naomi Lang of Carnethy Hill Racing Club and Hannah Russell of Helm Hill Runners trying to chase her down.

William Cartwright on his way to victory

The rare sight of sunshine would make the task of navigating to the summit of Chimney Rock mountain much easier than normal however the heat would take its toll on quite a few expecting a cold run. As the race back to Slieve Commedagh started runners could see who was chasing who and get the opportunity to few the great scenery before tackling the steep climb.

In the mens race William Cartwright had taken the lead and would press on down a slippy and rocky descent to the firebreak. Alexander Chepelin would chase William all the way down to the finish line but would be unable to make the catch allowing William Cartwright to claim the victory in 1hr 33min. The battle to complete the podium would be won by Ben Sharrock even after takign a few tumbles on the descent to the fire break.

The women’s race would see Nichola Jackson hold on the that early lead and finish the course in 1hr 47 mins. The race for the other podium places would be fought all the way with Naomi Lang snatching second place from Hannah Russell.

Nicola Jackson finishing the punishing descent on the way to claim victory

For the locals we would see Jared Martin of Ballydrain Harriers lead the way finishing in 25th place with a very impressive run. Esther Dickson of Newry AC produced a fantastic run taking a top 10 finish and first local lady home.

Once the competitors had completed the race and managed to get a slip of paper giving them the splits it was time to head back to the HQ and get a decent cup of soup and a sandwich or two. Many thanks for all the ladies who organised the food as I am told by more than a few that you saved lives.

The racing was at the very highest level with competitors having a few war stories to take home with the cuts and bruises. The race wouldn’t take place without the wonderful time and effort put in by the many volunteers who helped from Marshalling to sorting sign on to clearing up afterwards.

All that was left was the prize giving and to head out to sort out the dehydration issues. Many thanks to all the competitors who came over to the Mournes and I hope you took back great memories. Hopefully we will see you again net year.

The full results can be found here

The photos can be found on our Facebook page – feel free to use them

Helm Hill sorting out the rehydration

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