NIMRA Championship 2013 Report

Now that the the fell running season is starting to wind down it is time to reflect on the NIMRA championship which concluded after the Bearnagh race on the second last Saturday in August.

The series kicked off on a dank, misty day in Slieve Gullion Forest Park. It seemed that Jonny Steede, just like Chris Froome, had been sitting around the house all winter itching to get going. When the gun went he was off like a rocket into the mist. Unfortunately for The Steede he charged up the mountain, got lost in the mist, never located the summit and was promptly disqualified. This allowed Stephen Cunningham to get the first points on the board closely followed by Deon McNeilly and Neil Carty. Two of the main contenders for the ladies title were also hampered by the winter weather. Shileen O’Kane and Diane Wilson managed to find the summit, but unfortunately took a wrong turn on the descent and were also red carded. Their rival, Denise Mathers, took the points on this occasion.

A murky start to the year in Gullion Park

A murky start to the year in Gullion Park

The next round started in the Silent Valley. This race was coincidentally scheduled to coincide with our arctic spell when the mountain was liberally carpeted with snow and ice. The route, bookended by Moolieve and Slievenaglogh, took in Binnian, Doan, and the Bann road. Full prizes to all that ran that day as it was definitely one for the hardy fell runner. After a long slog through the snow there were only three minutes separating the top two runners in both races with Cunningham getting the better of Steede and Wilson edging out O’Kane.

Winter awaited on Binnian at the Silent Valley race

Winter awaited on Binnian at the Silent Valley race

Eventually the winter weather receded and the third round on the Annalong Horseshoe took place on a bright, crisp spring day. This long event which takes in Chimney, Commedagh, Beg, Cove, Lamigan and Binnian is a firm favourite on the calendar. On this occasion there was no sign of the Steede as he was off winning the Lost Worlds 100K Ultra Race. This left Cunningham, McNeilly and Carty to battle it out. By the time the runners had reached Lamigan Cunningham had a clear lead on McNeilly which he held all the way to the finish. In the other race Wilson was on a hot streak of form and left O’Kane trailing in her fiery wake.

The start of the Annalong Horseshoe

The start of the Annalong Horseshoe

The first championship race of the summer saw competitors running from Blackstaff to Carlingford. The only point-to-point event on the calendar sees runners navigating their way over a lot of open mountain ground with many different challenges; Thankfully, this year, fog was not one of them. In the men’s conjugated estrogens buy online race Cunningham, McNeilly and Carty took to the starting line; there was still no sign of the Steede after his Ultra race a few weeks earlier. The race kicked off at a fast lick and by the time it reached the top of Slieve Foy McNeilly and Cunningham had an established lead. Cunningham, who runs on all surfaces like they are tarmac, dropped off Foy into Carlingford with typical aplomb to edge out McNeilly. In the ladies event Diane Wilson was, once again, too good for her rivals and finished six minutes in front of O’Kane in second.

McNeilly and Cunningham on their way to Carlingford

McNeilly and Cunningham on their way to Carlingford

The daddy of all the NIMRA fell races, the Seven Sevens, was scheduled as round five. This tough undertaking encompasses the seven biggest peaks in the Mournes. The Steede returned for this race, but the top three men in the championship – Cunningham, McNeilly and Carty – sat it out. From the gun The Steede set a ferocious pace and reached the top of Donard in around thirty seven minutes; try doing that when you don’t have another six mountains and three hours of running ahead of you. Suffice to say he conquered the event followed by Seamus Lynch and Dale Mathers. In the ladies race O’Kane and McLaughlin were off racing elsewhere so this left Mathers and Wilson to battle it out. It may come as no surprize to hear that Diane set a record breaking time en-route to winning the race.

 

One of our Catalonian friends running on Binnian during the Seven Sevens

One of our Catalonian friends running on Binnian during the Seven Sevens

The last obstacle in the series was the wall that is Slieve Bearnagh and it’s race namesake. The podium places in the championship had already been decided by this stage so runners were competing solely for bragging rights and the ‘big’ prize money. From the gun Cunningham and Steede were out the front of the men’s race. As expected the rough ground and steep climbs worked to Cunningham’s advantage and he led over the tops of all the hills and down the slope of Meelmore to the finishing tape. Diane Wilson performed well in the ladies race to beat Anne Stanford by a clear margin.

The NIMRA Champs 2013 (Cunningham centre and Wilson right)

The NIMRA Champs 2013 (Cunningham centre and Wilson right)

The NIMRA championship would not be possible without an army of volunteers.  Thanks to all those that made a cup of tea, stood on a hill, marked out a course, etc, etc.  We salute you.

 Overall Championship Standings

     GullionBearnaghSilent ValleyFlagstaffAnnalongSevens 
AgeShort 1Short 2Medium 1Medium 2Long 1Long 2Points
1StephenCunninghamMourne Runners35200200200200200800
2DeonMcNeillyNewcastle50198197199199793
3NeilCartyNorth Belfast Harriers45197198194198198791
4CliveBaileyMourne Runners40195196197197198787
5EmmetMcAllisterBallymena Runners0194197193195196782
6PeteGrantNewry City Runners45178195187193188197773
7AlexBrennanBallymena Runners35192194190192193771
8PhilipHodge0186192192190760
9JonathanMcCloyBallymena Runners0196196186181759
10GerryKingstonBARF45174190185189738
11BarryWellsNewcastle AC50193181186177737
12GarthMcGimpseyMourne Runners0189184181183737
13CecilMcCulloughMourne Runners50175180183175182720
14GarethMcKeownBARF45169187176180173177720
15StewartCunninghamMourne Runners60185177181172715
16StephenWallaceMurlough AC50173179180174706
17RickyCowanMourne Runners60164182176168176702
18Willie JohnBrownMourne Runners60168173178170689
19HarryTeggartyMourne Runners60166172177171686
20ClarkeCampbellBARF45161170173167173677
21WilliamMarksMourne Runners35191194194192771
22AaronShimmons0167184169180700
23JonnySteedeBallymena Runners0199199200598
24DaleMathersNewry City Runners45190195199584
25SimonReeveNorth Belfast Harriers35190191195576
26BillyReedEast Antrim Harriers45189191196576
27SamuelHeronMourne Runners0179195193567
28GarethBorelandBARF35183188189560
29JimBrownBARF50185184188557
30EugeneMcCannNewcastle50184188182554
31AndrewGreggLarne AC45182187184553
32TrevorWilsonBARF50183179175537
33AndrewMcGibbonBARF45165181174520
34KevinMurdockTeam Purple45185191376
35JustinMaxwellLarne0187186373
36MartinMullanBARF0186186372
37BryanMageeLarne40188183371
38ColmMcAlindenMourne Runners0183185368
39RichardHannaMourne Runners0176191367
40MarkKing0178185363
41LaurenceDormanMourne Runners0180179359
42DavidBellMourne Runners50170182352
43DaleSmithLarne40171172343
44IanTaylorBARF65160166326
45PaulMcAnespieArmagh40199199
46IainWhitesideCarnethy HRC0198198
47DavidMcNeillyNewcastle0196196
48JohnTrainor0194194
49ColumCampbellNewcastle AC35193193
50PJMcCrickardNewcastle35192192
51CathalMcGreevy0191191
52StephenSloanMourne Runners0190190
53DominicMcGreevyNewcastle55189189
54MauriceHarteTeam Purple35189189
55MikeBartonMourne Runners60188188
56PatrickBradleyNewcastle40187187
57DeclanMcElroyNewcastle50187187
58DominicMcInerneyMurlough AC0184184
59TimWilsonBARF35182182
60RichardBellMourne Runners35181181
61DeclanMageeNewcastle45180180
62ColmKellyBARF0179179
63BrendanO'HaganTeam Purple55178178
64CliveCoffeyPhysio & Co45178178
65BrianWilsonNewcastle0177177
66CoreyUrwinLarne40176176
67PeterBellPegasus AC55175175
68DonalMcCaul0175175
69LaurenceHamiltonNewcastle40174174
70RobertBrownNewcastle AC45174174
71PaddyMallonBARF45172172
72DamianCunninghamMourne Runners45172172
73DavidEwartBARF40171171
74NoelDouglasMourne Runners55163163
75DonalO'KaneBARF50162162
     GullionBearnaghSilent ValleyFlagstaffAnnalongSevens 
AgeShortShortMediumMediumLongLongPoints
1DianeWilsonLagan Valley0200200200200200800
2ShileenO'KaneLagan Valley AC40199199199199796
3DeniseMathersNewry Triathlon45199197197195199792
4HazelMcLaughlinLagan Valley35197196196196785
5MaryMackinDromore AC55198196195194783
6VioletLinton0200198197595
7AnneSandfordLagan Valley45198198198594
8LauraHamill0198198
9PauletteThompsonMurlough AC35197197
10DearbhlaMageeNewcastleJ195195
11LizMcLaughlinu/a45194194

Note: To achieve a placing in the championship you must have completed at least four races and at least one from each distance category.  These results are provisional.

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