NIMRA Donard Wood Trail Race 2019
by Ian Taylor
5 miles, 300 metres climb.
Congratulations to winners Timothy Johnston and Sarah Graham who both repeated their victories of 2018, but not without some stiff competition. 58 competitors from 13+ clubs were attracted to this early season warmup. While the race had no entry fee it more than made up for this in generous donations, with £972 raised for the Mourne Mountain Rescue team.
There was fast and furious competition between the leading men, with Timothy Johnston (Mourne), Jonathan Scott (Mourne) and Jonny Steede (Glens) close together in around 13:25 at the quarry. Following a very rapid descent, the outcome was in doubt right to the line with Timothy just winning in 30:01, a new record with Jonathan 4 seconds behind and Jonny a further second later.
In the ladies’ categories, Sarah Graham of Mourne Runners had an easier race, winning in 37:10, just inside her 2018 record and almost two minutes ahead of Sinead Murtagh (Newcastle) with Bernadette O’Kane of Dub in third place. Rebecca Magee (Dromore) was fourth and first junior female.
In the veteran categories, an impressive performance was put in by Ernest Hall, 27th overall and as a vet65 well clear of very many younger competitors. Second vet65 was Ricky Cowan, about to move into the more elite Vet70 category. In the younger age groups junior Jared Martin (Scrabo) finished 4th in 33:16 and will clearly cause problems for open athletes in future races. Dale Mathers , vet55, (Mourne) was first out of all the vets, in 10th place overall. Visitor William Hooey of Dark Peak was first vet50 with other category winners being Steven Todd (VET45), Roger McCormick vet40, Hugh Suffern vet60.
In the ladies master categories, first vet40 was Sharon Dickenson of Lagan Valley, vet45 Helen Weir of North Belfast, vet50 Orla McElroy and ever present vet55 Pauline O’Hara of BARF.
And thanks too to all the team who contributed to the organisation – nimra committee out marshalling, mountain rescue personal and others volunteering to assist including Denise Mathers and Aine MacNeill on registration and race timing, Anne Sandford and Harry Teggarty at the finish and Liz Graham and Stephen O’Neill as sweepers.
And if you enjoyed this event, come back for more – the next two races in the calendar are out and back routes with little navigation involved – Sl Gullion on 2nd March (entry on the day), Glenariff on 9th March (entry online only by 5th March), Donard-Commedagh on 30th March with the Hill and Dales series starting on 11th April.