Welcome to the junior section of NIMRA. Here you will find  information for juniors who are interested in mountain running and information for their parents.

Mountain running, also known as ‘hill running’ or ‘fell running’ is a sport which keeps growing every year. It caters for every type of runner from fun runner to dedicated international athletes. Races can vary from 3 km to 128 km and are run over a variety of terrains from forest tracks to rough open mountain-sides but all include a large element of climbing. Most races, but not all, involve running up and down. Improvement and confidence comes from experience and training. Hazards include slips, trips and falls on the rough terrain with potential steep sections, rocks, tufts of vegetation and holes. Junior courses are selected to minimise these risks.

The season generally runs from March to September with local, national and international races to compete in.

Juniors races are generally shorter and less exposed than senior races so similar kit to XC races would be adequate. Shoes should have a good grip and it would be worthwhile investing a dedicated pair of ‘fell’ running shoes. You should also bring a lightweight waterproof jacket and trousers, a compass, map of the course and whistle in case the race requires some safety kit. This won’t usually be a requirement for most junior races but always bring to races in case it is required. A bumbag or similar to carry these items in would also be useful.  

Races for juniors are limited for distance depending on age, in order to protect younger athletes developing bodies. UK Athletics has specified the maximum length of course that juniors can race.

U13 – 3km

U14 – 5km

U16 – 7km

U18 – 10km 

Additionally race organisers may impose more restrictive age limits depending on the nature of the race.

Senior races are split into the following categories:

Short – 10km or less, over 16’s may participate if course director allows.

Medium – over 10km but les than 20km. Juniors not allowed to enter.

Long – over 20km in length. Juniors are not allowed to enter.

Current races for 2020

Juniors are allowed to participate in the following races. Please see notes for individual races for age restrictions. ‘C’ denotes a NIMRA Junior Championship race, details below.

RaceAgeDateOrganisersDistance / climbGeneral Information
Slieve Guillon16 and over7th March, 2020Armagh AC6.3 km / 340 metres
Short race heading up the north ridge of Sl. Guillion. Please see NIMRA site for more info.
16 and over14th March, 2020Glen Runners9.7 km / 370m
‘The Potato Run’ which heads up Glenariff mountain from the village
U18 World Champs Trial16/172nd April, 2020St. Malachy’s HS5 km / 150m
Trial for the U18 World Champs in Ambleside, Lake District. ENTER 5KM ONLY if seeking selection
Hill & Dale CastlewellanC16 and over9th April, 2020Newcastle AC8km / 300m
Tour of Castlewellan Forest park
Hill & Dale Tollymore
14 and over16th April, 2020Newcastle AC6,6 km / 330m
Includes NAC junior race though Tollymore to the Hill with no name.
Hill & Dale Sl. Martin
16 and over23rd April, 2020Newcastle AC6.6 km / 520m
Up through Kilbroney woods to summit.
Hill & Dale BinnianC14 and over30th April, 2020Newcastle AC2.6 km / 550m
Includes NAC junior race. The only Uphill only  race!
Euro Trials
Mt. Leinster
16/173rd May, 2020IMRA6.5 km / 320m
Must be registered with IMRA to run.
Hill & Dale Rocky
16 and over7th May,2020Newcastle AC6 km / 380m
Tour of the West
16 and over16th May,2020Newcastle AC9.4 km / 840m
The Big One!
Hill & Dale
Luke’s Mt.
16 and over21st May,2020Newcastle AC7.2 km / 443m
Trassey, Slievenaglogh and Luke’s
Hill & Dale 
16 and over28th May, 2020Newcastle AC7.2 km / 500m
Donard Wood through to Millstone and down
Hill & Dale L. Shannagh
16 and over4th June, 2020Newcastle AC6.7 km / 475m
Circuit of Lough Shannagh including Doan
Hill & Dale Meels 
14 and over11th June,2020Newcastle AC4.4k m / 500m
Traverse of Happy Valley
Hill &Dale 
14 and over19th June, 2020Newcastle AC5.4 km / 257m
The last one! 
U18 World Cup
16/1720th June 2020WMRA5 KM / 240mhttps://www.amblesidemountaincup.com/
European Champs, Portugal16 – 194th July 2020European Athletics
More details to follow
BernaghC16 and over1st August. 2020Mourne Runners6.1 km / 680m
Happy Valley to MeelBeg – Bernagh -Meelmore to Happy valley
British & Irish Champs Trials16 and over22nd Aug,2020NIMRATBC – provisionally 22nd AugustTry out for U17 and U19 squads
British & Irish Champs16 and over12th Sept, 2020NIMRATBCU17 and U19 Squads

League Series and Championships

Juniors have access to Newcastle AC (NAC) Hill and Dale Series and the NIMRA Junior Championship. 

NAC Hill and Dale series takes place over 10 races. Anyone over the age of 16 can enter all the races and compete for the U18 title. However within the series are 4 junior races for 14 -15 year olds with the overall winner gaining the U16 title. These races run alongside the senior races and give a great insight into the skill of mountain running. Please see NAC’s website for more information.

The NIMRA Junior Championship includes the following short NIMRA races;

  1. Glenariff
  2. Donard
  3. Bernagh

In addition, it includes The NAC series outlined above with the athletes best four results to count. Athletes are competing for U17 Male and Female Champion and U19 Male and Female Champion.

The Championship will be decided based on an athletes best 4 Hill & Dale results combined with the best result from one of the 3 races above.

1 Nimra + 4 Hill & Dale = NIMRA Junior Championship 2020

International Races

British and Irish Championships

The B&I Championships take place in Northern Ireland this year on the 12th of September based in the Mournes.  Athletes race in either the U17 or U19 categories. The trials for this race will take place in August with dates and venues to be confirmed.

European Championships

The European U20 Championships take place in Cinfaes, Portugal this year. Trials for the Irish Team are on the 3rd of May at Mt. Leinster in County Wexford. More details to follow.

World Championships U18

The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) are holding the U18 World Championships in the English Lake District in the village of Ambleside. NIMRA  are holding a trial for selection to the squad at the St. Malachy’s High School Race in Castlewellan on the 2nd of April. Athletes will compete in the 5Km race. See calender above for entry details.

World Championship U20

The World Championship takes place in Lanzarote on 13th November. Trials for the Irish Senior and U20 squads will be held in Wicklow on Saturday 3rd Oct. https://www.imra.ie/events/view/id/1961

Further details to follow.

Any questions can be directed to Phil Hodge, Junior Development Officer –


Or alternatively approach any of the Junior Sub Committee at School, club or at mountain races:-

Jackie Newton – Performance Director Athletics NI

Jim Hayes – Former International Athlete and current Mountain Running Coach

Zak Hanna – 6th in 2019 Mountain Running World Cup, WMRA Athlete Delegate

Alan Magee – Dromore AC Coach and Junior Mountain athlete parent.