NIMRA ‘The Mountain Runner’ Newssheet Feb 2024

Welcome to our second edition of the monthly NIMRA newsletter ‘The Mountain Runner’, and we are pleased to show off the Feb 2024 edition updating you with any news or highlights from the previous month and what is coming up for the month ahead. Members can use this as a focus point to stay updated with all the goings on, and we appreciate if anyone would like to make any contributions throughout the year, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to include in the latest bulletin.

HIGHLIGHTS – IMRA Races Feb 2024

With February generally quieter for racing this edition will be a fair bit shorter in size. We had a few more travelling down to IMRA races over the course of the month. Well done to Karen Wilton from Jog Lisburn who finished third lady at Mullaghmeen Forest in Westmeath on Sunday 4th Feb, and to Joanne McAuley and Richard Wilson who also raced that day. There was a handful of northerners travelled to west Cork for the Slí Chorcaí Ultra the following Sat 10th Feb, including Lee O’Boyle who finished a credible 6th, and our own chairman Ciaran McAleenan who usually enjoys these more gruelling days out! This race was part of the Irish Ultra Championship 2024, with Maurice Mullins in Wicklow in March the next one on the list.

Mr Chairman out enjoying himself traversing a fair whack of County Cork

Well done to BARFs Cameron Brush and Shirley & Conor Farnan who raced over Trooperstown in Wicklow on the same day as well. There is a huge selection of different provincial league and championships across the country to cater for all, the upcoming fixtures are below but to plan ahead for the rest of the year the full fixture list is here


*NIMRA Membership

Membership for NIMRA for the 2024 season is still open. We are hoping to top last years record membership figure and are already well on the way, with a continued growing interest in the sport. In order to qualify for championship standings you must sign up for membership before the first race of the series which is Slieve Gullion, so deadline is Friday 1st March. Please note any races completed before signing up for membership will not be counted in the final standings.

If you are a member of a club please include it when purchasing your membership, otherwise please only select unattached. This makes populating the results much easier! Please note if you are completing IMRA races you must purchase IMRA membership separately to NIMRA. All details are on the membership page here

*NIMRA Championship 2024

The first two races of the championship already are sold out in record time! Slieve Gullion hit it’s limit about a week after opening where as the Spud Run in Glenariff was gone within a couple of days. Demand clearly is very high so if you missed out on either there is plenty of opportunity to compete in the champs with later races, the website and social media pages will keep you updated! The Granite Peaks Ultra 50K and 25K opened a couple of days ago and all the entry info is available here

Upcoming NIMRA fixtures are below but our full fixture list for 2024 is here

The Giant of Mullaghcarn standing waiting to welcome the runners arriving end of June

*Ulster Championship 2024 (w/IMRA)

Together NIMRA & IMRA are staging a provincial Ulster Championship for this season. This will be a 5 race series (with 3 races to qualify) spread across the province and primarily away from the Mournes bar The Two Towers. All the races (except Carnaween) are also in the NIMRA championship so the overlapping allows you to compete in both. However you must be a paid up member of IMRA separately to qualify, again before the first race so deadline is Friday 8th March 2024. The Ulster Championship races are below:

Sat 9th March: Glenariff Spud Run (Antrim) – SOLD OUT

Sun 16th June: Flagstaff To Carlingford (Armagh/Louth)

Sat 29th June: Mullaghcarn Giant Race (Tyrone)

Sat 6th July: Carnaween (Donegal)

Sat 24th August: The Two Towers (Down)


The NIMRA 2024 Annual General Meeting took place on Monday 19th February at 7:30 pm via the now normal Zoom meeting. All committee members from 2023 stood again and all were duly returned to their posts. Highlights of the 2023 season in the secretarys report is now on the website. Further discussion at the AGM looked at membership details, treasurer report, club development support and general chat about the year ahead with a healthy attendance of participants.

Sally pleased with her effort up the Granite Trail

*International Selection Criteria 2024

NIMRA are sending squads to represent NI in three races this upcoming season. The three races are as follows:

Sunday 21st April: Inter-Counties (Keswick, England) If you would like to be considered for the Inter-Counties please email our secretary Anne Sandford before 8th March.

Saturday 11th May: Senior Home International (Perth, Scotland)

Saturday 20th July: 47th International Snowdon Race (Llanberis, Wales)

For full details and selection info please visit here


The two races in 2024 are as follows:

Short: England – 27th July 2024 – Blisco Dash

Long:  Wales – 21st  September 2024 – Peris Horseshoe             

These races will be pre-entry; check details on the UKA or FRA/NIMRA/SHR/WFRA websites.

Entries will only be accepted from runners who are eligible for the Championship. Please note this format has changed in 2024 from a 4 race series to a 2 race series, so there is no NI race this year. If you wish to enter these either or both of these races to get in touch with us to pair any runners up for travelling to either of these events.

UK Athletics Fell and Hill Running Championships rules (for 2024)

*Come & Try Event (Sunday 24th March)

NIMRA is hosting an open day demonstration for anyone looking to take into mountain running and the various skills required. This will take place at Meelmore Lodge on Sunday 24th March with plenty of experienced and notable mountain people ready to assist. Entry for this opens 1st March and further info and how to enter is available here

*Navigation for Hill Runners (Tollymore Orienteers) (April 2024)

Tollymore Orienteers are hosting 3 Friday evening courses in the respective forest parks after the first three Hill & Dale races in April. This would be a great opportunity to brush up on existing experience and for novices to consider doing if taking on some of the more difficult races later in the season, perhaps utilizing skills learned from the Come & Try Event in March as well. Details in the poster below.

*Junior News Updates

The NI & Ulster U18 Trial will take place on 16th March in Co. Down – exact course to be finalised – please see Junior menu for updates about events, trials and online entry once published. These will also be advertised on Athletics NI. These details will be released shortly. Athletes born in 2007 or 2008 are eligible for selection from this event. The selected athletes will compete at the U18 International Mountain Running Cup 21/22 JUNE 2024 MONTAÑA PALENTINA (SPAIN) –

The Irish U20 Trials to select teams to compete at the European Mountain Running Championships in Annecy, France, 31 May – 02 Jun 2024 will be held in Ballyhoura, Limerick on the 12th April (Uphill ONLY) and the 14th April (Up & down). Uphill only races provide a great opportunity for athletes inexperienced in the discipline of Mountain Running, to gain international experience. Information regarding the Trial will be found on once finalised. Details regarding the European competition can be found here –

INFO SESSION (ZOOM) – An Introduction to Mountain Running session is being hosted by NIMRA (N.I. Mountain Running Association) in early March and will be advertised via the home page in the coming weeks. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn all about mountain running, the competition opportunities, international representation and how to train for events.

*Inspirational Runner/Ultra Mountain Race series 2024

Quick reminder that the nominations for worthy recipients of the Inspirational Runner and Ultra Mountain Runner for 2024 can be submitted through the year, with the selection issued before the Run for Rescue charity race in November or December later this year. Details on both are available here

*Upcoming fixtures

Mar 2024 (IMRA)

Sun Mar 311:00 AMMushera-BoggeraghsWJLCorkIMRA Race500m10.80km
Sun Mar 311:00 AMTicknock WinterWSLDublinIMRA Race320m9.10km
Sat Mar 99:00 AMNagles MarathonCorkIMRA Race1330m42.10km
Sat Mar 99:30 AMWicklow Way HalfLHMWicklowIMRA Race840m22.00km
Sat Mar 911:00 AMNagles Half-MarathonMHMCorkIMRA Race750m21.00km
Sat Mar 912:00 PMGlenariffULCAntrimNIMRA Race370m9.70km
Fri Mar 158:00 PMCrone Maulin Night ChallengeWicklowIMRA Race407m7.40km
Sat Mar 162:00 PMMt ClaraghWJLCorkIMRA Race340m7.00km
Sat Mar 239:30 AMMaurice Mullins 50KIUCWicklowIMRA Race2500m51.50km
Sun Mar 2411:00 AMTorc WoodMWLKerryIMRA Race300m8.00km
Sun Mar 2411:00 AMDysart WoodsSELLaoisIMRA Race200m6.00km

April 2024 (NIMRA) (Entries for the below are due to open imminently, please keep an eye on our social media pages for details!)

Thur Apr 1107:30 PMHill & Dales CastlewellanDownHill & Dales 2024350m8km [S]
Thur Apr 1807:30 PMHill & Dales White PlainsDownHill & Dales 2024350m7.5km [S]
Sat Apr 209AMGranite Peaks Ultra 50K/25KDownNIMRA Race3000/1100m50/25km [L]
Thur Apr 2507:30 PMHill & Dales Slieve MartinDownHill & Dales 2024/NIMRA Race500m7km [S]

*On this month (Archives)

Neil Carty jumping the final fence at the 2006 Knockdhu Home International

From NIFRA News February 2001

In the NIFRA Championship Brian Ervine regained the Open Men’s title, which he last won in 1998. In 1999 he was third behind Robbie Bryson and Deon McNeilly. Robbie has more often been seen racing on a bike recently, apart from when he’s planning fiendish courses for the Mountain Marathon. Deon appears occasionally, sufficiently high up the results to remind everyone that he could be winning if he trained more. Neil Carty was second in 2000, but at the recent Boxing Day race gave notice to Brian that he will be a force to be reckoned with in 2001, beating Brian by 13 seconds. Shileen Donnelly (ed now O’Kane) won the Open Ladies category in both the NIFRA Championship and the Hill & Dales series, as well as the All Ireland Championship. To raise her standard further, she needs to take part in British Championship or similar events. Congratulations too, to Scots Pete Baxter and Elspeth Scott from Peebles, who also completed our Championship.

A mere long event is just a warn up for NIFRA member Robin Ferry. After running the 500 mile Ulster Way in 1999, he was a British Team member in the Augrabies Extreme Marathon in South Africa, covering 148 very hot miles – at one stage needing a saline drip to recover! John McBride, Greg Clarke and Frazer Crawford have added Adventure Racing to their repertoire (and to judge from the Hi-Tec series on TV are not the only fell runners participating), with a third place in the Adrenalin Rush in June. An attempt to repeat their success in the Lake District with Karen Powell was literally a washout. Locally Brian Ervine at last found a Mountain Marathon partner in Mark Rigby who he was unable to wear out, comfortably winning the Elite class from fellrunners/orienteers Steve Linton and James Logue. Despite complaints about too many events for top runners, it is noticeable that both Brian and Mark were happily at the World Trophy one weekend, won a Mountain Marathon a week later and followed it by the Two Breweries Long Championship race on a third weekend.

*Mountain Of The Month

Name: Slieve Donard

Height: 850m

Location: Newcastle, Co. Down

Info: The highest peak of the Mournes as well as NI & Ulster, the summit is intersected by the Mourne Wall at the ancient burial cairn marking the top. The views on a clear day are very extensive with many peaks around Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales are visible.

Race you will visit?: Slieve Donard race, Granite Peaks Ultra, Annalong Horseshoe, Seven Sevens

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