Pat Dunbar Memorial Mountain Race Report – 27th May 2023

Newry AC hosted this NIMRA medium championship race at a new location based from Leitrim Lodge on Saturday morning.

69 athletes took on 8.1 miles and 1,800 feet of climb in very warm conditions. The terrain was mixed with forest trails, open mountain, and the usual downhill/uphill challenges including technical mountain descents.

The race started and finished on the river bridge at Leitrim Lodge and the route took the athletes towards Rostrevor for 1.2km. At Yellow Water a left turn was made and the race followed 1km of uphill forest trail – on reaching Batts Wall a tight ascent was required before heading over Tievedockaragh, into forest trail before summiting Pearse’s Castle, transiting Tornamrock and summiting Rocky. A fast and technical descent off Rocky was the final challenge before re-entering the trail path for a speedy 300m race to the finish line.

The mens race was dominated by Adam Cunningham and Joshua McAtee of Mourne Runners. They stuck within metres of each other throughout the race chopping and changing positions as they took in the variants of terrain. In the final descent it was Adam who took the lead and sped over the finish line to take the win to set the course record and a benchmark time for the new route.

In the ladies race, Esther Dickson (Newry AC) led the race and with the usual stamina and endurance powered the climbs and steamed down the descents. Martsje Hell (NBH) was on her tail but with this route well recced, Esther headed for a determined and deserved strong win.

Top 3 Men

1. Adam Cunningham – 1:10:11 (Mourne Runners)

2. Joshua McAtee – 1:10:14 (Mourne Runners)

3. Donal McMoreland – 1:14:30 (Glenmore AC)

Top 3 Women

1. Esther Dickson – 1:21:30 (Newry AC)

2. Martsje Hell – 1:28:56 (North Belfast Harriers)

3. Amanda Perry – 1:31:12 (Ballydrain Harriers)

The top male and female were presented with a Pat Dunbar Memorial Trophy and a Artie Quinn Massage Therapy Voucher by Pats son Ciaran and granddaughter Enya.

Thank you to Ciaran and Enya Dunbar for calling down to the race, chatting with the volunteers/runners and presenting the prizes. Also, thank you to Kevin Murdock for race sponsorship; Cathal McGreevy for donating the trophies 🏆; Artie Quinn for Massage Therapy Vouchers and to all volunteers and Marshalls and the local landowners that made the event possible.

Full results including age group winners are available on the NIMRA website.

Newry AC squad that raced on the day were:

Mark McElroy – 1:17:31

Maurice Harte – 1:17:57

Warren Cartmill – 1:20:36

Esther Dickson – 1:21:30

Rory Mulvaney – 1:22:42

Ciara Coffey – 1:35:05

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