Wild breaks record at Seven Sevens
In Northern Ireland it is always hard to predict the weather so always make sure to pack a rain coat with the sun cream. The race that was postponed due to covid finally got to get on its way on Saturday morning on the 9th April. The planning for this race has been intense so it was great to see a super turn out from fell runners across the islands. The weather would be kind to us even though it was a tad cold for April but at least visibility was excellent.
On Saturday Morning it was hectic as always at Race HQ as runners checked the course and discussed the best lines to take. The start of this years course would avoid going straight up the glen river but head out the forest roads to lead them to the highest peak of the race. The finish was also altered to bring runners through the forest and a tricky mtb decent line which I am sure was longer and tricker than most would have hoped.
The briefing was given by Race Director Ricky Cowan, the dibbers were cleared, kit checked and it was go for the Mourne Seven Sevens. It taken long for Finlay Wild to set his stall out as he took less than 40mins to get to the summit of Slieve Donard. Once he took the lead he would never let it slip as he continued to put time on his closest competitors at every summit. It was not that long ago that people said that 4hrs would be impossible to go under but Finlay would take the record down to 3hrs 28 mins. The battle for the podium places was closer than ever as Matthew Atkinson and Harry Bolton (Keswick club mates) would fight it out right to the line. In the end Matthew Atkinson would take second with Harry in third.
The womens race was a much closer affair with the top 4 separated by only 6mins it could have been anyones race. Victoria Thompson from Helm Hill would manage to cling on to a 2 min advantage made on the way up Slieve Donard. She could not afford any mistakes as her team mate Janie Oates was in a battle with Katie Reynolds and Eve Pannone who would swap places right through the race. When they made it to the finish line all 4 ladies would smas the 5 hour mark with Victoria Thompson claiming victory followed by her team mate Janie Oates with Katie Reynolds completing the podium. Eve Pannone who would just miss out on a podium would claim the 1st U23 prize.
In the V40’s Mary Gillie from Eryri Harriers would claim that prize with Helen Elmore from Dark Peak taking the V50’s for the women.
The men V40’s would go to Oli Johnston Dark Peak, V50 to Kenny Richmond Helm Hill and V60 went to Philip Pearson Northern Fell Runners.
The local runners would see a superb race from Adam Cunningham Mourne Runners who came in 6th overall, Steven Shields would only be a sliver over the 4hrs taking 11th and Jonny Steeds would claim the 2nd MV40 prize with Gary Bailie taking the third MV40. In the ladies Elizabeth Wheeler from Glens Runners would put in an awesome performance to take 15th place overall.
When the race was over competitors made their way back to HQ to be fed and watered from a brilliant team of ladies. They kept the soup, tea, coffee and buns well stocked. With the prize giving over it was time to thank the many volunteers who helped set up the course, stand on the cold mountain tops, sort out the results, take the photographs and the many other things that go into putting on a race. A big thank you to our sponsors Regatta/Dale Farm and O’Hares Pub who provided prizes. Many thanks to all the runners for coming to support this iconic race which I hope will have you coming back for more.
Ive added a few links to photos and results.
Facebook – Start Photos
Facebook – Slieve Donard Summit
Facebook – Commedagh Summit
https://thatkillinchyphotographer.shootproof.com/gallery/17968471 – Meelmore summit
Facebook – Meelmore Summit (Same photos above but on facebook)
Facebook – Donard Wood Finish
Facebook – Prize Giving and Finishing