Glenariffe joy for hot Lynch

Glenariffe joy for hot Lynch

18 March 2020

WITH races being cancelled all over the place, mountain runners were bracing themselves for the worst.

The good news, with race organisers sticking to government advise, is that race one of the 2020 Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association Championships, Glenariffe went ahead as planned. 

Precautions did take place, with no prize giving or tea and sandwiches afterwards, but no-one minded because all know the reason why every one comes to this race is to get their bag of spuds and this year was no different with every runner taking home a bag thanks to race sponsor, Glens of Antrim Potatoes.

This race is a short category in the NIMRA Championship, which means a winning time of under one hour. The distance is approximately six miles on an out and back course, majority of the race on the flat with a brutal climb of 1200 feet in half a mile. 

A new registration venue meant a slight course change which avoided the road section, crossing a few fields and down a lane that took competitors back onto the river path. 

Leading out the runners was Newcastle AC’s Seamus Lynch and Mourne Runners’ Johnny Scott. Once on to the open mountain section, Lynch showed his climbing ability with a one minute lead at the summit before descending with devastating effect, leaving the opposition in his wake and an easy run home along the river bank. 

The rest of the field swapped places as everyone fought for grip on the steep mountain side. 

In the ladies’ race it was Newry AC’s Esther Dickson who dominated, showing many a good fell runner a clean pair of heels on the descent. 

At the end of the track back along the river it was Lynch, well in the lead taking his fourth win and third in a row in 44:20, Scott held his position for second in 46:32 closely followed by Mourne Runners’ Adam Cunningham in 46:55.  

Making the top ten for NAC were David Hicks in seventh place in 48:37 and Gary McEvoy ninth in 50:06. Also running for NAC was Stevie Rice, finishing in 59:53 for 36th place. The ladies’ race was won by Dickson for the fourth time in a row in 52:39 followed by Mourne Runners’ Karalee McBride in 55:52 and third was Ballydrain Harriers’ Alison Stocks in 58:55.

Following on from last weekend’s Slieve Gullion race, Newcastle AC again won the team prize.

The silly boy award this week went to Hicks, who very nearly wasn’t allowed to start the race, having turned up without his mandatory safety kit bag.

His only excuse was: “On returning from injury and a year out, I’m just getting back into the swing of things.”

Fortunately, a quick scramble around the start area saw him beg and borrow enough gear to be allowed to start the race. A big thanks has to go to our driver, Ciara Coffey, who finished seventh lady in 1:02:36, and co-pilot Dickson.

 With these two women at the helm what could possibly go wrong?  All that can be said is that it was a good job the mountain foggy today and navigation skills weren’t required.

 With all the uncertainty about future races over the coming weeks, all runners are advised to check the NIMRA and race web pages before travelling.