The weekly report from the East Down AC by Alison Carroll.
The British and Irish U17 & U20 Mountain Running Championships.
The championships were hosted this year by NIMRA (Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association) and held on Saturday 4th September in the Mournes at Happy Valley writes Alison Carroll.
Teams of mountain runners from Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland were selected to tackle the slopes of Meelbeg. Ollie Robinson (EDAC) had qualified for a place on the U17 team gaining his first Northern Irish vest in the process.
The trial had in fact been in the same location but poor visibility and bad weather on that day meant Ollie never got a chance to find out what was in store. This was perhaps a good thing.
The route was just under 2.5 miles long, rated medium difficulty with a 1291 feet ascent. The male & female U17 and U20 races were run separately starting over the stile beside the Mourne way and run in a clockwise direction.
From there the runners headed up the valley on a rocky path, over a broken wall and towards the saddle. They then took a right turn to follow the Mourne Wall to the summit of Meelbeg. This was followed by a fast downhill through a very rocky section before finding a narrow path.
Mountain running is skill that needs experience and practice especially with the varied surfaces. Ollie found the race challenging with his speed on the roads no match for the terrain and climbs. He usually loves the fast descents but found it difficult to get into any rhythm given the rocky terrain with many hidden holes and his ankles really were tested falling many times. In the end the goal was to get off the mountain safely with as few falls as possible.
After the race Ollie acknowledged it had been a great experience to run with the best and this has ignited a desire to do more mountain specific training to improve.
All teams stayed at Greenhill YMCA where presentations followed. England were outright winners in all team categories and had first place individuals in all races.
They even fielded B teams in most races. Northern Ireland & Ulster came second in the U20 female race and 3rd in the U20 male race. The evening ended with a well-earned trip to the cinema and games so all teams could mix. In summary the weekend was a total success.
A big thank you to all NIMRA members who assisted in the planning and execution of this well-run event with a special thanks to Phil Hodge. The sun even came out so all visitors could see what a stunning area we are lucky to call home.
Alison, Ella and Edie Carroll all members of East Down AC took advantage of a weekend break to take part in the North Coast 10K and 5K sponsored by Bob & Berts Coffee in aid of Sports Academy George.
This charity takes disadvantaged young people in Africa and trains them up in Leadership through the medium of sport. It was a balmy evening and the East Strand in Portrush looked idyllic but with the tide coming in it wasn’t ideal for running. It was a case of struggle in the soft sand and risk a twisted ankle or run on the diminishing strip of hard sand and get wet feet.
It was all taken in good humour though with a lot of excited shouting as waves grabbed for the runners’ feet. It took no time for the field of 365 in the 10K and 109 in the 5K to string out along the shoreline.
The full pack intermingled until 2.5K when the 5K headed back the way they had come and the 10K swung diagonally across the beach to take a longer and much hillier route back to make up the full 10K.
Ella somehow managed to get caught up in a bunch of 10K runners and inadvertently got value for money as once she realised that she was on the wrong path she had no choice but to continue. She did well despite this impromptu upgrade and was happy to finish the tough course in 51.32.
Edie meanwhile back in the right race pushed hard on the return leg to come home 3rd female in 23.06. Alison was delighted to be in the top third of the results with 30.18. A great family night out!