by Sarah Graham
It was a busy Christmas period for Mourne Runners with some fantastic results throughout the club across a number of races.
The Northern Irish Mountain Running Association annual prize giving and dinner took place in Newcastle on Saturday 25th November and paid tribute to those hardened fell runners who completed the 2017 NIMRA series. Once again, a great performance from the club with five members finishing in the Top 10 including Gary Bailey, David McKee, Timothy Johnston and Richard Hanna. Top honours went to William McKee who took overall victory of the series for the second year running.
Special mention must go to Harry Teggarty who picked up the NIMRA Inspirational Runner of the Year Award for completing ‘Cassie’s Challenge’, a gruelling 58 mile run over 50 Mourne peaks and 6,800m of climbing which he completed well within his 24 hour deadline. Harry is a very active member of the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team and gives a lot of his time back to both his club and the local community. The club are delighted to see Harry receive his award.
The Turkey Trot
On Boxing Day, seven members of Mourne Runners made their way to Tollymore to take on a new and lengthened ‘Turkey Trot’ race. Clive Bailey had a strong run finishing 8th overall while Bethany Haugh stormed home to take victory in the ladies race.
The annual Club Handicap Race took place in Kilbroney Park on Saturday 16th December. As tradition goes, club members are set off in intervals with the fastest runners starting last – with the aim of everyone sprinting for the finish line at the same time. This year, it was Ciaran McAleenan who was crowned ‘Club Champ’ with Virginia Ervine taking 2nd place and William McKee 3rd. A special thanks to Samuel and Beverley Herron for their time spent organising the race and supplying a generous amount of tea, coffee and homemade mince pies!
Castlewellan Christmas Cracker
It was a record turnout for the Christmas Cracker as 30 Mourne Runners ‘paired up’ and took to the start line for an enjoyable 9 mile race, taking in road, trail and a generous amount of mud around Castlewellan and its forest park. With just under 700 pairs out on the course, it was Laura Graham and William McKee who took a convincing victory in the mixed pairs category and an impressive 12th overall. A thoroughly enjoyable day with great performances across the club.
New Years Day Run
Starting 2018 in style, Mourne Runners took to the hills on New Years Day with a strong turnout of club members enjoying a social trek up Donard in minus temperatures, followed by a well-deserved brew in the local café.