Mourne Highline

Last Saturday was the first British championship race of the year, The Mourne Highline in Northern Ireland. Visibility was so poor last year that the same route was chosen again, so that the runners could actually appreciate the magical mystery tour through The Mourne Mountains. However, it was not to be. Ten Todmorden Harriers flew to Belfast just as storm Hannah hit. Conditions on the peaks were terrible with 70mph winds and snow. The race was rerouted and shortened to a 7.5 mile, out and back race with 2500 feet of climb up Slieve Commedagh. Running through the woods was sheltered but the route up Commedagh gave a taste of the true might of the storm with some runners literally blown off their feet.
The race was won by Mark Lamb of Keswick in 1:03:17 and the first lady was Megan Wilson of Dark Peak in 1:15:07. Jon Wright had a great run and was first Toddie back in 1:13:22 (37th overall), followed by Graeme Brown in 1:14:30 (43rd), Chris Goddard had a strong run in 1:16:57 (56th) and Nick Barber in 1:22:17 (90th), who together made up the Vet 40 team. Paul Hobbs fell in the woods on the return route and walked to the finish, but still finished in a respectable time of 1:29:11 (132rd). James Riley finished in 1:31:34 (142nd).
The Tod women had a great team effort and won the Vet 40 prize. Claire Duffield had a fantastic run, undeterred by the slippy rocky terrain and gusting winds to finish in 1:34:02 (153rd), Rebecca Patrick was next back in 1:35:13 (157th) closely followed by Mel Blackhurst in 1:37:02 (169th) and Kate Mansell in 1:43:05 (187th).

Matt FlanaganMourne Highline