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Everything you want to know about the Majors but were afraid to ask, and Mark on the Mountains!


These were the intriguing titles of talks delivered by 2 of North Down AC’s most experienced marathon and mountain runners at Crawfordsburn Country Park visitor centre on Sunday 7th May. Darren Hamilton earned the Abbott World Marathon Majors 6 star medal after the Tokyo Marathon this year having already completed the London, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and New York Marathons. As more runners competed their 6th star at Tokyo 2023 than any other major marathon Darren’s dedication to marathon running ensured that he also became a Guinness World Record holder too! Darren explained the entry criteria, Good for Age times, Boston Qualifying times, charity and tour places, as well as the logistics of arranging flights and accommodation for the 22,000 plus miles a local runner will rack up to complete their major marathon journey.

Mark Weir’s talk brought us closer to home as he discussed the Hill and Dale race series in the Mournes as well as longer and even more challenging races organised by the NI Mountain Running Association and challenges like the Denis Rankin round. He outlined the mandatory kit required by mountain race organisers and showed examples from his own kit and carrying packs.  He reminded everyone how quickly conditions can change in the mountains where marshals may be few and far between and phone reception can be intermittent. Mark also discussed off road ultra-running, including his own experience of the 106 mile Norn Iron ultra between Ballintoy and Gortin last year. 

Many thanks to the committee for arranging these talks and to Darren and Mark for their willingness to share their knowledge and experience with the club.

[photo: Darren – 6 star finisher and world record holder!]

[photo: Mountain man, Mark]