Thursday 20th April saw the second of the 10 races in the Hill and Dale Series with athletes gaining a short, sharp introduction to the open mountain they can expect in later races in the series. Before the race began the 295 runners joined race officials and spectators in a poignant tribute to local mountaineer Noel Hanna and his family, Against the backdrop of the evening sun slowly sinking over the Mountains of Mourne we remembered Noel who had made 10 successful ascents of Mt Everest and tragically lost his life descending from Nepal’s Annapurna peak on Monday 17th April.
9 North Down AC athletes were in action and were quickly separated on the initial downhill section before the hills began in earnest; an uphill section of almost 1 mile on steep, single-file forest trails limited the opportunity for overtaking and running turned into a quick hike as the ascent continued until a brief downhill led to a stile out of the forest and over the wall. The multi-coloured stream of athletes’ vests ascended Luke’s Mountain before returning to the forest park gravel trails with the inevitable sting in the tail of an uphill finish. The youngest member of the NDAC runners, Oliver Playfair, once again led the yellow and blue vests to the end of the 4.2 mile course with @ 1200ft of ascent in 35:19. Clair Quigley was next in 42:39. Kevin Mulligan 44:22, Matt Ormesher 46:22, Donald Smith 50:02, Claire Scott 50:03, John Adgey 58:19, Tracy McKittrick 58:44 and Ian McCreary 1:04:08 completed NDAC involvement.
[photo Oliver Playfair
photos NDAC group]