Christopher is ‘King of the Carn’

Monday, July 12 saw almost 90 runners gather in the Sperrins for the Carntogher Community Association’s ‘Race to the Carn’.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 9:21 am

This 5km race to the summit of Carntogher and back tests the climbing skills of competitors as they climb over metres in the first 2.5km before testing their balance and nerve as they descend to the finish below.

Starting on a country lane the runners have little time to get into their stride before they turned onto a broken track and began the climb up Carntogher with the gradient steepening quickly and testing everyone’s stamina.

Springwell RC’s Christopher McNickle took an early lead and produced an impressive display of mountain running as he picked his way along the broken trail to the turn at the summit of Carntogher and heading for the finish at breakneck speed.

Christopher McNickle

The broken trail of the descent changed to a grass trail across open moorland with the occasional ditch, peat drift and stile to cross.

With foot sure balance and gravity to assist Christopher maintained his lead and crossed the finish line in 22.58 to be crowned “King of the Carn”.

Springwell RC was well represented at the event with ten members taking part - 1st Christopher McNickle 22.58, 7th Barry Mullan 25.20, 12th Alan Nevin 26.30, 16th Jude Moore 28.39, 26th David McGaffin 30.51, 32nd Carolyn Crawford 31.36, 34th Ruari Bradley 32.36, 44th Bridgeen Canning 34.32, 49th Jim Bradley 35.31, 62nd Rosemary Mellon 40.11.

With the mercury rising to set new record temperatures of 31.2 degrees Celsius in County Down, this weekend’s (July 18) activities weren’t too far away with members taking part in events in Greyabbey, Castleward and the Mourne Mountains.

Roy & Judith Buchanan at Greyabbey

Gaithouse Events 6 & 12 hour Challenge

The Gaithouse Events Challenge is relatively straightforward, depending on your choice of event you have either 6 or 12 hours to run as far as you can. Both events started at 9am on Saturday morning with David Campbell representing Springwell RC in the 6 hour event and Roy and Judith Buchanan taking on the 12 hour challenge.

It was already warm with the temperature rising quickly as competitors set off to complete as many laps as possible of the 3.25 mile course through Greyabbey woods.

As the midday temperature reached 30 degrees, sunscreen and hydration were the priorities as everyone began to struggle in the excessive heat. David Campbell finished his six hours of running with 28 miles completed in 11th place. Roy

Jim Bradley

and Judith paced themselves through the crippling heat of the afternoon to finish their challenge in 11th place with 45.64 miles to show for their efforts.

Atlas Running 10k Trail Race

Just a little further south of Greyabbey Atlas Running hosted their 10k trail races on the Castleward estate.

Springwell RC were represented on the estate by Conor Duffy who finished in 50 th place in a time of 59.56.

David Campbell at Greyabbley

Spelga Skyline Fell Race

The most challenging event of the day took place in the Mourne Mountains as 100 runners took on the Spelga Skyline Fell Race.

This is an arduous challenge and not an event for a beginner or novice, in fact the organisers will turn down any competitor if they think that they do not have the necessary experience and skill set to take on the Mourne Mountains.

The race does not follow any trails or paths and competitors have to navigate through twelve checkpoints across open mountainside and moorland, over eight summits to complete the 21km (13 mile) course.

There’s also the small matter of 1550 metres (5085 feet) of climbing to contend with.

Springwell RC’s Carolyn Crawford produced an impressive display of mountain running to finish in 53 rd in a time of 5.10.01.

Conor Duffy at Castleward
Carolyn Crawford in the Mourne Mountains
Ruari Bradley