Irish Mountain
Running Association

Carlingford - Fox's Rock


Daniela BoehmAlan Ayling


Carlingford Fox's rock 15/07/17

Number Name Category finish time start time time
1750 Colm Murtagh M 13:37:25 12:00:15 01:37:10
1754 Pete Grant M40 13:38:15 12:00:15 01:38:00
920 Dale Mathers M50 13:40:58 12:00:15 01:40:43
366 Alan Ayling M40 13:45:44 12:00:15 01:45:29
530 Dermot Murphy M40 13:46:02 12:00:15 01:45:47
1765 Johnny McCabe M50 13:50:18 12:00:15 01:50:03
281 Zoran Skrba M 13:50:44 12:00:15 01:50:29
700 Donal McMorland M 13:51:01 12:00:15 01:50:46
549 Padraig Muldoon M50 13:52:28 12:00:15 01:52:13
27 Padraig Doyle M40 13:53:20 12:00:15 01:53:05
539 Donal Linehan M50 13:53:20 12:00:15 01:53:05
130 Matthew Sammon M 13:54:28 12:00:15 01:54:13
1771 Denise Mathers F50 14:03:28 12:00:15 02:03:13
326 Con Halpin M 14:05:18 12:00:15 02:05:03
465 Fergus Scott M 14:07:17 12:00:15 02:07:02
1271 Turlough Conway M40 14:11:00 12:00:15 02:10:45
53 Paul Smyth M50 14:12:12 12:00:15 02:11:57
629 Laurence Briody M40 14:12:43 12:00:15 02:12:28
421 Jonathan Dolan M40 14:18:44 12:00:15 02:18:29
945 James Cahill M50 14:20:06 12:00:15 02:19:51
205 John McCann M40 14:21:03 12:00:15 02:20:48
1046 Paul Morrissey M40 14:31:54 12:00:15 02:31:39
275 Fergal Downes M40 14:32:06 12:00:15 02:31:51
324 Dave Halpin M50 14:32:49 12:00:15 02:32:34
499 Shane Colgan M40 14:34:56 12:00:15 02:34:41
1727 Michael Parks M50 14:53:44 12:00:15 02:53:29
293 Connie Dottino F40 14:53:56 12:00:15 02:53:41
3 Patsy McCreanor M70 13:54:23 10:59:00 02:55:23
228 David Rouse M40 14:56:10 12:00:15 02:55:55
1770 Tricia Flynn F40 15:59:43 12:00:15 03:59:28
861 Edele Clelland F 15:59:43 12:00:15 03:59:28

They come down here and they take all our medals... ;-)

A cracking day out in the Cooley Mountains saw NIMRA runners secure all 3 medals in the men's race and gold in the women's.

Mick Hanney had a post on Facebook last night saying it was meant to rain for the Carlingford race. Thankfully that never transpired, but it looked ominous on the drive up the M1. You crest a hill beyond Drogheda and the Cooleys appear... well the lowest part of them appeared. The tops were all well up in the mist. That was still more or less the case at noon when Daniela gave us the briefing and Eoin set us on our way.

Con Halpin led the way up the roads out of the village and out onto the start of the open mountain trail. Zoran followed, then Dermot, Turlough, myself... the pace firm but not ridiculous. Perhaps the greatest thing about this race – and certainly one of its main talking points – is the amount of route choice. And it wasn't long until the variations began. Con took one line through the bracken, followed by Dermot and Turlough, Zoran took a line to the left and I for some reason thought that looked like a good idea and went after him. Then we all kinda split and swapped and chopped and changed... no idea what was going on in the chasing pack.

Some of us headed for the gully up to the right, which allows a reasonably direct attack on Slieve Foye. Others stayed left, opting to climb the walkers' path for a while before taking on the steep ground. I got muddled and had to cut back to the gully through deep bracken, but emerged just behind Turlough. Not much lost. We hauled ourselves painfully up the steep gully, Con cut up steeply to the left a good bit before Turlough did. I followed Turlough, backing his experience over Con's youthful enthusiasm.

The climb took us into the mist and a blur of hardship, but I was able to keep Turlough's red top fairly close in sight, secretly congratulating myself on the great line we'd got, obviously better than what the lads somewhere to the left had done. Several false summits in the mist then the real one looms... with Dale Mathers and Colm Murtagh leaving it. Aaaargh... their line was better! Turlough was ahead of them, just, and Dermot was in front of him, leading the race at that point.

I took the line I had in mind, down the grassy ramp towards the White Bog and the little lakes. Think I got ahead of the Dale and Colm at one point, only to see them emerge in front of me again! It's all beautiful runnable country, despite being pathless, so there is tremendous pleasure in running through it, even if your rivals seem to be making a better job of picking lines than you are. Start contrast to the flat out marked trails of Bray Head on Wednesday. I love both, but the Cooleys are special.

I had been harbouring this notion that the left (south) side of Raven's Rock was quicker than going over or contouring to the right (north). Certainly, the initial bit leaving the southermost of the little lakes is quick, flowy and delightful. The lads in front had veered across the White Bog, aiming north of Raven's. So all alone I had no idea for some time who was ahead. It became clear as I dropped towards the line of posts that used to be a fence in the dip before Fox's Rock. There were the boys making their way up the shoulder. Their route to that point definitely quicker.

They passed me on their way back from the summit. Had a couple of minutes' lead. On the way back I passed Zoran, then saw several others at the dip. Decision time – stay north as the lads ahead had done, or go round south, retracing my outward route. Stubborn eejit that I am, I went south. Largely, I think, out of a desire to put right what I'd done so wrong in the Flagstaff to Carlingford race a few weeks earlier, which was to get too low around Raven's and get left with a climb back up to the White Bog.

So I stayed higher. Much higher. Or so I thought, until late on contouring around the hill I swung around a corner to be greeted by an unwelcome but familiar patch of bracken ahead … bugger it I'd gone too low again. Not quite as badly, but not far off. Padraig Muldoon had said to me before the race that it's very easy to get drawn too low down there, I have to agree with him. It's like a big magnet, pulling you down, you think you're climbing but really just feels like you are when you're at best maintaining the height you're at.

Anyway, up above was the White Bog and I dragged myself to it, part running, walking where necessary. At least feeling a lot stronger than in the Flagstaff race. Got the required line from the boulder field up to the grassy ramp, noted at least two others level with me but they stayed low and right. (The fact I didn't see them again until they finished after I did at least indicates something I did was right). The ramp is runnable if you're feeling strong and the ground wasn't too wet. A Newcastle top visible ahead, but not close enough to catch – pretty sure it was Pete Grant, having got ahead of me.

The mist had risen so visibility was good at the summit of Slieve Foye, thankfully. Route choice abounds for the return. I opted for a pretty straight line, though in reality you zig and zag as the ground and intermittent paths dictate. Picked up the gully nicely and got down it as quickly as the legs would allow, feeling pretty good. A hesitant moment in the bracken then emerge on the walkers's path. Then, noooo... a navy blue clad figure emerges ahead – Dermot! Right, game on! Dermot and I have had countless battles down the years – he puts manners on me up the hills and I fight back on the way down. So in a sense this was in my favour, but I know he's very capable downhill on good ground, so I had to catch him before the road at the very latest. After giving it the beans on the grassy trail, I caught Dermot just before the metal gate into the lane leading off the hill, but like a child that can't figure out a toy that's just too complicated for his limited intellect, I couldn't get the damned thing open! Dermot arrived and took the latch and deftly opened it... sorry to say I left him to do the closing as well as I bolted down the last bit of singletrack to the road. The anticipated challenge never came and I arrived at the finish to find the 3 NIMRA lads already there.

Colm had held on for the win, having got away from Dale late on, despite a mistake leading into rough ground. Pete had put in his trademark savage descent to take second, Dale third. I got fourth, Dermot not far back in fifth. Zoran hasn't been hillrunning much of late, but put in a credible performance to finish not far behind us. Turlough found the trip a bit far, but he'll be back to full form soon if Bray on Wednesday is anything to go by. Con had some navigational issues after the quick start, but not at all bad for his first true open mountain unmarked race.

Denise Mathers won the women's race, Connie took second, I'm not sure about third, sorry!

Tales of the mountain and route choice were exchanged over sandwiches, tea and cakes. Thanks to Daniela and Margaret for the catering! Also to Conor the summit marshal on Fox's Rock and to the priest in Carlingford for cheerfully letting us park in the church carpark. A superb day in the hills. Thoroughly enjoyed it, but no longer harbour any notions about the south side of Raven's Rock being the quick side! :-)