Denis Rankin Round

My alarm went off at 12:30am. I had 30 minutes before I would need to be on the road to Carricklittle Car Park in the eastern Mournes. I was to meet my friend Colm Kelly. He would start the round with me at 3am, a further 30 minutes down the road in Newcastle. Colm and I would run the first 3 hours together before I would continue on for another 16, whereas he would go on to work!

The Denis Rankin Round is an ultra endurance and navigational challenge set in the Mourne Mountains. It’s a clockwise or anti-clockwise self-navigated route, following a list of 39 peaks, all to be completed in under 24 hours. In total, it covers approximately 90km with 6500m of elevation gain. The route was devised by some members of Denis Rankin’s fell running club, BARF, in memory of Denis, a pioneer in Northern Irish fell running. Continue reading

It has been a while…

It has been a good few months since I have been running in the mountains, as my training this year has all been focused on Rotterdam Marathon. Thankfully that experience is behind me, so it’s back to the hills for the rest of the year! I will now focus on building up my training to focus on some local mountains events, and my second ‘A’ race of 2015, the CCC at the UTMB.

For the first run I opted for a slooooooww recce of section 3 of the Denis Rankin Round. My legs were sore, but what more could I expect just 7 days out from Rotterdam!

Sit back and enjoy….!

Fastpacking in the Mourne Mountains

I had an opportunity to take a few days off work and spend some time in the mountains. It was also the perfect opportunity to test the newly released Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20. The backpack which I wanted for the Mourne Mountain Marathon only 2 months prior, but at that time it wasn’t available in Europe.

I watched the weather for a few weeks leading up to the expedition and it was looking good. Best to be prepared though, so I packed for the worst conditions and wished for the best. I was not let down. I also packed food for 2 nights.

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Return from the dark side…

Over the last 3 weeks I have severely dropped my weekly mileage due to the calf strain I suffered during a club hill repeats session. Well, slowly but surely I have been getting back with the help of my foam roller and awesome physio. This week I was finally able to get out there and run pain free, although my legs took a few 10k runs to acclimatise again to the plod! That said, I feel the next few weeks will be nothing more than a plod; easy, slow, plodding miles – at least until I can get my aerobic base close to what it was!

The week started off as I returned from a short break to Berlin. Since I had the Monday off work, I flew up the road from Dublin airport, got on my running gear, and headed straight to Divis mountain. I was bursting at the seems, having not seen a mountain or trail in 3 weeks. The last time in fact, was a failed run in the Mourne Mountains, which I had to cut short due to the calf niggle! The run went O… K..! It could have been better! My legs were tight, although they weren’t helped by the 6 hour 3rd Reich walking tour the previous day in Berlin! Still, my calf muscles behaved themselves, and that was the main thing. The plan for the following days… foam roll and another sport massage. I’m nearly back!

Belfast and beyond!

Belfast and beyond!

Tomorrow will see my return to the Mourne Mountains, as myself and a friend will take on the Mourne Way once again. Starting in Donard Forest Park, and heading to Leitrim Lodge were we will have a second car parked. At a guess that’ll be 35Km. A worthy long trail run on recovering legs in my opinion! Stay tuned!