LOCAL ATHLETES SET THE PACE IN NI’S TOUGHEST RUNNING CHALLENGE
1st men’s – Ian Bailey, Newcastle AC, 3:57:18
1st women’s – Shileen O’Kane, Lagan Valley AC, 4:56:43
Local man Ian Bailey from Kilcoo, County Down lifted the winning title for a second time at this weekend’s Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2017, sponsored for the third time by the world’s leading supplier of innovative GPS technology for the sport, recreation and wellness markets.
“Once again Garmin is delighted to be title sponsor of this mountain-trail race, which has seen a local man win overall and a new, even higher bar set year on year,” said Richard Daish UK & Ireland Head of Marketing. “The standard of competition really has put Northern Ireland firmly on the global Skyrunning map!”
A record 250 runners registered for the event, with the race reaching capacity within 15 hours. In what was the final race of the 2017 Skyrunning UK National Series, competitors from over 15 countries battled inclement weather conditions as they covered 9 peaks across the stunning Mourne Mountains – in total, they traversed 35km incorporating 3370m of ascent.
Ian Bailey led the field home in 3:57:18. Seamus Lynch, also from Newcastle AC crossed the line 10 minutes after his friend and club mate, coming in at 4:07:51 and Ryan Stewart, from Shettleston Harriers in Scotland, took third place with a time of 4:12:19.
Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR race director Ryan Maxwell said: “I am happy that this race and the sport of mountain-trail running have once again highlighted what Northern Ireland has to offer – stunning scenery, friendly people and a thriving running scene.“
He added, “It also shows that the sport has an important part to play in putting the country on the map as runners from all over the world to run against our finest athletes, which has been reflected here with a local man and woman both lifting the title on home soil. I am delighted to see local athletes excel against competitors from around the globe.”
The first lady home was local competitor Shileen O’Kane from Lagan Valley AC, with a time of 4:56:43 with Megan Wilson from Dark Peak Fell Runners coming in shortly after at 5:00:09, and 3rd place went to Catherine Forsythe, who crossed the Donard Park finish line in 5:40:56.
“Events like this don’t happen without the support from the team who tirelessly helped us put the course together, the volunteers who so willingly gave up their time and our sponsors, particularly Garmin who have supported us for a third year running, as have our associate event sponsors from when we started in 2014 – The Steensons, Apex Clinic, Clif Bar, Brownes Gas Services and ProParamedics”, concludes Ryan.