After 6 months of map studying and countless hours and kilometres of recce’s, I finally made it to the white arch of Donard car park with 20 minutes to go before I was to set off. I’d chosen this date a couple of months ago based on moonlight and personal commitments, and fortunately for me the weather was due to stay clear and mild for most of the next 24 hours. I was running solo and unsupported, meaning that whatever was in my backpack at the start was all I had for the entire challenge. So before leaving Dublin I had checked and rechecked my kit and supplies, and had the pack ready to go on my shoulders before getting into the car. On arriving in Newcastle I got changed and ready, and took a short walk with my brother Gerard. During the walk I realised how mild it actually was, so after a bit of second guessing, and with 2 minutes to go I stuffed my long sleeve into my backpack and put on a short sleeve cycling tee and ran to the arch. After a quick photo and countdown I headed off, and as soon as I entered Donard Forest I was glad I’d swapped top, as it was really warm.
At the Mourne Mountain Marathon prize giving on Sunday 20th September, Denis’ late wife, Madeline Rankin presented Dave Evans and Joanne Curran with their certificates for completing the Denis Rankin Round.