28 July 2018
Six weeks after making a casual comment to Brian Layton as we were leaving Tring Running Club and the two of us were stood side by side beneath the Donard arch in Newcastle a few minutes before midnight on the last Friday of July. It felt familiar but all so different. We were setting off on a joint attempt of the Denis Rankin Round – a loop of 39 of Northern Ireland’s most significant mountains – to be completed within 24 hours.
The attempt had been somewhat thrown together during the tremendous heatwave that was taking place. A start date and time had been agreed in advance to try and coax some local support and knowledge out onto the hills. The only disbenefit of the fixed start time was being at the whim of the weather…
Leg 1 – Newcastle to Silent Valley – The Dark leg
A brief lull in the rain a couple of minutes before the start
At midnight on Friday 5th October, “Newcastle AC” runners, Mark King, Stephen Wallace & Dominic McInerney, along with a team of assisting runners left Donard Car Park at the start of their attempt of “The Denis Rankin Round”.
The Denis Rankin Round (or “DRR”) is a circuit of all the major peaks in the Mourne Mountains over 400m in height, covering 90km and 6500m in ascent. The challenge is to complete this within a 24 hour period, however, in this instance, the trio were aiming for a completion time of 22 hours 42 minutes.
Mark King, Dominic McInerney & Stephen Wallace at the start of their “DRR”.
The annual member’s presentation took place at last weekend’s Mourne Mountain Marathon. The certificates were presented by Madeline Rankin.
Its 2:45 am and the Slieve Donard carpark is practically empty as Nigel, Denis, Robbie & I line up under the arch and set off on our merry way. It’s a beautiful night, the temperature is much warmer than expected and the visibility is excellent. As we went up the Slieve Donard path, I was thinking to myself how long it had been since I had done a 24-hour event. The banter was good as we chit chatted and remarked how obsessed we had gotten with the weather over the past few weeks. This night was to be cold per the weather forecast but that wasn’t to be the case. Off came my jacket after 30 minutes and there it would stay until the last 2 hours or so. Indeed we were blessed with the weather. Continue reading
On Sunday 5th August, Karina set off on a clockwise round and lowered the existing female record by 4 minutes.