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Mountain Runners’ Association Annual Prizegiving


from Athletics Northern Ireland The Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association’s annual dinner and prizegiving was held in Belfast recently. Trophies and prizes were presented for both the Northern Ireland Mountain Championship and the NIMRA Grand Prix Series.

Guest speaker for the evening was Denis Rankin, one of the pioneers of the sport locally and a founder member of the NI Association. His illustrated talk and slide presentation provided the audience with a fascinating history of the sport from the late 1970’s right up to this year.

Cunningham and O’Kane are the 2010 Northern Ireland Mountain Running Champions

Northern Ireland Champions Stephen Cunningham (Mourne Runners) and Shileen O’Kane (BARF) both secured their respective titles with maximum points scores from 4 wins in the 6 race Championship Series. Shileen, a former NI and All Ireland Champion, added another NI Title as she took the 2010 honours ahead of Diane Wilson (Lagan Valley AC) and Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners). In the 11 race NIMRA Grand Prix Series it was Diane who came out top woman ahead of Shileen with Alwynne Shannon (Mourne Runners) third.

Turning to the men, Stephen secured his first Northern Ireland title in emphatic style as he dominated local mountain running in the 2010 season. 2009 Champion Des Woods (Mourne Runners)made a spirited defence of the title and finished runner up, while Johnny Steede (Ballymena Runners) had his best season ever to finish a close third. Stephen also won the NIMRA Grand Prix Series and broke the course records for the Slieve Donard race and the Mourne Seven Sevens. The Annalong man also took the Mourne Hill & Dale Series title with six straight wins and became the first man to make a clean sweep of the NI Championship, NIMRA Grand Prix and Hill & Dale Series in the one season. Just to round things off Stephen also received the NIMRA Chairman’s ‘outstanding individual performance of the season’ for his superb record breaking run of 3 hours 38 minutes 34 seconds for the 19 mile/8,800 feet climb Mourne Seven Sevens.

In the Championship team competition Mourne Runners retained the title with maximum points. Runner up in the Grand Prix Series was Paul McAnespie (Armagh AC) with Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners) third and apart from Stephen as outright winner every age category in the Championship and Grand Prix was won by a different runner.

British Championship Bronze medal for Jim Patterson

In addition to winning his age category in the NI Championship, Jim Patterson (Newcastle AC) won the bronze medal in the over 60 category of the 2010 British Mountain Running Championship. It is Jim’s fourth British Championship medal as he has 3 gold medals from winning the over 50 category for 3 successive years in the late 1990’s.

Jim secured his bronze medal with a category win at Silent Valley here in April, plus a 7th place at Sedbergh, Cumbria in June and a 3rd place at the Black Mountains, Wales in September. Ben Grant (Harrogate) was the over 60 Champion ahead of Ken Taylor (Rossendale) and Jim.