Latest Event News:

18/3/2017:  Entries for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017 reach capacity in record time!

Entries for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017 reached capacity in a record time of less than 14 hours and 30 minutes.  


Race Director Ryan Maxwell commented, "Given the level of interest prior to entries opening, we knew that the race would reach capacity quicker than previous years, but in truth, we had absolutely no idea that it would fill up just so quickly."


He added. "As organisers, it's humbling for us to see and experience the support for the event, both from the local scene and from around the world.  Skyrunning is still very much on the up and it's clear to see that the Skyrunning UK National Series has proven popular... this is just the start of big things to come."


The organising team will now get to work on making the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017 the best yet!


Please Note:  As part of our agreement with Skyrunning UK, we have a number of ‘elite’ places reserved in the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR.  If you feel that you are eligible for an elite entry, please feel free to contact Race Director Ryan Maxwell on [email protected]


Recce Days:  Official Recce Days for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR will be announced at the end of April 2017.

17/3/2017:  Entries OPEN for Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017!

Entries opened today (Friday 17th March 2017) for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017, which will take place on Saturday 21st October 2017 (starting at 9am).

Again, the speed of which entries are taken has increased, with over 100 entries going in the first 25 minutes.  As per last year, there are 250 places available in the event and we expect these to sell out in a short time, so early entry is strongly advised.

1/3/2017:  2017 Skyrunner National Series calendar announced!

Today, Wednesday 1st March 2017, Skyrunning UK announced the 2017 Skyrunner National Series.  NiRunning's Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, which will take place on Saturday 21st October 2017, will again be part of the prestigious Series.


NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell, race director of the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, said "Since the first year of our Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, we have been truly humbled by the level of support that we have received in relation to the event.  Year on year it's amazing to see our best NI athletes take on the cream of Skyrunning talent from around the globe - this year will be no different."


Ryan continued, "again in 2017, like previous years, we will try to build on the event.  We have already received enquiries from some major teams in the Skyrunner World Series and we hope that they will encourage their athletes to come to Northern Ireland and race in our amazing Mourne Mountains.  Entries for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017 will open on St Patrick's Day (Friday 17th March 2017) at 7am.  We have massive respect for the mountain environment and the entry limit will remain at 250 - I would therefore encourage anyone who wants to race at the event to secure there place early as we expect to reach capacity fairly quickly."


Full details of the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR can be found on the official race website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com


Article continued below photo...

Skyrunning UK published the following press release in relation to the Skyrunner National Series 2017...


Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the confirmed calendar for 2017 (article by Skyrunning UK):


Following on from a very successful 2016, changes have taken place over the winter months and Skyrunning UK is now pleased to confirm races that will take place in the UK calendar for 2017.


V3K (WALES):

The season will start with the V3K taking place on June 24th. Now in its 4th year on the Skyrunning UK calendar, the race personifies what makes a great Skyrunning course – technical terrain, elevation, a challenge and amazing landscape. It’s a rugged race that requires an awareness of the mountains and the challenging Crib Goch provides exposure and lofty heights to place each and every runner in the sky! 55km and 4000m of vertical ascent provides a stunning start to the 2017 season.


LAKES SKY ULTRA & SCAFELL SKYRACE (ENGLAND):

The Lakes Sky Ultra team once again bring us the Lakes Sky Ultra and a new race, Scafell Sky Race for 2017. This duo of races take place on the 15th and 16th July and provide two incredible opportunities. The Lakes Sky Ultra is a tough, challenging and adventurous race that requires experience and vetting. Elevated ridge lines, exposure, tough, challenging and technical terrain all pale into insignificance with grade 3 scrambles. Extreme, gnarly and hardcore, it’s everything a Skyrunning race should be! 55km in length and 4500m of vertical gain.


The Scafell Sky Race offers a 40km race and 2700m of vertical gain. It’s a challenging race that like its bigger brother offers an incredible Skyrunning experience. However, the challenge is less extreme and vetting is not required. Therefore, this race is open to all. 


SKYLINE SCOTLAND (SCOTLAND):

In 2017 Skyline Scotland provided us with three events, the Mamores VK, the Ring of Steall Sky Race and the Extreme Glen Coe Skyline – the latter event was a Skyrunner World Series event. In 2017, race organisers Ourea Events add an Ultra, the Ben Nevis Ultra.  For the UK series, to have a Skyrunner World Series event in the UK was incredible – in 2017 we don’t go one step farther, but three steps. The Ring of Steall, Ben Nevis Ultra and Glen Coe Skyline will all be in the SWS calendar. The Mamores VK will be added to the new VK Series. Taking place over an action packed weekend of the 15th, 16th and 17th September, Skyline Scotland will not only provide one of the key weekends on the UK calendar but also the world calendar.


GARMIN MOURNE SKYLINE MTR (NORTHERN IRELAND):

To conclude the 2017 season will be the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland which takes place on October 21st. This race over the last 3-years has grown to become a favourite of all the runners who have participated in the UK series. At 35km’s it is one of the shorter races in the UK circuit, however, the Mourne Mountains pack a whopping 3370m of vertical gain. Salomon International athlete and Skyrunning World champion, Stevie Kremer, said it is one of the hardest events she has ever participated in. Don’t let that put you off though. The landscape, terrain, views and Irish hospitality make this a stunning way to close the 2017 series. Entries are available from Friday 17th March 2017.


In 2016, the Skyrunning UK Series was won by Bjorn Verduijn and Sarah Ridgway, they both will gain free entry into all 2017 events as part of their prize.  For 2017, the Series will take place once again but with some changes.  Full details can be found on the Skyrunning UK website HERE.

9/2/2017:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR date announced...

After our successful Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and ‘GTR’ events over the last three years, the NiRunning - Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR team are very pleased to announce that the date of this year’s event will be Saturday 21st October 2017 (9am).


Entry for the event will be available from St Patrick’s Day – Friday 17th March 2017 at 7am. Both events are expected to sell out quickly.


We are also pleased to announce that race is again part of the Skyrunning UK National Series, with the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race joining high-quality events in England, Scotland and Wales on the calendar. 


To qualify for the Series, runners must participate and finish in a minimum of 4-races. Points are accumulated and the male and the female with the most points will be crowned Skyrunning UK 2016 Series Champions. It is possible to run all Skyrunning UK races and use your best 4 performances for the ranking.


Details on the Skyrunning UK Series are available here: www.skyrunninguk.com

23/10/16:  Germain Grangier & Jasmin Paris win Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2016...

The skies went dark and the clag came in, the 2016 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR started under stormy skies as torrential rain soaked the runners. 


On the stroke of 0900, the runners departed the coastal town of Newcastle ran into Donard Park via the promenade entrance and then climbed the Granite Trail for a long and relentless climb.


From the off, Salomon International athlete Roki Bratina dictated the pace as a small group followed lead by local runner Eoin Lennon, the Team Garmin Adventure athletes ofJulien Jorro and Germain Grangier and Chris Arthur.


Jasmin Paris, as expected dictated the ladies’ race but Skyrunning UK Series leader,Sarah Ridgway was very close by and keeping the inov-8 athlete insight as was Katie Boden who also was in search of valuable ranking points.


A race within a race was also happening for the men as Bjorn Verduijn, Michael Jones and Ben Hukins all fought for points and places in a bid for the 2016 Skyrunning UK Series title. It was Bjorn’s title to lose but on the first climb, Ben was dictating the pace followed by Michael and Bjorn, although trailing was looking relaxed.


After two hours of running, the heavy rains subsided and the skies opened up to reveal the majestic Mourne Mountains and the ever-present Mourne Wall that weaves its way across the landscape.


At Hare’s Gap, the first major peak waited: Slieve Bearnagh. The runners first passing the North Tor before reaching the summit quickly followed with the technical ascent of Slieve Meelmore. In the ladies’ race, Sarah Ridgeway had taken the lead, Jasmine feeling a little tired and jaded after a full-on racing year. For the men, Germain Grangier was showing the rest of the men a clean pair of heals. Chris Arthur had him in sight and Roki Bratina was in 3rd.


The climbs and summits were coming thick and fast now; Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Meelbeg and the course continues to follow the Mourne Wall leading to a repeated climb of the technical and challenging Slieve Meelmore, this time in the opposite direction. The toughest climb of the day follows, Slieve Bearnagh.


From Hare’s Gap a steep climb next to the Mourne Wall brings the runners Slievenaglogh and Slieve Commedagh. The race was now taking shape, Germain looked controlled and relaxed as he pushed his way up the climb. Chris also looked relaxed and Roki looked focused with a determination to close the gap on 2nd and potentially reclaim the lead. One of the pre-race favourites, Eoin Lennon complained of not being able to climb despite running in 4th place.

Jasmin Paris had now reclaimed the lead and Sarah trailed by just a few minutes with a flash on inov-8 red constantly pulling her up the muddy and challenging terrain.


The highest point of the course at Slieve Donard signified the end of the climbing and from here on in, a relentless drop to the finish followed the Mourne Wall before turning right and re-tracing the morning’s early climb before taking the Glen River Path to Donard Park and the finish line.


Germain’s victory never looked in doubt, he was super smooth and super strong all day – his new course record 3:49:39 confirming this. However, pre-race favourite Roki Bratina closed a 5-minute gap from Slieve Commedagh showing some supreme descending skills to finish 2nd in 3:50:17. Chris Arthur finished 3rd with local Eoin Lennon holding on to 4th ahead of Michael Jones.


Despite all his efforts, Michael’s 5th place was not enough of a gap over Bjorn Verduijn’s 10th place and therefore the 2016 Skyrunning UK Series title was awarded to Bjorn.


Jasmin Paris, despite a deep tiredness somehow managed to find the energy to hold off Sarah Ridgway and they finished, 4:30:02 and 4:34:10. Katie Boden finished 3rd lady and therefore moved up to 2nd in the Skyrunning UK Series ahead of Sarah Sheridan but it was Sarah Ridgway who was the outright winner of the series with 2 victories, a 2nd and 3rd place – great consistency!


The mountains of Northern Ireland may not have the height or elevation gain the Alps or Pyrenees offer, but what they lack in height is more than compensated for in technicality and repeated roller coaster climbing. Ask anyone who has run it, the Mourne Skyline MTR is no easy race.  Skyrunning UK Series champions 2016:  Bjorn Verduijn and Sarah Ridgway.

Top 3 Men:  1st Germain Grangier (Team Garmin France) – 3:49:39, 2nd Roki Bratina (Team Salomon International) - 3:50:17, 3rd Chris Arthur (Bowland Fell Runners) - 3:55:16


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC) - 4:30:02, 2nd Sarah Ridgway (Mercia Fell Runners) - 4:34:10, 3rd Katie Boden (North Leeds Fell Running Club) - 4:49:17


Full Results:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2016 Results

21/10/16:  David Steele & Bethany Haugh excel at 'GTR' 2016...

Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race (GTR) 2016:

On Friday 21st October 2016, athletes from all over the world descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the beginning of an excellent weekend of 'Skyrunning' action. 


The Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race ('GTR') saw competitors start on Newcastle's Central Promenade, before making their way into Donard Forest and up the historic Granite Trail towards the finish at Millstone Quarry, overlooking the town. Altogether, this totalled 2 miles uphill with approximately 1,000ft of ascent.

The electric atmosphere was evident as the athletes set off along the Promenade and into the darkness. 


In contrasting conditions to that experienced by athletes taking on the event in 2014 and 2015, when conditions when weather conditions play a big part in proceedings, the forty plus runners enjoyed pleasant running conditions


In the absence of course record holders and reigning Champions Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC), two new Champions were crowned. In what proved to be a closely contested men’s event, it was local club Newcastle AC who came to the fore. The ever-consistent David Steele excelled, securing victory 17:38 (1st place), ten seconds ahead of Barry McConville, who clocked 17:58 for 2nd place – Colm Murtagh completed the top three in 18:09 (3rd place).


In the ladies race, it was another local athlete how reigned supreme, with Mourne Runners star Bethany Haugh breaking the tape in 22:15 (1st place). Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) followed just over thirty seconds later in 22:49 (2nd place), while Claire Withers (Mourne Runners) crossed the line in 24:51 for 3rd place.


Top 3 Men: 1st David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 17:38, 2nd Barry McConville (Newcastle AC) – 17:58, 3rd Colm Murtagh (Newcastle AC) – 18:09


Top 3 Ladies: 1st Bethany Haugh (Mourne Runners) – 22:15, 2nd Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) – 22:49, 3rd Claire Withers (Mourne Runners) – 24:51


Full Results: Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race (GTR) 2016 Results


Photos above by Jayne Bell. To see more of Jayne's photos, please visit our 'Photo Gallery'.

20/10/2016:  Skyrunning returns to Northern Ireland...

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR and GTR 2016:

The weekend action will kick off tonight (Friday 21st October 2016), when close to one hundred athletes will take on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race.  


The 'GTR' is 2 mile uphill only night race, which measured 2 miles in distance and incorporates approximately 1,000ft of ascent. 


The unique course takes athletes from the Promenade in Newcastle, through Donard Forest and up the historic Granite Trail to Millstone Quarry.  The race starts at 7.30pm.


Last year’s winners Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC), who both won in 2014 as well, will not return to defend their titles and course records.  Instead, it could well be several athletes who would be considered as contenders for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR who could take top spot.  


Carnethy HRC’s Eoin Lennon will be there or there abouts, but will have to fend off the challenge of the exceptionally talented Salomon International athlete Roki Bratina.  Mourne Runners’ Sam Herron and Ricky Hanna will feature well, as will Newcastle AC’s Colm Murtagh and Barry McConville.  In the ladies race, Michelle Maier (Salomon International) will prove hard to beat should she toe the line, but local ladies Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) and Claire Withers (Mourne Runners) will also finish well up the field.


On Saturday 22nd October 2016, a capacity field of two hundred runners will contest arguably Northern Ireland’s toughest race, the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race.  This is the 3rd annual running of the event, which has attracted athletes from in excess of fourteen different countries around the world.  The gruelling but stunning course requires athletes to cover nine of the highest peaks, finishing with the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard.  The race starts at 9am on Newcastle Promenade and covers 35k in distance, with 3,370m of ascent.


World famous podcaster and Director of Skyrunning UK, Ian Corless compiled the following preview for the event:

The Skyrunning UK season concludes in Ireland this coming weekend with the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR. Now in its 3rd edition, the race has grown to become a beacon of the UK series. From the very first edition the race has sold out and demand continues to exceed places available.


The big news for the 2016 edition is the presence of Skyrunner® World Series champion JASMIN PARIS running for inov-8 and the Salomon International runner, ROKI BRATINA who placed 4th at the recent Limone Extreme in Italy.


Remi Bonnet a rising star of the sport of Skyrunning excelled in 2015 at races all over the world; two highlights coming in the USA with victory at The RUT and Hong Kong with victory in Lantau ahead of a world class field while a typhoon blew. Remi was due to toe the line at the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, however, a fall two days before the Limone Extreme race just last weekend has caused an injury and he will be unable to run.


Roki Bratina will therefore replace Remi after a stunning 4th place at last weekend’s Limone Extreme Skyrunner World Series race. The Irish terrain may well provide a challenge for the Salomon young gun but he is most definitely a contender for overall victory.

Joining Roki is lady of the moment, Jasmin Paris. Jasmin has rocked the world of fell, ultra and Skyrunning in 2016 and is without doubt one of their most inspiring runners in the sport. Her relentless enthusiasm and ability to race and run week-in and week-out is stunning. 


In 2016 she placed 6th at her first attempt at UTMB, she set three course records on the legendary UK rounds – Bob Graham, Ramsey and Paddy Buckley and in the process set the fastest accumulative time for anyone brave enough to run all three in one year. 


But it doesn’t stop there! Jasmin won Kilian Jornet’s and Emelie Forsberg’s Tromso SkyRace and then followed it up with victory at the Salomon Glen Cole Skyline – the latter providing her with the 2016 Skyrunner World Series title for the Extreme Series. Somewhere in and amongst all this, Jasmin also placed 3rd at the Skyrunning World Championships behind UTMB winner, Caroline Chaverot. It would be an understatement to say that Jasmin is the favorite for victory in Ireland.


Michelle Maier from the Salomon International Team will certainly add some spice to the ladies’ race and then of course we have Sarah Ridgeway, Sarah Sheridan, Katie Boden, Sarah Morwood and Shileen O’Kane amongst many others.


Roki will have strong competition from Julien Jorro from Team Garmin France, Germain Grangier from Team Garmin France, Ian Bailey, Casper Kaars Sijpesteijn, Paul Tierney, Eoin Lennon, Konrad Rawlik and the UK series contenders of Michael Jones, Bjorn Verduijn and Ben Hukins amongst a very stacked field.

It’s also important to remember that although a race is on for podium places the Skyrunning UK Series champions will be confirmed in Ireland. The battle is on for a male and female champion. This battle has been given an edge with results from the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and more importantly the recent cancellation of any points from the 3 x 3000 race due to a lack of course marking making the race a navigational event and not a Skyrunning event. This latter decision impacted heavily on the 3 x 3000 winner Michael Jones. 


Therefore, Michael will race in Mourne looking for victory once again in an attempt to take victory from Bjorn Verduijn.


Sarah Ridgway has been extremely consistent in 2016 with victory at the Lakes Sky Ultra and the Peaks SkyRace. A podium place at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline places her in a great position for the series title with competition coming from Sarah Sheridan and Katie Boden.


Points update after Skyline Scotland are as follows:


Sarah Ridgway 200 points + 78 points for 3rd place at Glen Coe Skyline – 278 points

Sarah Sheridan 216 points + 58 points for 10th place at the Ring of Steall –  274 points

Katie Boden 166 points + 66 points for 6th place at Glen Coe Skyline – 232 points

Bjorn Verduijn 224 points + 50 points for 13th place at the Ring of Steall – 274 points

Ben Hukins 172 points + 52 points for 12th place at the Amores VK and 30 points for the Ring of Steall – 254 points

Michael Jones 100 points + 38 points for the 19th at the Mamores VK and + 64 points for 6th place at the Ring of Steall – 202 points


To clarify, the four best results from the 2016 Skyrunning UK calendar provide points that will determine the male and female 2016 Skyrunning UK Champions. The ladies’ race will be a nail biter between the two Sarah’s and should either have a bad day, this will open the door for Katie Boden.


Michael Jones would have been leading the 2016 ranking with an additional 100 points (302 points) had those points not been removed from the 3 x 3000 and so therefore he will be going into the Mourne race with something to prove. Add into the mix a wealth of local talent and the 2016 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is going to be quite an epic race.


Owned by the National Trust, the Mourne Mountains are an area of outstanding beauty, it includes Slieve Donard (850m), the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and Ulster and as such it provides a perfect location for a mountain race.


Among the more famous features, the Mourne Wall is a key element of this region and a key aspect of the race. Comprised of forest path, fire roads, single track, granite trail and tough uneven broken fell, the race is a tough challenge. In just 35km the course has a brutal 3370m of ascent and no less than 9 peaks, the highest being Slieve Donard at 850m.


“…this would be a tough one, with 11,000 feet of climbing over 22 miles, a serious amount of ascent and descent that equated to 500 feet per mile,” said 2015 5th place runner and Lakeland 50 champion, Jayson Cavill. “That is almost double the climbing of the Yorkshire Three Peaks route over a slightly shorter distance.”


The coastal town of Newcastle hosts the start of the race and a short section of road leads into Donard Park via the promenade entrance and the ‘Granite Trail’ awaits for a long and relentless climb. Dundrum Bay is visible to the west, before a fast downhill section to a climb of the stony and challenging Glen River Path to the Col between Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh.


At Hare’s Gap, the first major peak awaits, Slieve Bearnagh, first passing the North Tor before reaching the summit quickly followed with the technical ascent of Slieve Meelmore. The Mourne Wall becomes a key feature of the race and for the first time the runners follow its line for just 0.4km before veering right and descending towards The Mourne Way path.


Fofany Dam precludes the only road section of the course which leads to the Mourne Wall and the style between Ott and Slieve Loughshannagh. The climbs and summits come thick and fast now; Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Meelbeg and the course continues to follow the Mourne Wall leading to a repeated climb of the technical and challenging Slieve Meelmore, this time in the opposite direction. The toughest climb of the day follows, Slieve Bearnagh.


Passing around the North Tor it is downhill towards Hare’s Gap and a steep climb next to the Mourne Wall towards Slievenaglogh and Slieve Commedagh, Northern Ireland’s second highest mountain. It is ironic that Slieve Commedeagh should lead into Slieve Donard and the highest point of the race. On a clear day the views are magnificent out over the sea, inland towns and villages are visible and of course, the Mourne Mountains. From the summit, it’s all downhill to the finish via the rocky Glen River Path and a fire road that leads into Donard Park and the finish.

15/10/2016:  * Final Race Day Instructions * now AVAILABLE:

FINAL 'RACE DAY INSTRUCTIONS' AVAILABLE:
Our final 'race day' instructions email has been sent out to all competitors via email.  These instructions, as well as course maps, are also available below. 

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR:



Garmin Mourne Skyline GTR:

23/9/2016:  Garmin continue backing of Mourne Skyline MTR / Two current Skyrunning World Champions set for NI:

Garmin, the world’s leading supplier of innovative GPS technology for the sport, recreation and wellness markets, have agreed to extend their title sponsorship of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race in Northern Ireland.


“We are delighted to continue our title sponsorship of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race,” said Gail Cook, UK and Ireland Marketing Director of Garmin. 


“This event, which showcases some of the most spectacular trails on the island, has become one of the most sought-after challenges in the UK’s trail racing calendar.”


The Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, which is part of the Skyrunner National Series alongside races in England, Scotland and Wales, takes place on Saturday 22nd October 2016, in Newcastle, County Down.  A capacity field from 14 countries will undertake the gruelling 35k course which includes a staggering 3,370m of ascent across nine of the most spectacular peaks in Ireland. 

Reigning Champions Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) will return to defend their titles and will face world class opposition yet again.


Current Skyrunning World Series Champions Remi Bonnet (Salomon International) and Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC / Inov8) will take to the start line, as will Salomon International’s up and coming German star Michelle Maier, winner of the iconic Sierre-Zinal mountain race in Switzerland (August 2016) and runner up at the Jungfrau Marathon (Switzerland) earlier this month.


21 year old Remi Bonnet (pictured above) hails from Val De Charmey in Switzerland and is a former Junior Ski Mountaineering World Champion.  After winning several high profile events in 2015, the current Skyrunner World Series VK (Vertical Kilometre) Champion was described as a new Skyrunning phenomenon.  His victories included Limone Xtreme Skyrace, ‘The Rut’ Skyrace and Red Bull K3.  In May this year Remi also won the Trentapassi 17k Skyrace in Italy.  Speaking of his excitement about racing at the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, Remi explained “when I saw the profile of this course I had to do it.”


Jasmin Paris is a lady who needs no introduction after an incredible year – the current British Fell Running Champion smashed both the Bob Graham Round and Ramsey Round records this year before bursting onto the Skyrunning scene with a third place finish at the Skyrunning World Championships (Ultra Distance) is Spain.  Jasmin then went on to win the Tromso Skyrace in Norway and backed this up with a win at the Glencoe Skyline 55k last weekend, which saw the Carnethy HRC athlete crowned the first ever Skyrunner Extreme World Series Champion; the 3 race Extreme Series was added to the Skyrunning World Series this year.  Adding to this, Jasmin also took on the famous Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc, where she claimed sixth place in what was her first time competing over the 100 mile distance.

Title sponsors Garmin will also be well-represented at the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, with the inclusion of two of their top French athletes, Julien Jorro and Germain Grangier.


Julien Jorro is an experienced ultra-athlete who shines over mountain-trail terrain.  Recently he claimed the runners up prize at the Grand Riad de-Camargue 100k race.  In 2015, Julien achieved podium places at the prestigious Andorra Ultra-Trail 112k and the Trail du-Hautacam 60k, but arguably his most high profile performance was at the famous Festival des Templiers 100k, where he secured fifth place against world class opposition.


Meanwhile, fellow countryman Germain Grangier (pictured above) narrowly missed a podium place and national medal when he finished in fourth place at the recent Trails de Le Vesubie 55k.  Earlier this year, Germain, who has shown a speedy edge over 40-50k, won the Trail des Balcons d’azur 47k.  In 2015, he was third in the newest event at UTMB, the OCC (Orsieres-Champex-Chamonix); a 53k event which incorporates 3,500m of ascent – Looking at course statistics, this event is very similar to the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR.


The aforementioned talent will be joined on the promenade start line by the likes of Sarah Ridgway (Mercia Fell Runners), a third place finisher at the Glencoe Skyline - Irish international Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC) – Team GB star Sarah Morwood (Team Mudcrew) – Welsh international Gareth Wyn-Hughes (Mercia Fell Runners) - Skyrunner National Series contenders Sarah Sheridan (Unattached), Katie Boden (North Leeds Fell Running Club), Bjorn Verdijn (Shettleston Harriers) and Ben Hukins (Cambuslang Harriers) – Lakeland 50 runner up Casper Kaars-Sijpesteijn (North Leeds Fell Running Club) and top ten finisher at the Salomon Glencoe ‘Ring of Steall’ Skyrace Jacqui Toal (BARF), amongst others.

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is organised by NiRunning, a Northern Ireland based website dedicated to promoting mountain, trail, track and road running.  


The stunning route comprises of forest paths, fire roads, single track grass and granite trails.  


Points of interest include ‘Lindsey’s Leap’, Glen River path, the spectacular ‘Castles’, Hare’s Gap, Foffanny Dam, Iron Bridge and Slieve Donard, Commedagh, Bearnagh, Meelmore, Loughshannagh and Meelbeg.


Although the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR has reached capacity, there are still a few places left in the Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race (GTR) on Friday 21st October 2016, a night time run of a 2-mile, 1,000ft ascent, which is suitable for most trail runners and starts from the promenade of the picturesque seaside town.  More information can be found on the official race website www.mourneskylinemtr.com


Associate event sponsors include The Steensons, Clif Bar, Apex Clinic, Active Financial and Browne’s Gas Services.


More on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race at: www.mourneskylinemtr.com


More on Garmin at www.garmin.com or www.garmin.ie

15/8/2016:  Latest Skyrunning UK National Series 2016 rankings available!

Skyrunning UK National Series 2016:

The Skyrunning UK, Skyrunner® National Series 2016 is well underway and with three races completed – V3K, Lakes Sky Ultra and the Peak SkyRace it is time to post an update on the rankings.  To clarify, the 2016 ranking includes ALL the races in the 2016 UK calendar and yes, that includes the UK’s first ever VK!


Including ‘all’ races in a calendar would not normally be the case as per the Skyrunner® World Series, however, the UK series is still relatively small and we want to encourage participation in all races and all distances.


To score for the series, you need 4 races to qualify for the series and should you complete more than 4, then your best 4 results count.


Importantly, the 3×3 in the Lakes is very soon (and has entries available) and if you need a race or points, that is the one to enter…! Don’t think easy points will come at the Salomon Mamores VK™ or the Ring of Steall Skyrace™, both races will be a full on lung and leg busters but a few places still remain.


The current Skyrunning UK National Series rankings can be found HERE.


What can you win?

In addition to prize money awarded at each race, the male and female 2016 Skyrunning UK Champions will receive:


- Free entry into all Skyrunning UK races in the following year.

- Guaranteed entry into a 2017 Skyrunner World Series event with 2-nights accommodation.

- Prizes from Skyrunning UK sponsor, Raidligh

10/5/2016:  Recce Days for 2016 announced...

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR recce days released:

Following the success of our Mourne Skyline MTR course recce/training days in 2014 and 2015, we have once again organised three recce/training days, which are open to race entrants and marshall's. 


Full information is below:

Our 'Course Recce/Training Day (s)' are aimed at introducing 2016 competitors and the new members of our Race Team to the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR course, with the intention of allowing everyone to familiarise themselves with the route, whilst also training on it.  


The course will be broken down into two sections, which will be covered on separate days, therefore offering good and very manageable training opportunities.  Each day is geared towards both local athletes and those travelling from outside Northern Ireland – Days 2 and 3 are particularly set up for those travelling to Northern Ireland to reece the route.


Day 1 – Sunday 21st August 2016:


Day 1 will be on Sunday 21st August 2016 (9am) and will cover the first section of the course, taking us from Newcastle Town Centre to the furthermost point of the course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle (approximately 17k in distance).


Day 1 information...

- Date: Sunday 21st August 2016

- Meeting Place: Donard Park Car Park, Newcastle, County Down (9am)

- Aid Stations: There will be NO aid stations, so please ensure that you are 100% self-sufficient. This should include (at a MINIMUM) water and emergency food (ie mars bar)

- Equipment: This is a training run and as such, YOU are responsible for the kit that you bring; we would recommend that you carry equipment suitable for current and predicted weather conditions and carry a mobile phone and whistle. If anyone has any questions in relation to recommended equipment, please be sure to ask in the run up to the recce day.

- Cost:  We would ask everyone to bring £2, this is just to cover the cost of transport back to Donard Park from Slievenaman Road. We will arrange the transport.


Day 2 and 3 (Recce Weekend) - Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October 2016:


Day 2 will be on Saturday 1st October 2016 and will cover the first section of the course, taking us from Newcastle Town Centre to the furthermost point of the course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle (approximately 17k in distance).   


Day 3 will be on Sunday 2nd October 2016 and will cover the second part of the route, which will start at the furthermost part of the course on Slievenaman Road, Newcastle and follow the race route to the finish line in Donard Park, Newcastle.  This is approximately 18k in distance.


Day 2 and Day 3 Information...

- Date: Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October 2016 (9am)

- Meeting Place (both days):  Donard Park Car Park, Newcastle, County Down (9am)

- Aid Stations: There will be NO aid stations, so please ensure that you are 100% self-sufficient. This should include (at a MINIMUM) water and emergency food (ie mars bar)

- Equipment: This is a training run and as such, YOU are responsible for the kit that you bring; we would recommend that you carry equipment suitable for current and predicted weather conditions and carry a mobile phone and whistle. If anyone has any questions in relation to recommended equipment, please be sure to ask in the run up to the recce day.

- Cost:  We would ask everyone to bring £2 (per day), this is just to cover the cost of transport costs. We will arrange the transport.

- Accommodation: For those completing Day 2 and Day 3, details of accommodation in the area are available on our Travel Info page.


These recce/training day(s) are open to those who have entered the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR and/or the 'GTR' and any of our Volunteer team.  


Garmin Mourne Skyline GTR Training Day:

It is also our intention to host an official 'GTR' course recce day on Saturday 3rd September 2016. As part of this event, we will cover the course once (approximately 4 miles – 1,000ft of ascent in total) at an EASY pace, then those who wish to have another go at it can take a second run over the route.  This is an excellent opportunity to see and test the course in daylight.


PLEASE INFORM US IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE RECCE DAYS VIA EMAIL TO - [email protected] - Please include your name and mobile phone number.

18/4/2016:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2016 reaches capacity!

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR reaches capacity:

After releasing entries for the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2016 just over four weeks ago, we can confirm that for the third consecutive year, we have reached our entry limit, which means (unfortunately) no further entries can be taken.


Those who have entered the third annual running of the 35k race (inc 3,370m of ascent), which is part of the Skyrunning UK National Series, will have the opportunity to race against athletes from across the globe, with no less than 14 countries represented.  


The entry list is littered with local, national and international talent, including no less than 22 athletes who have represented their country on the international stage.  Details of the 'elite' entries will follow in the coming weeks and months.


Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director Ryan Maxwell had this to say, “Once again, we have been genuinely humbled by the support for the event – for the third year in a row the 35k event has reached capacity.  We thoroughly enjoyed 2014 and 2015, and appreciated the amazing feedback that we received.  However, we will not rest on our previous success - this year, we want to move things forward another step.


In terms of the entry list, it excites me.  It really is a 'who's who' of local, national and international talent, which makes for a phenomenal race, not just at the head of the pack, but right through the field where personal battles will be fought.  I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone for their support.  We will repay this with a top quality event.”


If you have missed out on entry for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, why not race the 'GTR' (Granite Trail Race)?  The 2 mile Uphill only event, with an ascent of approximately 1,000ft has proved very popular in the past, attracting the likes of IAAF 24 hour World Championship medallist Robbie Britton and Mont Blanc ‘Cross’ winner Paul Navesey - IAAF World Championship (Team) medallist Sarah McCormack and respected Northern Ireland international Seamus Lynch have also raced at the event and hold the respective course records.  There are currently 80 places remaining in the GTR, which we also expect to sell out, so early entry is advised.  


Please Note:  As part of our agreement with Skyrunning UK, we have a number of ‘elite’ places reserved in the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR.  If you feel that you are eligible for an elite entry, please feel free to contact Race Director Ryan Maxwell on [email protected]


Recce Days:  Official Recce Days for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR and 'GTR' will be announced at the end of April 2016.

16/3/16:  Hype builds ahead of race entries opening!

Entries open TOMORROW (17/3/16):

Entries for the 3rd annual Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail-Race and the associated Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) will open tomorrow, St Patrick’s Day (Thursday 17th March 2016) at 7am.  


Following the success of the previous two years, which has no doubt been helped by the high profile support of innovative GPS brand Garmin and a Channel 4 TV Programme about the event in 2015, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR has already attracted significant interest from around the globe. 


The 200 spaces in the 35k event (which incorporate 3,370m of ascent) are expected to sell out quickly, early entry is therefore advised... (article continued below).

Over the coming weeks, organisers will release details of the ‘elite’ field, which already includes British Mountain Running Champion Jasmin Paris (Carnethy HRC), Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 winners Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), current NIMRA Champions Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), and Northern Ireland and Ireland international Jonny Steede (Glens Runners).

 

The Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR, which takes place on Saturday 22nd October 2016 (9am), is organised by popular local website www.NiRunning.co.uk and is part of the Skyrunning UK Series alongside races in England, Scotland and Wales – It offers competitors the opportunity to test themselves against world class opposition over a tough but incredibly scenic course.  In 2015, Newcastle AC’s Ian Bailey smashed the course record after winning in 3:51:22 – the ladies record stands at 4:24:25 and is held by two time Skyrunner World Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon), who is keen to return in 2016.


The Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) opens the weekend festivities on Friday 21st October 2016 (7.30pm) and covers an uphill only route.  The course measures 2 miles in distance with approximately 1,000ft of ascent, taking competitors from the Newcastle Promenade, up the historic Granite Trail to the atmospheric and unique finish at Millstone Quarry, where finishers can take in the stunning night time views over Newcastle and the wider Mourne area.  Local athlete Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and European XC Championships team medallist Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC) have dominated the race since its inception in 2014 – Seamus holds the men’s record of 15:53 (2015), while Sarah’s 17:29 from 2014 is the fastest ladies time.


Race Director Ryan Maxwell is enthusiastic about the 2016 event, saying “Since starting the race in 2014, we have been genuinely overwhelmed by the support and kind words from all over the world regarding the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR and the ‘GTR’.  It would be easy to rest on our laurels after the success of the previous two years, but this is not something we do, nor is it the kind of team we are - we are working tirelessly to build on the success of 2014/2015 and are hopeful that the races will continue to draw positive attention to Northern Ireland and the local running scene.”


Full details of the event, including race entry can be found on the official Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com (Entries open on St Patrick’s Day – Thursday 17th March 2016 at 7am)

26/1/16:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2016 date announced...

After our successful Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and ‘GTR’ events in 2015, the NiRunning - Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR team are very pleased to announce that the date of next year’s event will be Saturday 22nd October 2016 (9am), with the increasingly popular ‘GTR’ taking place on Friday 21st October 2016 (7.30pm).


Entry for both events will be available from St Patrick’s Day – Thursday 17th March 2016 at 7am. Both events are expected to sell out quickly.


We are also pleased to announce that from 2016, the Skyrunning UK Series will officially kick off, with the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race joining high-quality events in England, Scotland and Wales. To qualify for the Series, runners must participate and finish in a minimum of 4-races. Points are accumulated and the male and the female with the most points will be crowned Skyrunning UK 2016 Series Champions. It is possible to run all Skyrunning UK races and use your best 4 performances for the ranking.


Details on the Skyrunning UK Series are available here: www.skyrunninguk.com

17/11/15:  Skyrunning UK Annual General Meeting:

Press Release from Skyrunning UK:

It was the Skyrunning UK AGM in the English Lakes on the weekend of the 14th and 15th November 2015. As you can imagine, it was a busy weekend with a great many plans discussed for 2016.


We will announce the 2016 calendar as soon as possible. Please keep an eye on this website and the Skyrunning UK Facebook page. To clarify, we are currently waiting for land permission rights to be granted so that dates can be confirmed.


To keep you all excited and on your toes, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce several key changes that will be implemented in 2016.


Prize Money:

All Skyrunning UK races in 2016 will have a minimum prize purse of £500 awarded as £125, £75 and £50 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd male and female.


UK Series:

The Skyrunning UK Series will be implemented in 2016 and at the end of the year a male and female champion will be crowned. Points are awarded as outlined HERE. To qualify for the series, runners must participate and finish in a minimum of 4-races. Points are accumulated and the male and the female with the most points are the Skyrunning UK 2016 Series CHampions. It is possible to run all Skyrunning UK races and use your best 4 performances for the ranking.


UK Series Prizes:

In addition to prize money awarded at each race, the male and female 2016 Skyrunning UK Champions will receive:


- Free entry into all Skyrunning UK races in the following year.

- Guaranteed entry into a 2017 Skyrunner World Series event with 2-nights accommodation.

- Prizes from Skyrunning UK sponsor, Raidlight


Needless to say, Skyrunning UK is booming! More news and information will follow on the 2016 series and we welcome and value your support and input.

10/11/15:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR on Channel 4:

We are VERY pleased and extremely proud to confirm that Channel 4 will be broadcasting a 30 minute programme on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain–Trail Race 2015. 


The programme, which is called ‘Garmin Mourne Skyline 2015’, will be televised at 7.05am on Saturday 21st November 2015 and will also be available on Channel 4 +1, as well as 4OD (Channel 4 ‘on demand’).  


We would be most grateful if you could ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ our facebook posts in relation to this information.


Please see the attached link for a special promotional snippet which Channel 4 will be using to advertise the programme… Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 (Channel 4 promo video)


We would like to take this opportunity to once again say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to making the 2nd annual Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and ‘GTR’ such a success. 

25/10/15:  Ian Bailey and Diane Wilson crowned 2015 Champions!

Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2015:

On Saturday 24th October 2015, NiRunning welcomed a huge array of talent to the inaugural running of our Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race in the Mourne Mountains (Newcastle, County Down).


Alongside the athletes, Skyrunning UK Director and host of world renowned podcast 'Talk Ultra', Ian Corless, was also present.  Ian provides the following summary of the event:

Iain Bailey and Diane Wilson were the 2015 champions for the 2nd edition of the Mourne Skyline MTR, the 6th and final race in the Skyrunning UK calendar.


Considered by many to be Northern Ireland’s toughest and most challenging race, the Mourne Skyline MTR covers 35km’s with a whopping elevation gain of 3370m. Starting and finishing in the seaside resort of Newcastle, the race is now considered to be a highlight not only of the Skyrunning UK calendar but also the racing calendar in Northern Ireland.


The first edition of the race was made especially difficult with gale force winds that at time lifted runners off their feet and ‘helped’ them along the course. It looked like a repeat day was in store for the 150-runners who would tackle the 2015 edition when overnight wind and rain battered the coastline.


At 0800 leaving the promenade of Newcastle, the cold temperatures, strong winds and light rain certainly added to the trepidation of a tough day in the mountains. From the off, Dan Doherty dictated the men’s race but he was closely followed by the day’s main protagonists of Eoin Lennon, Ian Bailey, Jayson Cavill and Ally Beaven. For the ladies, Shileen O’Kane pushed the early pace ahead of Lizzie Wraith and Diane Wilson.


At the col between Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh, with 6.6km covered, the action started to unfold as the runners headed out on the more demanding sections of the course. Climbing the rocky and technical Slieve Meelmore, the real race started to take place but at all times the main protagonists jockeyed for position.


Iain Bailey and Diane Wilson took the respective race leads for the men and the women and this coincided with the skies clearing and the arrival of the sun. Finally, it was possible to see out across the stunning Mourne Mountains and take in the beauty this area has to offer. The sea glistened in the distance and the yellow and amber colours of the terrain provided a stunning backdrop to hard, tough and technical racing.

Overnight rain had made the course exceptionally difficult under foot and many runners commented post race how challenging it was to remain upright while descending.  Slieve Bearnagh offered one of the toughest climbs of the day and then a drop down to Hare’s Gap where the ever-present Mourne Wall then guides the runners to Slievenaglogh, Slieve Commedagh and then final push of the day up and over Slieve Donard (2788ft) before dropping all the way down from the summit to the finish line in Newcastle.


Pre race favourite Dan Doherty went to through a bad patch in these sections as he chased Iain Bailey who had a convincing lead of well over 5-minutes, “I am lacking energy and feeling tired,” Doherty shouted as he ran past hotly pursued by Ally Bevan, Eoin Lennon and Jayson Cavill. One would have thought that Doherty would not hold on to 2nd but he found the energy from somewhere!


Bevan, Lennon and Cavill contested the final podium place and it was a close battle before Lennon found that extra few percent to open up a gap. Bevan looked secure for 4th but a charging Cavill looked like he may well have upset that as he raced for the line. Bevan held off for 4th by just 7-seconds.

Pre race favourite Diane Wilson never looked back after taking over the front of the race and ran a well paced and controlled run to take victory, behind Helen Brown held off early leader Shileen O’Kane for 2nd and GB athlete Lizzie Wraith finished 4th ahead of Jaqueline Toal. “I had completely wrong shoes today,” said Wraith post race, “the descents were so slippery that I just couldn’t push the pace. I am happy though!”


Although the start of the day was a tough one many commented that the conditions after a couple of hours of running were considerably kinder than the 2014 edition when the gale force winds battered the runners, this was reflected in a new course record by Iain Bailey of 3:51:22.


A notable mention must also go to Garmin who for the first year sponsored the Mourne Skyline MTR and the input of the GPS watch brand was instrumental and securing a 30-minute program on the race for channel 4 TV. Needless to say this will be a great boost for the race, running in Northern Ireland and Skyrunning UK.  The program will be televised in November and we currently have a possible date of 8th.


Mourne Skyline MTR concluded the 2015 Skyrunning UK calendar. Just 2-years old, this series of races is now firmly becoming one of the most exciting race circuits. 2016 will see the series grow with points awarded for each race, prize money at every race and some special prizes on offer for the 2016 SKY and ULTRA champions, make sure you keep an eye on www.skyrunninguk.com


RESULTS:


Men:  1st Iain Bailey 3:51:22 new CR, 2nd Dan Doherty 4:04:07, 3rd Eoin Lennon 4:07:45, 4th Ally Beaven 4:10:21, 5th Jayson Cavill 4:10:28


Ladies:  1st Diane Wilson 4:33:26, 2nd Helen Brown 4:42:12, 3rd Shileen O’Kane 4:50:19, 4th Lizzie Wraith 5:04:12, 5th Jacqueline Toal 5:25:03


Full Results:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 Results

24/10/15:  Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR Results AVAILABLE!

Provisional Results for the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, which was won by Ian Bailey (Newcastle AC) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), are now now available HERE.


A full summary and photos from the event will follow tomorrow (Sunday 25th October 2015).


The NiRunning and Mourne Skyline MTR team would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported the event, and also our amazing race team!

23/10/15:  Seamus Lynch and Sarah McCormack win GTR!

Garmin Mourne Skyline GTR 2015:

On Friday 23rd October 2015, athletes from all over the world descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the beginning of an excellent weekend of 'Skyrunning' action.


The Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race ('GTR') saw athletes start on Newcastle's Central Promenade, before making their way into Donard Forest and up the historic Granite Trail towards the finish at Millstone Quarry, overlooking the town.  Altogether, this totalled 2 miles uphill with approximately 1,000ft of ascent.


The electric atmosphere was evident as the athletes set off along the Promenade and into the darkness.  Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 finisher Paul Navesey (Cneturian Running set out fast and was joined by ‘GTR’ course record holder, newly crowned NIMRA Champion Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), amongst others.  Ladies course record holder Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC) looked strong at the head of the ladies field, while Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) and Charlene Abraham (Unattached), were vying for the remaining podium places.


As the athletes began their ascent of the 1,000m long Granite Trail, Seamus Lynch began to take charge and increased his lead fairly quickly.  The always impressive had Paul Navesey and Raivis Zakis (Latvia) in pursuit, but in truth, the local man always looked a dominant force.  He powered towards the top of the Granite trail, veering right towards the picturesque Quarry finish, where he broke the tape in 15:53 (1st place).  Paul Navesey followed in 16:55 (2nd place), while Ravivis Zakis (completed the top three in 17:33 (3rd place).


Sarah McCormack yet again proved unbeatable and also exceptional over the tough course as she sealed victory in the ladies race; the Irish international, who was part of Ambleside AC’s winning relay team at the UKA Fell and Hill Running Championships last week, completed the uphill only route in 18:14 (1st place), which not only secured top honours in the ladies race, but saw Sarah take 4th place overall.  The in-form Laura Graham continued her impressive run of results as she took the runners up prize in 20:34 (2nd place) - Charlene Abraham, a third place finisher at the event twelve months ago, once again picked claimed 3rd place in 21:18 (3rd place).


Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 15:53, 2nd Paul Navesey (Centurion Running) – 16:55, 3rd Raivis Zakis (Latvia) – 17:33


Top 3 Ladies: 1st Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC) – 18:14, 2nd Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) – 20:34, 3rd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 21:18


Full Results:  Garmin Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race (GTR) 2015 Results 


Photos above by Jayne Bell.  To view more of Jayne’s photos from the ‘GTR’, please visit our NiRunning website HERE.  The photos will also be added to the Photo Gallery on this website in the coming days.

21/10/15:  Skyrunning returns to Northern Ireland!

This coming weekend, Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th October 2015, the eyes of the Skyrunning world will be on Northern Ireland, and in particular, the stunning Mourne Mountains, as the 2nd annual Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race once again attracts a plethora of talent from across the globe.  The event will be filmed by Channel 4 and broadcast in November 2015.


This year, world renowned producers of innovative GPS products for the recreation and wellness markets, Garmin, have come on board to support the event, which is now named, the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race.


The exciting weekend of mountain-trail running will close the Skyrunning UK season, following on from successful events in England, Wales and Scotland, with the action kicking off at 7.30pm on Friday 23rd October 2015.  Close to 100 competitors will take on the unique ‘Granite Trail Race’ (‘GTR’), a 2 mile uphill only event, starting on Newcastle Promenade (County Down) and finishing approximately 1,000ft above sea-level at Millstone Quarry. 


The impressive field will be headed by Northern Ireland international Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and winner of the Mont Blanc 10k, Paul Navesey (Centurion Ultra Running Team).  The ladies race will include highly respected European Cross Country (team) and World Mountain Running Championship (team) medallist Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC and Ireland) who just last month secured a top ten place at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales, finishing just ahead of former World Champion Kasie Enman (USA).  Sarah will be joined on the ‘GTR’ start line by the in-form NI & Ulster Half Marathon medallist Laura Graham (Mourne Runners).


On Saturday 24th October 2015, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR will see 200 hardy competitors from fourteen countries cover a gruelling but incredibly scenic and rewarding 35k course, which incorporates 3,370m of ascent.  Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard, which stands at 850m above sea-level, will be the final peak, before the athletes descend quickly into the Donard Park finish area.


Although last year’s worthy Champions and course record holders, Kim Collison (England) and Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon), are unable to return to defend their titles, this year’s race will undoubtedly provide the same exciting spectacle.  There are at least thirty athletes who have represented their country at international level due to start, meaning that both the male and female fields provide incredible strength in depth.


There really is all to play for ahead of this event, and here are some of the athletes who will be gunning for the honour of being crowned Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR Champion.

The Men:

Dan Doherty (Scott Trail Team), Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC), Jayson Cavill (Ultra Runner Store Trail Team), Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), Ally Beaven (Unattached), Iain Bailey (Newcastle AC), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) look to be the strongest candidates for the podium places in a field littered with talent from across the globe. 


Irish international Dan Doherty has increased his profile considerably since stepping onto the international stage in 2011.  His 17th place finish at this year’s IAU Ultra-Trail World Championships in France cemented Dan as one of the UK and Ireland’s most respected ultra-distance athletes.  The 2013 Anglo-Irish Plate winner also impressed at the gruelling Tor Des Geants, where he worked his way through the field to move into 2nd place before a knee injury cruelly ended his race with approximately 100k to go – 12 months earlier, Dan had claimed the runners up spot at the 330k event, which includes an incredible 24,000 metres of ascent. 


Dan's Irish international team mate Paul Tierney will also go into the event high in confidence - Paul has enjoyed a successful year.  After representing Ireland at the IAU Ultra-Trail World Championships, Paul has shown good form in the mountains, but his best performance came at the Lakeland 100, where he secured a superb victory.


Scotland based Northern Ireland man Eoin Lennon has been in the form of his life since claiming the runners up spot at the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014 – Eoin recorded 3:59:42 to finish behind Kim Collision and has went on to impress at several notable events, this includes a 4th place finish at the prestigious HOKA Highland Fling and a win at the recent Glencoe Marathon, both in Scotland.  Eoin has also shown his speedy edge with a 16:16 5k over the Summer.


Newcastle AC men Iain Bailey and David Steele, and Mourne Runners’ Sam Herron will know this course better than most.  All three will be in the mix for a high placing, but it’s Iain’s strength on the climbs that will ensure that he plays a prominent part in in the race for a podium place – he finished in 5th place at the British Championship event in the Mourne's in August.


If podium places were calculated for all of the Skyrunning UK events since the Series’ inception in 2014, Jayson Cavill would no doubt be one of the highest ranking athletes.  He (Jayson) is never off the podium and as per usual, deservedly claimed his spot there at the Salomon Glencoe Skyline event in August (2015), where he took 3rd place in the men’s race.  Steve Franklin (Totley AC), a 14th place finisher at the aforementioned Glencoe Skyline and top fifty finisher at the Mont Blanc Marathon, will finish well up the pack.  The same can be said for 2014 4th place finisher Ally Beaven; despite focusing more on his training, rather that racing recently, Ally should be there or there abouts.


Profeet UK athlete Victor Mound will also run well, as will Richard Ashton (Orion Harriers), Bjorn Verduijn (Shettleston Harriers), Barry Hartnett (Dundrum AC), Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), Peter Cromie (Roe Valley CC), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners).

The Ladies:

Team GB star Lizzie Wraith, a podium finisher at this year’s Dragon’s Back 200 mile race, will start as pre-race favourite. Despite the fact that Lizzie is used to covering much longer distances, it will be her ability to deal with the leg-sapping climbs and descents that may well just give her the edge.  


The Lakeland 100 winner (in 2013) is excited about visiting and racing in Northern Ireland for the first time and will prove difficult to beat.  In saying that, local hero Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), winner of the Ben Nevis Mountain Race and a podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014, knows exactly what to expect and is going into the event in the form of her life. 


Newly crowned Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), will be another athlete who will be in the thick of the action, but the local lady, who won 5 NIMRA Championship races this term, will have to see off some formidable opposition if she wishes to secure a podium spot – none more so that Mynydd Du Mountain Runners athlete and recognised international Helen Brown, who secured 14th place in the World Mountain Running Championships less than four weeks ago.  Interestingly, Helen has stepped onto the podium on three of the previous four occasions she has raced in Northern Ireland.  Arguably her best performance on these shores was a win at the Silent Valley Mountain Race in 2013, which was part of the British Fell Running Championships.


Jacqui Toal (BARF) and Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) enjoyed an epic dual at the 26extreme Causeway Coast Ultra last month (September 2015), with Jacqui coming through to win late on after Fran had led from the off.  The pair will resume battle here and will be joined by another highly respected ultra-distance athlete, Comrades finisher and podium regular Joanne Curran (BARF).  Aisling Allum (Carnethy HRC) will be one to watch – after moving to Scotland earlier this year, Aisling has shown superb improvement and less than four weeks ago, the former triathlon star secured 4th place at the Glencoe Half Marathon.  Aisling will smash her 5:54:43 clocking from 2014, which saw her take 10th place in the ladies race. 


Lagan Valley AC’s Hazel McLaughlin will claim a top ten place, while Ireland based ladies Jolene Mellon (Unattached) and Elizabeth Wheeler (Unattached) will be hoping for the same.  Versatile Springwell Running Club athlete Sonia Knox will go well, as will 2:50:52 marathoner Georgia Wood (Unattached) and local ladies Taryn McCoy (BARF), Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC).

19/10/15:  Spectator Information now AVAILABLE!

Would you like to watch the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR - Spectator Advice:
Both last year and this year, we have received numerous requests from fellow runners and sporting enthusiasts in relation to watching the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race.  Based on this, we wanted to take some time to recommend some viewing points, they are as follow:

Location 1:  Race Start
This is on the Promenade in Newcastle (County Down) at 8am.  There is plenty of space to view the athletes as they set off, with ample parking available in Donard Park, approximately 400 metres away.

Location 2:  Donard Forest and Granite Trail
For those keen to get out onto the course, whilst enjoying a run.  You can make your way along the first section of the course as it winds it's way through Donard Forest and onto the Granite Trail.  It is approximately 1 mile from Donard Park to the start of the Granite Trail, if you are following the race route.

Location 3:  Donard - Commedagh Col (Checkpoint 1 & Checkpoint 5)
For the fitter spectators, you can leave early and follow the race route through Donard Forest and up the Glen River Path to the Col between Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh, where Checkpoint 1 (outward) and Checkpoint 5 (return) are located.  It will take someone with a good standard of fitness approximately 60 minutes to get to this point.  Athletes will pass this location twice, on the way out (7k) and on the way back (28k).

Location 4:  Hare's Gap (Checkpoint 2 & Checkpoint 4)
Hare's Gap also provides an excellent opportunity to see the athletes twice and can be accessed on foot if you drive to Trassey Road and follow the Trassey Track up to Hare's Gap.  It will take someone with a good level of fitness approximately 45 minutes to get to this point from Trassey Road - It will take approximately 10-15 minutes to drive from Newcastle to Trassey Road.  Athletes will pass this location twice, on the way out (11k) and on the way back (24k).

Location 5:  Ott Car Park/Slievenaman Road
As the athletes exit Checkpoint 3 (15k) at the NI Water Treatment Works, they will make their way out onto the Slievenaman Road and cover one mile on the road up to the Ott Track, where they will turn left off the Slievenaman Road and head back into the mountains.  If you park at Ott Car Park, this will provide you with an excellent opportunity to see the athletes come uphill on the road.  It will take approximately 15 minutes to drive from Newcastle to the Ott Car Park. 

Note:  Please do not stop/park at Checkpoint 3, this is reserved for official and emergency vehicles ONLY and congestion here may not only impact on the runners, but will also impact on the race in future years, as we use this with the express permission of our friends at NI Water.  Ott Car Park (1 mile further up the road) is a much better location, with more parking space.

Location 6:  Donard Park finish line!
Why not see the athletes off at the start, get yourself some breakfast in one of the many local cafes, have a nice walk, and then make your way to the finish line in Donard Park to see the first runners come in from approximately 11:50am.  The start and finish of the race are only 400 metres apart, well... for spectators anyway! :o)
* Please click on the map above to see a larger PDF version *

18/10/15:  Final Race Day Instructions now AVAILABLE!

FINAL 'RACE DAY INSTRUCTIONS' AVAILABLE:
Our final 'race day' instructions email has been sent out to all competitors via email.  These instructions, as well as course maps, are also available below. 

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR:




Garmin Mourne Skyline GTR:

25/9/15:  The countdown is on!  Just 4 weeks to the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR & 'GTR':

The countdown is on!
In just four weeks from today, Friday 23rd October 2015, athletes from across the globe will descend on the County Down town of Newcastle for the 2nd annual running of the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and the associated ‘Granite Trail Race’.  The action kicks off on the Friday with the ‘GTR’, before competitors take on the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR on the Saturday!

This week, we caught up with 2014 winners Kim Collison and Stevie Kremer and asked them what their memories of the event were:

Kim Collison, British Ultra-Running Champion and Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 male winner, said:

“Mourne Skyline MTR was one of my highlights of 2014 and is a great race which deserves to grow.  I was excited to race in the Mournes and setting off from the coastal town of Newcastle was a real novelty. A good mix of long gradual climbs, short sharp hills and technical rocky fell descents, combined with autumnal weather, made the race a good test of mountain skills. I came back exhilarated, not only as winner, but by the thrill of a course set in an amazing mountain environment.”

Stevie Kremer, Skyrunner World Champion and Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 female winner, said:

“The Mourne race was one of the toughest races I have ever competed in - from the steep, hands-on-knees, climbs to the technical, slippery descents, not one part of this race let up.  With the added elements of rain and wind, this race presented a new level of difficulty in a fantastic setting of majestic mountains sweeping down to the sea. The support crew and the spectators were incredible. Mourne Skyline MTR tested my strength and endurance - to all adventurous runners out there, this one is definitely for you!”

This year, we will welcome athletes from at least 14 different countries, there will also be at least 30 competitors who have represented their country, which makes for a hugely exciting event – are you racing? coming to watch? We hope you are as excited as we are!  Although the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR has reached capacity, there are still spaces left in the ‘GTR’.  Please visit www.mourneskylinemtr.com for full details.

16/9/15:  GARMIN ANNOUNCE TITLE SPONSORSHIP OF THE MOURNE SKYLINE MOUNTAIN-TRAIL RACE 2015

Garmin announce title sponsorship of Mourne Skyline MTR:
Garmin, the world’s leading supplier of innovative GPS technology for the sport, recreation and wellness markets, have agreed to become the first title sponsor of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2015.
 
Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR takes place on Saturday, 24th October, in Newcastle, Co Down, with 200 runners from 14 countries undertaking a gruelling 35k, 3,370m ascent across 9 of the most spectacular peaks in Ireland.
 
The field includes no less than 30 runners who have represented their country, among them Ireland's Dan Doherty (17th in IAU Ultra-Trail World Championships) and Great Britain & NI star Lizzie Wraith.

Northern Ireland's first ever winner of the Ben Nevis mountain race, Diane Wilson, will also start following her success on the UK's highest mountain two weeks ago.
 
There are still a few places left in the Granite Trail Race on the 23rd, a night time run of a 2-mile, 1,000ft ascent, which is suitable for most trail runners and starts from the promenade of the picturesque seaside town.  More information can be found on the official race website www.mourneskylinemtr.com
 
“We are delighted to be the title sponsors for the 2nd Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail Race,” said Gail Cook, UK and Ireland Marketing Director of Garmin. “This event, which showcases some of the most spectacular trails on the island, promises to become one of the most sought-after challenges in the UK’s trail racing calendar.”

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is organised by NiRunning, a Northern Ireland based website dedicated to promoting mountain, trail, track and road running, headed up by local running enthusiast Ryan Maxwell.

The race, which attracted two time Skyrunner world champion Stevie Kremer and British ultra-running champion Kim Collison for the inaugural event, is part of the annual UK series organised by Skyrunning UK and is governed by the International Skyrunning Federation.

Ryan said: “We are thrilled that Garmin has stepped in to support Mourne Skyline MTR which, although only in its second year, is capturing attention across the world.  It is great to see a brand that we respect so much invest in this sport, helping us to grow and develop it further.
 
“Our ambition is to put Northern Ireland on the global mountain-trail racing map and position our event so one day it could be part of the Skyrunner World Series and, further down the line, potentially host the Skyrunner World Championships.”
 
Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is arguably the toughest and most scenic mountain-trail race in Northern Ireland, comprising forest paths, fire roads, single track grass and granite trails.
 
Points of interest include ‘Lindsey’s Leap’, Glen River path, the spectacular ‘Castles’, Hare’s Gap, Foffanny Dam, Iron Bridge and Slieve Donard, Commedagh, Bearnagh, Meelmore, Loughshannagh and Meelbeg.

Associate event sponsors include Manor Health Care, The Steensons, Apex Clinic, Clif Bar, Cotswold Outdoor, The Ultra-Runner Store and ProParamedics.
 
More on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race at: www.mourneskylinemtr.com
 
More on Garmin at www.garmin.com or www.garmin.ie

2/9/15:  'GTR' Training Day announced!

'GTR' Training Day announced:

Ever since the inaugural Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and the Granite Trail Race (GTR), we have received quite literally hundreds of enquiries about the courses. We have alleviated the questions regarding the ‘Mourne Skyline MTR’ by hosting recce days in both 2014 and 2015.  


It is now time we look at the ‘GTR’ – the GTR is a 2 mile uphill only night time race, incorporating almost 1,000ft of ascent, which takes place the night before the Mourne Skyline MTR, this year… that is Friday 23rd October 2015!


The ‘GTR’ course takes competitors from sea level on the Promenade in Newcastle, County Down, into Donard Park, Donard Forest and onwards towards the steep steps of the historic Granite Trail – after negotiating the Granite Trail, athletes cover a short uphill section to Millstone Quarry where they will experience an atmospheric finish in an area which also provides stunning night-time views over the wider Newcastle and Mourne area.


On Sunday 4th October 2015, it is our intention to host an informal training session on the ‘GTR’ course.  This is aimed at all of those people who have asked about the course and enquired as to whether they are capable of completing it.  Now, this is your chance to have a go, and in day light!  We will kick off at 10am in Donard Car Park and complete a very easy run of the course and the recommended ‘jog back’ route  to Donard Park.  Then, should the interest be there, we’ll have a short discussion and question/answer session before having a ‘faster’ run over the course.


We feel that this will provide everyone with the experience, knowledge and confidence to take on the ‘GTR’ in the dark!  Entries for the ‘GTR’ will not close until Thursday 15th October 2015 (5pm), which leaves plenty of time for those who enjoy the training day to enter the event.


How do I register my interest in the 'GTR' Training Day?

All you have to do to register your interest in attended the 'GTR' Training Day on Sunday 5th October 2015 (10am) is email [email protected] with your name and mobile phone number.

11/8/15:  Dan Doherty adds to star-studded 'MTR' line-up!

Dan Doherty adds to star-studded Mourne Skyline MTR field:

Following last week’s announcement that Dragon’s Back 200 mile Ultra podium finisher and current Team GB star Lizzie Wraith will race the Mourne Skyline MTR in October (2015), organisers of the tough 35k (with 3,370m of ascent) mountain-trail event, NiRunning, are pleased to announce further additions to the line-up.  


Irish international Dan Doherty (Scott Trail Running Team), a 17th place finisher at this year’s IAU Trail World Championships in Annecy (France) and winner of the recent Snowdonia Half Marathon will also compete.


The England based star is excited by the prospect of racing at the event and explained, “this is my first season racing Skyrunning events and I am super excited to be finishing the season off in Ireland.  I can’t wait for fellow athletes to see the beautifully technical terrain that County Down has to offer.  It will certainly be a challenge, even for the more experienced runner!” 


Dan’s IAU Trail World Championships team mate Barry Hartnett will also race,  which means that the entire Ireland team who ran in France earlier this summer will be present at the event - Jonny Steede, Paul Tierney and Robbie Williams, a member of the management/support team, have all been named in the line-up, while Justin Maxwell will again assume his invaluable role as Course Director.  


Lakeland 50 winner Jayson Cavhill, Northern Ireland man and 2014 Mourne Skyline MTR podium finisher Eoin Lennon, and Ireland based ultra-runner Ian Conroy, amongst others, add depth to a field that will include no less than twenty five international athletes and an abundance of local talent.  In the ladies race, Team GB’s Lizzie Wraith will face stiff opposition in the form of recognised fell runner Helen Brown (nee Fines), World Mountain Running Championships team medallist Sharon Trimble and Northern Ireland internationals Shileen O’Kane and Diane Wilson. Scotland based Aisling Allum and local ladies Jacqui Toal, Taryn McCoy, Fran McFadden, Sonia Knox, Joanne Curran, Hazel McLaughlin, Denise Mathers and Jolene Mellon make the ladies race an exceptionally interesting event.


The ‘GTR’ (Mourne Skyline Granite Trail Race) will also provide an excellent spectacle, with a plethora of international talent set to take to the start line for the 2 mile uphill only night time race.  Reigning Champion and winner of the recent Snowdon International, Sarah McCormack, will return to defend the title she won so impressively in 2014.  IAAF World 24 hour medallist Robbie Britton and Mont Blanc ‘Cross’ 10k Champion Paul Navesey will also contest the unique event.

Alongside athletes, local, national and global businesses have also been showing their support for the event, with Manor Healthcare, Apex Clinic, The Steensons and ProParamedics renewing their sponsorship, and The Ultra-Runner Store and Clif Bar joining the team, following an immensely successful 2014.


Race Director Ryan Maxwell is excited about the 2015 event, “We made a promise after the successful 2014 event that we would not rest on our laurels and would strive to improve the event on a year-on-year basis, and this is what are trying to do.  We have big plans for the future of the Mourne Skyline MTR and ‘GTR’, but I would like to emphasise our appreciation in relation to the support shown by both athletes and businesses who believe in what we are trying to do – without this support, the event would not be possible.”


Full details of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race can be found on the official race website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com.

3/8/15:  Team GB's Lizzie Wraith will race Mourne Skyline MTR!

GB & NI international Lizzie Wraith to race Mourne Skyline MTR:
Today (Tuesday 4th August 2015), NiRunning and Mourne Skyline MTR are pleased to announce that current Great Britain & Northern Ireland international and podium finisher at the recent Dragons Back 200 mile Ultra, Lizzie Wraith, will race this year’s Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race (Saturday 24th October 2015).

Lizzie, a previous winner of the Lakeland 100 Ultra, will join this year’s Lakeland 100 and Lakeland 50 winners Paul Tierney and Jayson Cavhill on the start line, as well as a plethora of talent from around the globe.

The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail podium finisher is enthusiastic about taking on another event in the Skyrunning UK Series after victory at last year’s 3X3 Ultra in Keswick.  

Speaking about the Mourne Skyline MTR, Lizzie said: “I'm really looking forward to running the Mourne Skyline MTR as I've never been to Ireland and it’s been on my bucket list for a long time. The terrain looks really beautiful and technical which is what I love, however 35km is a bit of a sprint for me, I'd better start doing some speed-work!”

Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director Ryan Maxwell added, “To have an athlete of Lizzie’s stature compete at the event is a huge bonus for everyone.  Lizzie has performed well at some of the world’s toughest events – look at her performance at the recent Dragons Back Race – going into that off the back of being ill and not only finishing, but claiming a top three finish, was incredible.  

Again this year, the entry list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of mountain-trail running in the UK and Ireland which not only excites me, but makes me appreciate the support we have received from everyone.   There will be athletes from fourteen countries coming to Northern Ireland to take part in the Mourne Skyline MTR (and ‘GTR’), which as the Race Director makes me extremely proud. We hope to add further additions to the line-up in the coming weeks and will do our utmost to ensure that the race exceeds expectations."

Although the Mourne Skyline MTR is now full (except for elite entry applications), you can still be part of an excellent weekend of racing by taking on the Mourne Skyline ‘Granite Trail Race’, a 2 mile uphill only night time race, which will take place on Friday 23rd October 2015 (7.30pm). World 24 hour medallist Robbie Britton, Mont Blanc Cross (10k) Champion Paul Navesey and Snowdon International winner Sarah McCormack are just some of the names on the 'GTR' line-up!

More information is available on the official race website HERE.

1/7/15:  Mourne Skyline MTR reaches entry limit again!

Mourne Skyline MTR sells out:

After releasing entries for the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2015 just over three months ago, we can confirm that for the second consecutive year, we have reached our entry limit, which means (unfortunately) no further entries can be taken.


Those who have entered the second annual running of the 35k race (inc 3,370m of ascent), which is part of the Skyrunning UK National Series, will have the opportunity to race against athletes from across the globe, with no less than 17 countries represented.  


The entry list is littered with local, national and international talent, including no less than 27 athletes who have represented their country on the international stage.


Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director Ryan Maxwell had this to say, “Once again, we have been genuinely humbled by the support for the event, which is shown in the fact that entries for the 35k race have sold out twelve weeks out from race day.  We thoroughly enjoyed 2014 and appreciated the amazing feedback that we received – however, we will not rest on the success of 2014 - this year, we want to move things forward another step.


In terms of the entry list, it excites me.  It really is a 'who's who' of local, national and international talent, which makes for a phenomenal race, not just at the head of the pack, but right through the field where personal battles will be fought.  I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone for their support.  We will repay this with a top quality event.”


If you have missed out on entry for the Mourne Skyline MTR, why not race the 'GTR' (Granite Trail Race).  The 2 mile Uphill only event, with an ascent of approximately 1,000ft proved very popular in 2014, and this year has already attracted the likes of IAAF 24 hour World Championship medallist Robbie Britton and Mont Blanc ‘Cross’ winner Paul Navesey; the 2014 ladies winner and IAAF World Championship (Team) medallist Sarah McCormack will also return to defend her title. There are currently 75 places remaining in the GTR, which we also expect to sell out, so early entry is advised.  


Please Note:  As part of our agreement with Skyrunning UK, we have a number of ‘elite’ places reserved in the Mourne Skyline MTR.  If you feel that you are eligible for an elite entry, please feel free to contact Race Director Ryan Maxwell on [email protected]

3/6/15:  2015 'Recce/Training days' announced:

Mourne Skyline MTR recce days released:

Following the success of our Mourne Skyline MTR course recce/training days in 2014, we have once again organised three recce/training days, which are open to race entrants and marshall's. 


Full information is below:


Our 'Course Recce/Training Day (s)' are aimed at introducing 2015 competitors and the new members of our Race Team to the Mourne Skyline MTR course, with the intention of allowing everyone to familiarise themselves with the route, whilst also training on it.  


The course will be broken down into two sections, which will be covered on separate days, therefore offering good and very manageable training opportunities.  Each day is geared towards both local athletes and those travelling from outside Northern Ireland – Days 2 and 3 are particularly set up for those travelling to Northern Ireland to reece the route.


Day 1 – Sunday 23rd August 2015:

Day 1 will be on Sunday 23rd August 2015 (9am) and will cover the first section of the course, taking us from Newcastle Town Centre to the furthermost point of the course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle (approx 17k in distance).


Day 1 information...

- Date: Sunday 23rd August 2015

- Meeting Place: Donard Park Car Park, Newcastle, County Down (9am)

- Aid Stations: There will be NO aid stations, so please ensure that you are 100% self sufficient. This should include (at a MINIMUM) water and emergency food (ie mars bar)

- Equipment: This is a training run and as such, YOU are responsible for the kit that you bring; we would recommend that you carry equipment suitable for current and predicted weather conditions and carry a mobile phone and whistle. If anyone has any questions in relation to recommended equipment, please be sure to ask in the run up to the recce day.

- Cost:  We would ask everyone to bring £2, this is just to cover the cost of transport back to Donard Park from Slievenaman Road. We will arrange the transport.


Day 2 and 3 (Recce Weekend) - Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September 2015:

Day 2 will be on Saturday 12th September 2015 and we will cover the second part of the route, which will start at the furthermost part of the course on Slievenaman Road, Newcastle and follow the race route to the finish line in Donard Park, Newcastle.  This is approximately 18k in distance.


Day 3 will be on Sunday 13th September 2015 and we will cover the first section of the course, taking us from Newcastle Town Centre to the furthermost point of the course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle (approx 17k in distance).


Day 2 and Day 3 Information...

- Date: Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September 2015 (9am)

- Meeting Place (both days):  Donard Park Car Park, Newcastle, County Down (9am)

- Aid Stations: There will be NO aid stations, so please ensure that you are 100% self sufficient. This should include (at a MINIMUM) water and emergency food (ie mars bar)

- Equipment: This is a training run and as such, YOU are responsible for the kit that you bring; we would recommend that you carry equipment suitable for current and predicted weather conditions and carry a mobile phone and whistle. If anyone has any questions in relation to recommended equipment, please be sure to ask in the run up to the recce day.

- Cost:  We would ask everyone to bring £2 (per day), this is just to cover the cost of transport costs. We will arrange the transport.

- Accommodation: For those completing Day 2 and Day 3, details of accommodation in the area are available on our Travel Info page.


These recce/training day(s) is open to those who have entered the Mourne Skyline MTR and/or the 'GTR' and any of our Volunteer team.  


PLEASE INFORM US IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE RECCE DAYS VIA EMAIL TO - [email protected] - Please include your name and mobile phone number.

15/5/15:  Steensons renew support for Mourne Skyline MTR 2015:

Steensons add their support to Mourne Skyline MTR 2015:

Well-known Northern Ireland based contemporary jeweller Steensons are the latest local company to renew their support for the Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail-Race, organised by NiRunning.


The race, which is part of the Skyrunning UK Series, is also supported by Manor Healthcare, The Ultra Runner Store and Clif Bar.


Steensons have a proud tradition within the business community in Northern Ireland and beyond. The company, which hails from Glenarm on the County Antrim coastline, has previously been commissioned to design pieces for the world famous ‘Game of Thrones’ TV Series, which is filmed, for the best part, in Northern Ireland.


Steensons will provide custom designed, handmade medals for the male and female winners of the Mourne Skyline MTR race, an event that will see competitors cover 35k (and 3,370m of ascent) in the scenic Mourne Mountains.


NiRunning’s Ryan Maxwell (Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director) spoke of his delight at the new addition to the sponsorship line-up:  “As a team, we have been humbled by the support shown by local, national and international companies, as without this support, the race would not be possible.  It's an honour to have Steensons onboard again this year! Considering their reputation as arguably the finest and most respected jeweller/goldsmith in Northern Ireland, I am proud to announce that they will once again be providing the medals for male and female winners – for the athletes, to be able to take a 100% ‘one off’ medal home from the event will be a unique and fitting reward for winning the Mourne Skyline MTR.  The handmade medals proved popular with winners Kim Collison and Stevie Kremer last year and I have no doubt our winners in 2015 will appreciate the prestigious medal just as much!”

18/3/15:  Entries now AVAILABLE for Mourne Skyline MTR and GTR!

Entries now AVAILABLE for the Mourne Skyline MTR & ‘GTR’:

Entries for the Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail-Race and the associated Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) opened yesterday, St Patrick’s Day (Tuesday 17th March 2015) and have already attracted interest from all over the world, with competitors from Italy, France, Germany, Serbia and South Africa amongst those who have signed up to take on the 2nd annual running of the event.  


Following the success of last year’s inaugural Mourne Skyline MTR and ‘GTR’ and the worldwide media hype surrounding the event, the 200 entries available (for each race) are expected to sell quickly – Already, close to 75% of the available places in the Mourne Skyline MTR have been allocated.


The Mourne Skyline MTR, which takes place on Saturday 24th October 2015 (8am), is organised by popular local website www.NiRunning.co.uk and is part of the Skyrunning UK Series alongside races in England, Scotland and Wales – It offers competitors the opportunity to test themselves against world class opposition over a tough but incredibly scenic 35k course, which includes 3,370 metres of ascent.  In 2014, British Ultra Running Champion Kim Collison took the men’s title in 3:57:09, while two times Skyrunning (Skyrace) World Champion Stevie Kremer (USA) secured top honours in the ladies race, after recording 4:24:25.


The Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) opens the weekend festivities on Friday 23rd October 2015 (7.30pm) and covers an uphill only route.  The course measures 2 miles in distance with approximately 1,000ft of ascent, taking competitors from the Newcastle Promenade, up the historic Granite Trail to the atmospheric and unique finish at Millstone Quarry, where finishers can take in the stunning night time views over Newcastle and the wider Mourne area.  Local athlete Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) excelled in 2014, taking victory in the men’s race in a time of 16:18; European XC Championships team medallist Sarah McCormack won the ladies race in 17:29.


Race Director Ryan Maxwell is enthusiastic about the 2015 event, saying “Last year, we were overwhelmed by the support and kind words from all over the world regarding the Mourne Skyline MTR and the ‘GTR’.  That has continued into this year, with almost 75% of available places snapped up in just over 24 hours.  It would be easy to rest on our laurels after the success of last year, but this is not something we do, nor is it the kind of team we are - we are working tirelessly to build on the success of 2014 and are hopeful that the races will continue to draw so much positive attention to Northern Ireland and the local running scene.”


Already this year, several local, national and international companies have come on board to show their support for the event, this includes Clif Bar, ‘The Ultra-Runner Store’, Manor Healthcare and Cotswold Outdoor.  Speaking in relation to Clif Bar’s involvement in the Mourne Skyline MTR for the first time, their UK & Ireland Marketing Manager David Smith said, “Clif Bar & Company is very excited to be partnering with the already iconic ‘Mourne Skyline MTR’ in 2015. Focused on sports nutrition and snacks for adventure, the family and employee-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet.”


Full details of the event, including race entry can be found on the official Mourne Skyline MTR website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com

15/3/15:  Mourne Skyline MTR included in Trail Running Magazine's Top 100 UK Trail Race...

It is with great delight that we announce that our Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race has been included in the most recent Trail Running Magazine's Top 100 UK Trail Races pull-out alongside some of the UK's most prestigious events.  Be sure to pick up your copy NOW! 

23/1/15:  Entries for the Mourne Skyline MTR to open on...

Entries for the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2015 and the associated Granite Trail Race (GTR) will open on Tuesday 17th March 2015 (7am), St Patrick's Day!


Like last year, entries will be capped and the 200 available spaces are expected to sell out quickly; therefore, we recommend early entry!


The Mourne Skyline MTR will take place on Saturday 24th October 2015 (8am), while the 'GTR' will once again take place the night before, which is Firday 23rd October 2015 (7.30pm).

8/11/14:  Mourne Skyline MTR and 'GTR' 2015 dates confirmed!

Dates for the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and Granite Trail Race 2015 have been confirmed (subject to agreement with local authorities).


- The Mourne Skyline MTR will take place on Saturday 24th October 2015 (8am)


- The 'GTR' will take place in Friday 23rd October 2015 (7.30pm)


The Mourne Skyline MTR will again be part of the Skyrunning UK Series and is expected to sell out extremely quickly after the success of the 2014 event.  Entries for both race will open on St Patrick's Day 2015 (Tuesday 17th March 2015). 

19/10/14:  Collison and Kremer seal Mourne Skyline MTR titles...

Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2014:

On Saturday 18th October 2014, NiRunning welcomed a huge array of talent to the inaugural running of our Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race in the Mourne Mountains (Newcastle, County Down).


Alongside the athletes, Skyrunning UK Director and host of world renowned podcast 'Talk Ultra', Ian Corless, was also present.  Ian provides the following summary of the event:


Misty skies, gale force winds, relentless climbing, technical terrain and an incredible field of runners made the inaugural Mourne Skyline MTR a day to remember.


Concluding Skyrunning UK’s first year, the Mourne Skyline MTR really was a fitting end to what has been an incredible year. The course, organisation and the field of runners made this a special and unforgettable day in the mountains.  The addition of Skyrunner® World Series champion (2013 and 2014) Stevie Kremer did provide some icing on the Mourne cake. However, ‘Pocket Rocket’ was not isolated… Jo Meek, British Ultra Trail Champion, provided more than enough pressure on the Colorado based Skyrunner on what proved to be one of the most exciting ladies mountain races I have followed for some time. Sharon Trimble, Diane Wilson and Shileen O’Kane would bring local knowledge and fell experience to the mix making this a classic in the making.


As expected, Kremer pushed hard from the off and after leaving the Donard Forest the trail became steeper and more technical playing to the Colorado runners strength. Although a gap opened up, it was nothing substantial and Meek maintained a gap keeping Kremer in sight. After passing over the saddle, runners were hit by gale force winds and low cloud as they headed out to Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Meelmore and then an anticlockwise loop that would eventually return them to Slieve Meelmore and then run back to the finish. Conditions were brutal… thankfully the previous nights torrential rain had disappeared. Had it not, runners and marshals would have had a very testing day!


Wilson, Trimble and O’Kane in many respects were running for third such was the pace of the front two ladies. On the flat, Meek would catch Kremer and then pull away. The relentless and rollercoaster nature of the terrain and mountains would then allow Kremer to pull back and pass on the climbs. This to and froing made for an exhilarating competition of willpower, mental strength and endurance. The latter half of the course, on paper, looked made for Kremer as climb and after climb would allow her to open a gap. However, Meek was having none of it. Running with blinkered vision, Meek fought the technical terrain and chased. ‘I was swearing at the terrain and my own frustrations in managing my technical ability,’ said Meek. Kremer was having no easy ride too, ‘that is the hardest race I have ever done! Harder than Zegama Aizkorri it was just brutal. Relentless climbing, technical and with the wind it was just soooo hard!’


After CP4, Kremer opened up a gap and extended this on the steep ascent to Slieve Commedagh. Battered by the winds, Kremer put her head down and now pushed hard to the highest point of the course, Slieve Donard. Turning at the summit and descending down the lead extended and on the final technical descent to Newcastle the gap really opened up eventually providing Kremer a winning time of 4:24.25 to Meek’s 4:30.32. The time gaps don’t reflect how close this race was! Post race, Meek was very philosophical, ‘I really did push and race hard but the relentless ankle twisting and gnarly terrain beat me down and in the latter stages as Kremer pulled away I eased off a little knowing that 2nd place was secure.’ Diane Wilson placed 3rd producing a great run on home soil in a time of 4:45.41.... continued below...

In the men’s race, local man, Allan Bogle pushed hard in the early stages closely followed by Kim Collison, Eoin Lennon and just 5 seconds back, J Marshall Thomson. It was close, and unlike the ladies race a winner looked likely to come from any of the front contenders. Particularly when one looked at the contenders looking for honours. Ally Beaven, David Steele and Paul Navesy all showed previous results that would mean they could never be ruled out of a podium place.


British Ultra Trail Champion, Collison showed his class at descending and moved away from the other men but Lennon was never going to relinquish the lead without a fight. These two fought a hard battle all day and Lennon showed the wounds of war as blood tricked down his leg.


Revelation of the race, was Colorado based J Marshall Thomson (Stevie’s fiancé) who raced in the top-5 all day and despite having never raced on ‘typical’ UK terrain pulled out a top-drawer run to place 3rd. ‘That was some of the most crazy terrain I have ever run. It was relentless. The terrain was beyond technical. You had no idea where to put your feet and I can’t tell you how many times I fell over… I loved it!’ said Thomson.


Collison won the race in 3:57.09 an incredible time in very tough conditions. Lennon recorded 3:59:42 for 2nd place.  Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR had predicted a win time of 4-hours, however, with conditions on the day, we expected this to be optimistic. For Collison and Lennon to both run sub-4 is a real testament to the competition between the two front men.  Thomson moved up into 3rd place and brought a truly international flavour to the men’s podium, his time of 4:08.38 reflecting his ability.


The 2014 Mourne Skyline MTR has firmly established itself as a must-do race after just one edition. The combination of location, local infrastructure, great organisation, enthusiastic locals and a brutal course will guarantee that demand will be high for the 2015 edition.  Covering 35km and a total elevation gain of 3370m, the Mourne Skyline MTR is everything a Skyrunning race should be. I for one can’t wait for 2015.


Top 3 Men:  1st Kim Collison (Borrowdale AC) - 3:57:09, 2nd Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC) - 3:59:42, 3rd J Marshall Thomson (Dynafit/USA) - 4:08:38


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon) - 4:24:25, 2nd Jo Meek (Winchester AC) - 4:30:32   3rd Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) - 4:45:41


Full Results:  Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2014 Results (Photos from the Mourne Skyline MTR will follow in the coming days)

18/10/14:  Mourne Skyline MTR results now available...

Provisional Results from the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2014 are now available HERE.  A full summary and photos will be available in the coming day's.

17/10/14:  Seamus Lynch and Sarah McCormack excel at GTR!

Granite Trail Race (GTR) 2014:

On Friday 17th October 2014, athletes from all over the world descended on the coastal town of Newcastle (County Down) for the beginning of an excellent weekend of 'Skyrunning' action – The Granite Trail Race ('GTR') saw athletes start on Newcastle's Central Promenade, before making their way into Donard Forest and up the historic Granote Trail towards the finish at Millstone Quarry, overlooking the town.  Altogether, this totalled 2 miles uphill with approxiamtely 1,000ft of ascent.


Despite the severe weather conditions, which forced organsiers to alter the start area , the electric atmosphere was evident as the athletes set off into the darkness.  Local man Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) was accompanied by Robbie Britton (GB & Northern Ireland) and Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC), amongst others, at the front, while World XC (team) gold medalist Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners/Ireland) was leading the ladies charge.  Kerry Speers (North Down AC), Charlene Abraham (Unattached), Annabelle Stearns (Gravesend RR & AC) and Sam McNeilly (Newcastle AC) were all vying for the remaining podium places.


As the athletes began their ascent of the Granite Trail, Seamus Lynch made his move, which turned out to be a race winning decision.  The consistent athlete forged a gap between himself and Robbie Britton and Matthew Hewitt, who were enjoying an excellent battle for second place. In the end, the gap grew to an uncatchable distance and Seamus was first to negotiate the final climb up to the Quarry, before crossing the line in an excellent 16:18 (1st place).  Robbie Britton took 2nd place in 17:12, while Matthew Hewitt complete the top three in 17:19 (3rd place).


Sarah McCormack produced arguably the performance of the night when she sealed victory in the ladies race; the irish international completed the uphill only route in an impressive 17:29 (1st place), which not only secured top honours in the ladies race, but saw Sarah take 4th place overall.  The in-form duo of Kerry Speers and Charlene Abraham claimed 2nd place and 3rd place in 20:28 and 21:09 respectively 


Top 3 Men:  1st Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 18:18, 2nd Robbie Britton (GB & Northern Ireland) – 17:12, 3rd Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) – 17:19


Top 3 Ladies:  1st Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners/Ireland) – 17:29, 2nd Kerry Speers (North Down AC) – 20:28, 3rd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 21:09


Full Results:  Granite Trail Race (GTR) 2014 Results (Photo by Jayne Bell)

14/10/14:  Race Preview - World Class field set for NI!

This coming weekend, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th October 2014, will see the phenomena that is ‘Skyrunning’ reach the shores of Northern Ireland for the first time.  The Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, hosted by popular running website www.nirunning.co.uk, will see a plethora of talent take to the stunning Mourne Mountains.

The exciting weekend of action will kick off on Friday 17th October 2014 when competitors take on the ‘Granite Trail Race’ (‘GTR’), a 2 mile uphill only event, starting in the centre of Newcastle (County Down) and finishing approximately 1,000ft above sea-level at Millstone Quarry.  The impressive field will be headed by Northern Ireland international men Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and David Steele (Newcastle AC).  The ladies race will include highly respected European Cross Country (team) and World Mountain Running Championship (team) medallist Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners and Ireland) who won the recent Snowdon international mountain race.  Sarah will be joined on the ‘GTR’ start line by Irish team mate and fellow World Mountain Running Championship (team) medallist Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers).


On Saturday 18th October 2014, the Mourne Skyline MTR will see a sell-out field, including Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon), who last weekend was crowned Skyrunner World Series Champion for the second time, cover a gruelling but incredibly scenic 35k course incorporating 3,370m of ascent.  Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard, which stands at 850m above sea-level will be the final peak, before the athletes descend quickly into the Donard Park finish area.


The Men:

Kim Collison (England), Paul Teirney (Ireland), Jayson Cavill (England), Paul Navesey (Centurion Ultra Team), J Marshall Thomson (USA), and local men Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Andrew Annett (North Belfast Harriers) look to be the strongest candidates in a field littered with talent from across the globe.  Former adventure racer and newly crowned British ultra-running Champion Kim Collison will be high in confidence after his victory at the Lakeland 50 trail race in July (2014).  This noteable achievement followed an excellent (joint) win at the notoriously tough Fellsman 61 mile ultra in the Yorkshire Dales in April (2014).  Kim, who completed the Bob Graham Round in 2009, also collected a prize at the Scafell trail race and finished well up the field at the Transvulcania La Palma Ultra.  (continued below....)

American athlete J Marshall Thomson (Dynafit) hails from Colorado and is an experienced and successful trail runner, with numerous mountain race victories to his name.  Most recently, Marshall secured a win at the Power of Four 50k in Aspen, having smashed the course record.  


Looking back, Marshall also proved his worth at the Pikes Peak marathon, where he narrowly missed a podium spot after finishing fourth in what was a classy field.  Irish international Paul Teirney proved excelled over 100 miles when he claimed the runners up spot at the Lakeland 100 mile race in 2012; since then, Paul, a former Wicklow Way 82 mile Ultra record holder (13 hours 38mins), has finished second at the Wicklow Way Ultra in both 2013 and 2014.  England based Jayson Cavill has been one of the most impressive performers of the inaugural Skyrunning UK Series, having placed on the podium at two of the three races.  The Pickering Running Club member followed up his second place finish at the V3K with a win at the Peaks Skyrace; he (Jayson) also won the gruelling Blakey Blitz Fell Race back in April (2014).


Paul Navesey (Centurion Ultra Running Team) is another athlete worth watching; after a note-worthy 2013, Paul has brought his form into 2014, winning the Centurion South Downs Way 50 miler in a new course record.  The talented distance runner also showed his speedy edge when taking second place at the Canterbury 10 mile road race in 56:27.  Another man known for his ability over shorter distance and not mentioned above is Jens Jakob Anderson (Denmark); the ‘www.runrepeat.com’ website creator has a 5k personal best of 15:58, which he may hope to put to use on the final 3.1 mile descent off Slieve Donard to the finish in Donard Park.


On the local front, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) has already proved himself against the best in the UK this year.  In memorable foggy conditions, the City of Derry Spartan secured an excellent win at the British Championship race at Slieve Donard just before the summer.  He (Allan) went on to take sixth place in the overall British Championships standings.  Also on Allan’s CV are wins at the Balearic Mountain Running Championships in Mallorca and an impressive top spot at the Lurig Challenge 2014.  (continued below....)

Although having raced sparingly in the mountains recently, North Belfast Harriers man Andrew Annett has a classy history and if focussed on this event, he’ll play a major part at the front.  In 2013, Andrew, who was part of North Belfast Harriers winning team at the NI & Ulster (Road) Relay Championships two weeks ago, finished in thirteenth place at Snowdon International Mountain Race last year (2013).  More recently, he has clocked 1:11:31 for his first ever half marathon (on the road), and 5k and 10k bests of 15:48 and 32:38 respectively. 


Established Irish international Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) will also toe the line as he prepares for the World 100k Championships in Doha (November 2014) and he’ll be joined on the men’s start line by no less than eleven Northern Ireland international’s, which will include the in-form David Steele (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Sam Herron (Mourne Runners), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) amongst others.  Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers), Nicki McPeake (Unattached), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) and Gary Bailey (Unattached) all have vast knowledge of the Mourne Mountains and will therefore have high hopes of finishing well up the field.


The Ladies:

In truth, the ladies field at the Mourne Skyline MTR has attracted a lot more attention in the international press than the aforementioned men’s line-up.  Much of this is because of the addition of current Skyrunner World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon).  The American international burst onto the scene after winning the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) ‘Long Distance’ event in 2012; Stevie proved this wasn’t a ‘one hit wonder’ when she went on to take second place at the world famous Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race in the same year.


From there, the down to earth athlete has grown in stature, winning the Limone Extreme, Marathon Du Mont-Blanc Skyrace’s in 2013, and with it, the Skyrunning World Series.  Now, Stevie is one of the superstars of the Skyrunning circuit and one of the most respected (and in-form) athletes in the World.  After wins at the Matterhorn Ultraks, Zegama and Sierre-Zinal this year, and a second place finish at the Limone Extreme Skyrace last weekend, Stevie retained her Skyrunning World Series Champion status (at ‘Sky’ distance).


Another athlete who is in-form at the moment and will also grace the Central Promenade start-line is Jo Meek (Winchester AC); the England based athlete has enjoyed an incredible 2014.  After finishing in second place at the Marathon Des-Sables in 2013 it would have been easy for Jo to sit on that success, but the dedicated runner took confidence from it and hammered into 2014, and on doing so, she (Jo) has won the Le Grand Trail du St Jacques (70k), Transylvania Trail Traverse (106k), Iznik Ultra (80k) and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Marathon (27.8 miles); interestingly, in Pembrokeshire, Jo finished in first place overall!  An excellent year was made all the better when Jo was crowned British ultra-running Champion after winning the Lakeland 50 trail race in July (2014).


The list of Champions continues in the form of Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC).  Originally from Northern Ireland, Sharon is an Irish international who lives in Scotland – Alongside Sarah McCormack (’GTR’ competitor), Sharon is a World Mountain Running Championship medallist.  The 2:51:44 marathoner is also a former Scottish ultra-running Champion and a regular on the podium over all terrain; with her knowledge of the course and if she is on top form, Sharon is a real threat to Stevie and Jo.  Diane is the current Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion and a lady who knows the Mourne Mountains exceptionally well; she (Diane) also won the Hill & Dale Series in 2014 and clocked a new course record when winning the Carrantuohill mountain race in Ireland; interestingly, Carrantuohill is Ireland’s highest peak.  Diane also claimed a top ten finish at the Ben Nevis mountain race in Scotland this year (2014), taking seventh place.


Former NIMRA Champion and current Northern Ireland international Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will also play a major part in proceedings.  Despite suffering a broken wrist over the summer, the talented athlete, who placed within the top ten in her Vet45 category at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in last month (September 2014).  Respected ultra-runners Susan McCartney (Up and Runners) and Joanne Curran (BARF) should also finish well up the field – Like, Shileen, Susan has enjoyed an excellent year despite setbacks.  The England based athlete had knee surgery earlier this year, but has still managed to win the Mourne Way 52 mile Ultra and claim a very credible twenty second place in the CCC race at UTMB (Ultra trail du Mont-Blanc).  Comrades Ultra finisher Joanne Curran has really begun to show good form beyond marathon distance and a win at the Causeway Coast Ultra earlier this month, where she came through late 

on, has re-iterated her potential over the longer distances.


Runner up at the Peaks Skyrace, Kim England (Pickering AC), will also perform well, as will the likes of Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Taryn McCoy (BARF), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), Violet Linton (LV), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC), Angela Stevenson (Newcastle AC) and Kathleen Monteverde (BARF).

8/10/2014:  Entries now CLOSED!

Entries for the Mourne Skyline MTR and 'Granite Trail Race' (GTR) are now CLOSED.  Entries will NOT be available on Race Day!

We would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported our event in it's first year, and we look forward to seeing you on race day!

24/9/2014:  Final Race Instructions now available!

Mourne Skyline MTR & GTR Final Race Day Instructions now available:

It's hard to believe that after months of planning, the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and the associated 'GTR', there are now less than four weeks until the event.  We (NiRunning) are pleased to announce that the final RACE DAY INSTRUCTIONS are now available for competitors in both the Mourne Skyline MTR (Saturday 18th October 2014) and Mourne Skyline GTR (Friday 17th October 2014).  


These have been emailed to all competitors, but just incase anyone would like it in a single document, we have included both below:


- Mourne Skyline MTR 'Final Race Day Instructions'


- Mourne Skyline GTR 'Final Race Night Instructions'


- Course Map


- SPORTident Timing Station Points


We hope you are looking forward to the event as much as we are and that your training has been going well - If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email on [email protected]

12/8/14:  Apex Clinic show support for Mourne Skyline MTR!

Apex Clinic show support for Mourne Skyline MTR:

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running), organisers of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and the associated Granite Trail Race (‘GTR’) are very pleased to announce that Apex Clinic (Belfast) will be the official physiotherapy partners of the prestigious event, which is part of the Skyrunning UK Series.


Apex Clinic and NiRunning have been working together for almost eighteen months, with Apex Clinic being the official partners of the ‘Physio Room’ at www.nirunning.co.uk and this was something that encouraged Race Director Ryan Maxwell to bring Apex Clinic team onboard; “Having worked closely with Apex Clinic over the last 18 months, I have witnessed first hand their drive, enthusiasm and professionalism towards physiotherapy, and also their genuine interest in the local running scene.  We have built up a strong working relationship and for that reason, I am extremely happy to have Apex Clinic support the Mourne Skyline MTR”.


Rebecca Nelson, Director of Physiotherapy at Apex Clinic, is enthusiastic about what the event will bring to Northern Ireland, “The Mourne Skyline MTR offers a great opportunity for the local running community and to Northern Ireland in general.  It will be great to see our local running talent competing against ‘Skyrunners’ from all over the world, showcasing the stunning scenery of the Mourne Mountains to a wider audience.  Apex Clinic is thrilled to bring our physio expertise and support to the event.


The highly respected Physiotherapist added, "Participants will face gruelling conditions on October 18th, competing in the 35k race over the most scenic but challenging mountain terrain in Northern Ireland. Physically, the athletes will be pushing themselves to the max. Our team of experienced physiotherapists from Apex Clinic will be ready and waiting for finishers, offering sports massage to relieve tired legs and tackle any aches or pains picked up during the race.”


Entries for the Mourne Skyline MTR, which will take place on Saturday 18th October 2014 (8am), sold out last week, showing that it has caught the imagination of the local, national and international running fraternity.  The Mourne Skyline MTR will cover a stunning 35k (incorporating 3,370m of ascent) route in the Mourne Mountains, starting and finishing in Newcastle, County Down. 


Entries still AVAILABLE for 'GTR':

For those wanting a lesser distance, but a challenge, the ‘GTR’ (Granite Trail Race) will take place on Friday 17th October 2014 (7.30pm) and will cover a 2 mile uphill only route (incorporating 300m of ascent), taking participants from the ‘Newcastle Tourist Information Centre’ into Donard Forest and up the famous Granite Trail to the Quarry, where finishers will enjoy the views of the Newcastle skyline at night.


Full details on both events can be found at www.mourneskylinemtr.com

6/8/14:  Mourne Skyline MTR is a sell out!

Mourne Skyline MTR sells out:
After announcing our latest event, the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race just over two months ago, NiRunning can now confirm that entries have SOLD OUT, and unfortunately no more entries can be taken.

Those who have entered the inaugural running of the 35k (inc 3,370m of ascent), which is part of the Skyrunning UK National Series, will have the opportunity to race against athletes from across the globe.  

The entry list is littered with local, national and international talent, including no less than 25 athletes who have represented their country on the international stage.  Skyrunning World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon) and recently crowned British Ultra Running Champions Kim Collison (England) and Jo Meek (England) are just a few names who will toe the line as part of what is arguably one of the most exciting line-ups ever assembled in Northern Ireland.  

Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director Ryan Maxwell had this to say, “We have been genuinely humbled by the support for the event and this is now shown in the fact that entries for the 35k race have sold out just over ten weeks out from race day.  The entry list excites me, it really is a 'who's who' of local and national talent, then with the added extra of Stevie (Kremer) and numerous other international competitors, it makes for a phenomenal race, not just at the head of the pack, but right through the field where personal battles will be fought.  I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone for their support.  We will repay this with a top quality event.”

If you have missed out on entry for the Mourne Skyline MTR, why not race the 'GTR' (Granite Trail Race), a 2 mile Uphill only event, with an ascent of 300m (approx 1,000ft).  There are currently 86 places remaining in the GTR, which we also expect to sell out, so early entry is advised.  

1/8/2014:  Mourne Skyline MTR continues to attract stars!

Mourne Skyline MTR and 'GTR' continue to attract international stars:

As places in the Mourne Skyline MTR and 'GTR' continue to sell, some of the 22 international athletes already set to toe the line have been impressing at other events.


Kim Collison (Barrowdale AC) claimed the UK Ultra Running Championship last weekend when he secured victory at the prestigious Lakeland 50 (26th July 2014) in England.


A week earlier (19th July 2014), Irish international Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners), who will race the 'GTR' claimed victory at the notorious Snowdon International Mountain Race in Wales. Sarah, a World Mountain Running Championships (Team) and European Cross Country Championship (Team) medallist will also be joined on the 'GTR' line-up by fellow World Mountain Running Championship (Team) medallist, and former Scottish Ultra Champion Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers).


The aforementioned trio of athletes will of course be joined in Newcastle, County Down by current Skyrunner World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (USA - Team Salomon) as well as a plethora of quality local, national and international competitors.


Entries for the Mourne Skyline MTR are now down to the remaining few, while there are almost 90 entries left in the Granite Trail Race (GTR).  Further information on the full line-up will be revealed closer to the event.

1/8/2014:  Further Mourne Skyline MTR recce days announced!

Further Mourne Skyline MTR recce days released:

Following the release of our initial Mourne Skyline MTR course recce/training day (Sunday 10th August 2014) last week, we are now in a position to announce the remaining recce/training days. Full information is below:


Sunday 28th September and Monday 29th September 2014 (9am)...


Our 'Course Recce/Training Day (s)' 2 and 3 will take place on Sunday 28th September (9am) and Monday 29th September 2014 (9am).


These Recce/Training Days will also suit those who are based outside Northern Ireland as they will be run of consecutive days.  


Unfortunately, due to the extremely busy racing calendar in September, we have had to use a Sunday and Monday for the recce as opposed to two weekend days.  We apologise, but we did not want our recce/training days to directly clash with events similar to our own.  In planning the days, we have ensured that those who cannot take a 'week day' off work, will still have the opportunity to cover the entire course on weekend days, with Recce Day 1 (10/8/14) covering the first half of the course and Recce Day 2 (28/9/14) covering the second half - then Recce Day 3 (29/9/14), the 'week day' will cover the first half of the course again.


Day 2 - Sunday 28th September 2014:


On Sunday 28th September we will cover the second part of the route, which will start at the furthermost part of the course on Slievenaman Road, Newcastle and follow the race route to the finish line in Donard Park, Newcastle.  This is approximately 18k in distance.


Day 3 - Monday 29th September 2014:


On Monday 29th September we will cover the first section of the course, taking us from Newcastle Town Centre to the furthermost point of the course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle (approx 17k in distance).


DETAILS...

- Date: Sunday 28th and Monday 29th September 2014 (9am)


- Meeting Place (both days): Donard Park Car Park, Newcastle, County Down (9am)


- Aid Stations: There will be NO aid stations, so please ensure that you are 100% self sufficient. This should include (at a MINIMUM) water and emergency food (ie mars bar)


- Equipment: This is a training run and as such, YOU are responsible for the kit that you bring; we would recommend that you carry equipment suitable for current and predicted weather conditions and carry a mobile phone and whistle. If anyone has any questions in relation to recommended equipment, please be sure to ask in the run up to the recce day.


- Cost:  We would ask everyone to bring £2 (per day), this is just to cover the cost of transport costs. We will arrange the transport.


- Accommodation: For those completing Day 2 and Day 3, details of accommodation in the area are available on our Travel Info page.


These recce/training day(s) is open to those who have entered the Mourne Skyline MTR and/or the 'GTR' and any of our Volunteer team.  


PLEASE INFORM US IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE RECCE DAYS VIA EMAIL TO - [email protected] - Please include your name and mobile phone number.

26/7/2014:  First Mourne Skyline MTR recce day announced!

MOURNE SKYLINE MTR RECCE DAY ANNOUNCED:

It's hard to believe that 12 weeks today we will be in the middle of our exciting 'weekender'. with the 'GTR' having taken place and the Mourne Skyline MTR underway!


With this in mind, we are pleased to announce the first of our 'recce/training  days' - This will be on Sunday 10th August 2014 (9am) and will cover the first section of the course, taking us from Newcastle Town Centre to the furthermost point of the course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle (approx 17k in distance).


We sincerely apologise for the short notice with this but it has been difficult to find and guarantee a weekend day when our entire team are available and also avoiding other races.


DETAILS...

- Date: Sunday 10th August 2014


- Meeting Place: Donard Park Car Park (9am)


- Section of course covered during session:  Newcastle Town Centre to furthermost point of course at Slievenaman Road, Newcastle.  This measures approximately 17k in distance.


- Aid Stations: There will be NO aid stations, so please ensure that you are 100% self sufficient. This should include (at a MINIMUM) water and emergency food (ie mars bar)


- Equipment: This is a training run and as such, YOU are responsible for the kit that you bring; we would recommend that you carry equipment suitable for current and predicted weather conditions and carry a mobile phone and whistle. If anyone has any questions in relation to recommended equipment, please be sure to ask in the run up to the recce day.


- Cost: We would ask everyone to bring £2, this is just to cover the cost of transport back to Donard Park from Slievenaman Road. We will arrange the transport.


This recce/training day is open to those who have entered the Mourne Skyline MTR and/or the 'GTR' and any of our Volunteer team.  PLEASE INFORM US IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE RECCE DAY VIA EMAIL TO - [email protected] - Please include your name and mobile phone number.


Further Recce/Training Days:

There will be a second course recce/training day(s) announced on Monday (28th July 2014); it will be more suitable for those travelling from outside Northern Ireland as it will cover two consecutive days and the entire course. This will be mid-late September but MIGHT have to be on a Sunday-Monday to avoid the hectic racing schedule in September. Should this be the case, we will do the second half of the course on DAY 1, this will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to cover the entire route.


Other information:

There are literally 3-4 entries remaining for the Mourne Skyline MTR, so if you would like to enter, we would strongly advise that you do so as soon as possible!. There are approximately 100 entries remaining for the 'GTR'.

7/7/2014:  Race HQ confirmed!

Race HQ confirmed:
We are very pleased to confirm that the very kind people at Newcastle Baptist Church (17 Bryansford Road, Newcastle, County Down, BT33 0DU) have agreed to allow us the use their premises for our Race HQ for both the Mourne Skyline MTR and 'GTR' races!


This venue was recently used by NIMRA for their British Championship Race and proved to be a fitting location.  It also means that the Race HQ, Start and Finish will all be located within (approx) 400m of each other!

Race HQ - Newcastle Baptist Church Hall 
Bag Drop/Changing/Showers/Toilets - Donard Park Pavilion 
Start Area/Race Briefing/Kit Check - The Newcastle Centre/Tourist Information Centre 
Finish Area/Changing/Showers/Toilets - Donard Park Pavilion 
Post Race Refreshments - Newcastle Baptist Church Hall 

A map showing all of the above areas is available HERE (it contains arrows with the recommended route from the Race HQ to the Start!

3/7/2014:  Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director catches up with Skyrunner World Series Champion Stevie Kremer:

Stevie ready for Northern Ireland debut:

Last weekend, Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race Event/Race Director Ryan Maxwell (NiRunning) caught up with one of the events elite entries, Team Salomon's Stevie Kremer, at the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix, France.


Stevie explained that she is "really excited" about racing at the Mourne Skyline MTR, which will be part of the Skyrunning UK Series.  


The current Skyrunner World Series Champion, who added to her impressive and ever growing CV with runners up spots and the associated Silver medals in both the Vertical Kilometre and the Marathon at the World Championships, was attracted to the event because of the amount of ascent (3,370m) over the 35k distance; she (Stevie) is also looking forward to visiting Northern Ireland.  


Stevie will be joined on the start-line of the inaugaral running of the Mourne Skyline MTR by host of International athletes in what will be a race not to be missed.  A full preview on entrants will be produced as soon as the line-up is finalised.


There are very few entries remaining for the Mourne Skyline MTR, but there are are still entries available for the associated 'GTR' (Granite Trail Race) on Friday 17th October 2014.  This race will be a 2 mile uphill only event, which will see competitors ascend approximately 300m up the historic Granite Trail towards the Quarry view point, where, on finishing, they will be able to enjoy scenic views of the night time skyline. 

12/6/2014:  Steensons to hand-craft Mourne Skyline MTR winners medals:

Steensons support Mourne Skyline MTR:

Well-known Northern Ireland based contemporary jeweller Steensons are the latest local company to show their support for the new Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail-Race, organised by NiRunning.  


The race, which is part of the Skyrunning UK Series, was announced two weeks ago and has nearly reached capacity, with over 130 of the 150 available spaces taken.


Steensons have a proud tradition within the business community in Northern Ireland and beyond. The company, which hails from Glenarm on the County Antrim coastline, has recently been commissioned to design pieces for the world famous ‘Game of Thrones’ TV Series, which is filmed, for the best part, in Northern Ireland.


Steensons will provide custom designed, handmade medals for the male and female winners of the Mourne Skyline MTR race, an event that will see competitors cover 35k (and 3,370m of ascent) in the scenic Mourne Mountains. 


Speaking today (Wednesday 12th June 2104), Steensons Director Dan Spencer, a runner himself, explained “The Mourne Skyline MTR race is the sort of event that can shine a very positive light on our country's natural beauty for lots of international athletes, and also the followers of mountain running across Europe. 


We are looking forward to be able to support this prestigious sporting event by hand crafting a unique piece of silverware for the winning individuals in our Glenarm workshop.  As Ireland's largest and longest established family run contemporary jewellers we will be proud to sponsor an event such as this.''


NiRunning’s Ryan Maxwell (Mourne Skyline MTR Race Director) added, “It’s an honour to have Steensons onboard!  Considering their reputation as arguably the finest and most respected jeweller/goldsmith in Northern Ireland, I am proud to announce that they will be providing the medals for male and female winners – for the athletes, to be able to take a 100% ‘one off’ medal home from the event will be a unique and fitting reward for winning the Mourne Skyline MTR”


Interestingly, Steensons recently produced a promotional video based around running; albeit in a different location to the Mourne Skyline MTR, it shows a strong connection to the local running community.  The video can be found on our facebook page (alternatively, you can find it on 'The Steensons' facebook page).

4/6/2014:  Manor Healthcare support new Mourne Skyline MTR!

Manor Healthcare support Mourne Skyline MTR:

NiRunning are very pleased to announce that MANOR HEALTHCARE will support their newly launched event, the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, which will be part of the prestigious Skyrunning UK Series.  


Manor Healthcare's Mark King spoke of his enthusiasm to support the iconic race, "Manor Healthcare see the Mourne Skyline MTR as an opportunity to support a local event, promoting the beauty of the Mourne Mountains and the growing interest in Mountain-Trail running in Northern Ireland."


NiRunning's Ryan Maxwell, Event/Race Director of the Mourne Skyline MTR and associated GTR (Granite Trail Race) added, "It's an honour to have Mark and the Manor Healthcare team onboard as one of our event sponsors.  I am both grateful and delighted with the support we have received from the local running community in relation to the event; it's at times like this that you see the real spirit and commeradarie within our scene.  We will repay this by delivering a top quality event".


Already, the Mourne Skyline MTR has attracted a plethora of local, national and international talent.  Just last week, it was announced that current Skyrunner World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon) will be racing at the event, which will take place on Saturday 18th October 2014.  


Due to the nature of the course and keeping with the environmental ethos of NiRunning and Skyrunning UK, entries for the Mourne Skyline MTR have been capped at 150; with approximately forty spaces remaining, the inaugural running of the event is likely to sell out.  Please visit the event website www.mourneskylinemtr.com for full details.

30/5/2014:  Skyrunner World Series Champion to race at Mourne Skyline MTR...

BREAKING NEWS:

Just 48 hours ago NiRunning launched our new Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, which will be part of the Skyrunning UK Series.  


The event, which will take place on Saturday 18th October 2014, has received a phenomenal response.  Not just from our friends and followers in Northern Ireland but from the wider mountain and trail running community and especially the Skyrunning fraternity.  


It has also attracted the attention of some of the world's top athletes and on that note, we are extremley proud to announce that 2013 Skyrunner World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon) will race the Mourne Skyline MTR.


The official Skyrunning UK press release is below:


2013 Skyrunner® World Series Champion, Stevie Kremer to race Northern Ireland’s Mourne Skyline MTR...

Fresh from victory at the 2014 Zegama-Aizkorri Skyrunner® World Series, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce that Salomon athelete, American Stevie Kremer will race the brand new Mourne Skyline MTR on October 18th 2014.


Stevie is arguably the best female SKY distance runner on the scene at the moment. Winning Mont-Blanc Marathon, Pikes Peak and Limone Extreme in 2013, secured Stevie the Skyrunner® World Series title and elevated the pocket rocket from Colorado from hot, to super hot!


With her infectious smile and incredible ability on the mountain, Stevie will be an incredible asset not only to the Mourne Skyline MTR race but to all trail and mountain running in the UK.


“Creating Skyrunning UK was all about bringing the ethos and feel of European events to our shores and in time, creating some of the buzz as witnessed in the Alps, Pyrenees or the Dolomites,’ said Skyrunning UK director, Ian Corless ‘Stevie is at the forefront of Skyrunning, she is an incredible talent, a bubbly personality and to have her arrive on our shores and race is a dream come true. It was always my aim… in reality, I had hoped this would happen in 2017 but to have Stevie join us in year one is just incredible and the boost we all need.’


Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR can’t believe his luck. ‘When we announced our race we had an incredible response with entries flooding in. To now find out that Stevie Kremer will join us for the inaugural event, really is the icing on the cake. Racing is about every runner; from first to last. However, elite runners provide inspiration for all of us and Stevie leads by example; she is a role model for Skyrunning and we will be honoured by her presence at our race.’

A long-term aim has always been to have a UK event included in the Skyrunner® World Series, should that happen, the best-of-the-best will travel to the UK to race. Stevie’s presence in year one provides a pathway to that objective.  The world’s top teams and athletes pitting themselves against UK athletes. Imagine it; imagine what that would do for the sport in the UK! We have some great races and although we have attracted International athletes in the past to Snowdon and Ben Nevis, it has almost gone un-noticed. The time is now right. We all need to pool together and help grow the sport.


Lauri van Houten, executive director for the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) had this to say, ‘The Skyrunner® National Series were created to grow Skyrunning on a national level globally - to give as many runners as possible the “feel” of a Skyrunning race and a chance to win a place in an international World Series event. The UK Skyrunning races hold enormous promise and look set to attract an international field. Stevie’s decision to take part in Northern Ireland is a great boost for the race and the new Skyrunner® UK National Series.’


Salomon athlete, Andy Symonds summed the thought process up perfectly, ‘The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we don't have proper mountains! Steep, rough, beautiful mountains are a plenty in the UK - so let's organize some Skyrunning races up them!’


The sport is growing at all levels. In time a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created is a distinct possibility. The Skyrunner® National Series provides not only a great structure for the sport but it also provides a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil.


Speaking from Colorado, Stevie said, ‘It looks amazing and it's during my fall break, so I am in! I love the idea of that much climbing.’


Stevie Kremer’s presence in 2014 at the Mourne Skyline MTR has started the ball rolling much sooner than we anticipated… Let’s keep it rolling!

28/5/2014:  NiRunning launch Mourne Skyline MTR...

Today, Wednesday 28th May 2014, NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) are proud to officially launch the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race and the associated Granite Trail Race (GTR). 


The former, the Mourne Skyline MTR will be a Skyrunning UK event, meaning that it will join a select group of the prestigious UK mountain and trail running events on the Skyrunning UK Series, governed by the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF).


The Skyrunning 'weekender' will take place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th October 2014 in Newcastle, County Down.  


The Granite Trail Race ('GTR'), a 2 mile UPHILL only event (incorporating 250m of ascent), will kick off proceedings on Friday 17th October 2014 at 7.30pm.  This enjoyable and challenging race will assist in building the atmosphere for the 'main event', the Mourne Skyline MTR, a tough 35k mountain-trail race incorporating in excess of 3,300m of ascent, which will take place the following morning, Saturday 18th October 2014 (8am).  Full details of both events can be found on the official event website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com


This announcement follows months of negotiations, during which, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have the support of all relevant bodies.  We are extremely excited to bring Skyrunning to Northern Ireland as we strongly believe that it will enhance the reputation of running in Northern Ireland; for this reason, we would like to express our genuine gratitude to those who have assisted us.  


The official Skyrunning UK press release is below...

Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the fourth race to join the Skyrunner® Series UK, the MOURNE SKYLINE MTR taking place on October 18th in Northern Ireland.


The Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race is arguably Northern Ireland's toughest and most scenic long distance race; the event is based in the Mourne Mountains, starting and finishing in the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down.  


Comprising mainly of forest paths, fire roads and single-track grass and granite trail, with approximately one mile on the road.  The course measures 35k and there is approximately 11,056ft of ascent and 11,024ft of descent.  The highest point will be 2,801ft and the lowest point is at sea level.


It has been no easy challenge putting together a race in this iconic part of Northern Ireland. ‘It's been a long process in relation to getting the event off the ground, because of the stunning nature of the course, and the fact that some of it is on protected land, we have been in discussions with various agencies. It has been worth it though, as we have got the course we have worked tirelessly to get,’ said race director, Ryan Maxwell.


The course is fitting to that of a Skyrunning event; although not at altitude, the amount of ascending, stunning scenery and technical sections are exactly what you would expect from an event of this nature anywhere in the world.  ‘Along the way participants will come up against Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard and some technical ascents, including Slieve Meelmore and descents such as Slieve Bearnagh.’


October may well throw up some challenging weather, we are all aware of that fact that there is as much chance of getting perfect weather conditions in October as there is in August, ‘we have gone into our race plan in-depth and brought a number of very experienced and well respected individuals on board to assist. The route will be very well marked and marshaled at key points.’


Some of the higher parts of the route follow the 'Mourne Wall' (a very obvious stone wall), so this will further assist participants in bad weather.  ‘We will have five feed/aid stations along the way; these will be manned by teams who have experience in the mountains. Sweepers (back runners) will also be on hand to guide athletes and assist if anything should go wrong.’


Skyrunning is booming. The growth of the Skyrunner® National Series and the Skyrunner® World Series has been instrumental in increasing the profile of the sport. Skyrunning UK has been at the forefront. ‘Several members of our race team have found the experience of Skyrunning very enjoyable and rewarding, and witnessed what a positive effect it can have on a town/village etc. We felt that from an NiRunning perspective, this was an innovative project and something that would enhance the profile of our local running scene as well as shining a positive light on our country as a whole.’


‘The Mourne Mountains will provide many of us an opportunity to experience beautiful trails, mountains and scenery for the first time. For example I have never been to this part of the world. It’s an exciting opportunity,’ said Ian Corless, Director of Skyrunning UK. 


‘Ryan and his team at NiRunning have worked tirelessly to get this race off the ground. It hasn’t been easy and the work ethic has paid dividends. To be able to announce this race is a testament to a committed team and I for one can’t wait to experience Skyrunning in the Mourne Mountains.’


What are you waiting for? This may very well prove to be a ‘bucket list’ event! ‘We have limited the main event to 150 participants given the course and the footprint a mass participation event would have on this area of outstanding natural beauty, we were keen to work alongside other agencies to minimize this and uphold the environmental ethos of Skyrunning.’


Entries open for the Mourne Skyline MTR on Wednesday May 28th on a first come, first served basis. As a ‘Sky’ distance event it offers a great opportunity to test oneself in the mountains and of course, you may well wish to enter the Peaks SkyRace (August 3rd) with a long-term objective to accumulate valuable Skyrunning points.  Check out www.skyrunninguk.com

The Nitty Gritty:  MOURNE SKYLINE MTR 


Course Details:  35k, incorporating 3,370m (11.075ft) of ascending.  


Website:  www.mourneskylinemtr.com


Twitter:  @MourneSkyMTR


Facebook:  Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race


Capped field:  150 participants


Entry:  £35.00 entry


Date:  Saturday 18th October 2014 - 8am (Race Briefing at 7.45am - All participants MUST attend)


Place:  Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland (Start - Newcastle Tourist Information Centre, Main Street, Newcastle)


Airport:  Belfast City Airport


Prizes:  The top first three male and female athletes will receive prizes. The generous prize-fund will be announced in the coming weeks.  In addition to this, there will also be prizes for the male and female winners of the following categories:  U-20, Vet35, Vet40, Vet45, Vet50, Vet55 and Vet60. The prize giving will take place in Donard Park (close to the finish area) at 2pm.  


Please note that only one prize will be awarded to each athlete; i.e. a Vet35 overall winner will NOT receive the top prize plus a category prize.

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