Fortune top local over mountain
THE ANNUAL mountain race on Mount Leinster took place recently in damp, foggy conditions. It was the fifth race in the six-race Leinster championship run by the Irish Mountain Running Association.
In all 61 runners lined up for the start of the race on the forest track in Ballycrystal, but the mountain itself was shrouded in mist. The local challenge was led by Bernard Fortune of S.B.R. who is currently lying in second position in the championship.
The first section of the 7k route to the summit is on good forest track before moving to the open mountain. On attaining the Blackstairs ridge the conditions underfoot were very wet and slippery even for those equipped with studded mountain running shoes. The final 400m to the summit close to the aerials is even more challenging.
At this point in the race Martin McDonald of Ballyroan in Laois had a mere four-second lead over David Power of Waterford, having completed the ascent in 40.25. However, on the challenging descent Martin held his footing better and pulled away to win in 65.42, some two minutes ahead of David. Third was Torben Dahl of Crusaders A.C. in Dublin with Bernard Fortune in fourth position and first man Over-40.
In the women's race the honours also went to Ballyroan in Laois with the winner, Anne Churchouse, coming home in 89.51. Niamh O'Gorman from Dublin was second with Sarah Steere from County Down in third position.
Martin Francis who finished fifth overall won the M50 class and Matt Kavanagh won the M60s. Mag Dunphy of Slaney Olympic was first F50 and Caitlin Bent was first F60.
Prizegiving and refreshments afterwards were in The Holy Grail in Ballindaggin.