Over the weekend of the weekend 19th and 20 th September over one hundred teams took up the challenge of the Mourne Mountain Marathon. The Mourne 2 Day as it has become known is now in it’s 36th year and was this year sponsored by local companies Consarc Design Group and Jackson Sports.

The race follows a similar itinery to the Original Mountain Marathon (now known as the OMM, formerly the KIMM), Saunders Mountain Marathon and the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon it requires teams of two runners to navigate their way around set checkpoints throughout the Mourne Mountains, then camp out using only the equipment they have carried, before racing around a different set of checkpoints on the second day. Upon starting each day, the teams are given a previously unseen set of controls/checkpoint to plot onto their map and then visit in the order stipulated. There are four different classes with varrying degrees of difficulty and length, the Elite event covering 55k, the B Class which covering 45k and the C Class, 35K and D Class, 35K.

Day 1 saw competitors bused from the Tollymore Mountain Centre to the start at Bloody Bridge. Conditions where perfect for running in the mountains. The temperature was cool, visibility was perfect and there was no wind. It was Bob Johnston (Dark Peak Fell Runners) and Charlie Stead (Northumberland Fell Runners) who took control of the Elite Class. The pair were twenty nine minutes quicker than their nearest rivals, Paul Mahon and Adrian Hennessy, and therefore ended the day firmly in charge. However, they didn’t have everything their own way – Bob and Charlie were only the third fastest team on Day 2, but their commanding performance and ultimately their lead from the first day of competition, saw them hold on and take 1st place having completed the 55k in 10:09:26. Amazingly, after two days of competition, a mere four seconds split the second and third place teams. In a nail biting finish, Paul Mahon and Adrian Hennessy just about held off Day 2’s fastest pair, Sam Herron and Gary Bailey. Paul and Adrian clocked 10:34:22 (2nd place), while Sam and Gary crossed the line in 10:34:26 (3rd place). Click here to see the full results.

Bob and Charlie’s victory was 12 years after they last won the event in 2003.

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