Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association Championship

Throughout the year and almost every weekend, the NIFRA team take to the countryside and partake in fell running both as a social and competitive leisurely pursuit. Although some members only ever see the competitive side everyone gets as much fun out of fell running as they put in. The NIMRA Championship is the most competitive fell running and mountain running competition in Northern Ireland. Supported by its members through subscriptions fees, NIFRA organise the championship for the benefit of members and overseas participants.

The cost of membership is only a few pounds for a year so you really do get a lot in return for the money you pay and also a great racing day out in the calender thanks to the volunteers at NIFRA.

The NIFRA Fell Running Championship Event Course Highlights

The course entails the running of Annalong Horseshoe - a 13.1 mile long, 1550 metres high climb of a course which takes in some fantastic countryside from Rourke's Park, Chimney Rock, Commedagh, Cove, Slievelamagan, Binnian with a finish at Dunneywater. The association rules insist that all runners most be equipped with the following during the race: A Whistle, Compass, Map of the entire course (Mournes Outdoor Pursuits Map) Black & White photocopy not acceptable, Emergency rations equivalent to one mars bar (minimum), Waterproof garments affording complete body protection and Hat and gloves.

There are usually three checkpoints where Marshalls will be in attendance, they will be present at 1. Checkpoint 1 – Chimney Rock, 2. Between Slieve Commedagh and Slieve Beg and at Checkpoint 3. Between Slieve Lamigan and Slieve Binian. The course is the highlight of the Northern Ireland calendar as NIFRA welcomes participants from all over the UK, Ireland and Europe where fell running is also a popular sport.

The Annalong Horseshoe fell running championship event allows you to make your own course corrections and devise your own running path, as long as you hit all the checkpoints along the way and dib your dibber in so as a record of your passing through can be identified. Robbie Bryson set the current record of 1:56:58 in 1996 and it is yet to be beaten, although people have tried and come close. The first time the Annalong Horseshoe was run, Stanley Graham crossed the finish line with 2:20:25 on the clock.

The course is not for the faint hearted with plenty of steep grassy climbs and some equally steep downhill running, it is however a fantastic route to be enjoyed, both for runners and those following as supporters.