Over 300 defy elements at Wicklow Way Ultra/Trail (plus results-round-up)

* A few pics at www.lindie.zenfolio.com and  many more at (of course!) www.actionphotography.ie)
What a day at the Wicklow Way 52km ultra and 26km Trail race from Glencullen to Ballinastoe! An epic was how one dazed finisher described it. Last year, finishers were at risk of sunburn. This year the major threat was hypothermia, with driving rain to start with, followed swiftly by low-lying wet fog on the mountains, bone-freezing winds, and deep, deep snow that slashed the shins of the unwary. On the boardwalk on the side of Djouce, a missed step meant sinking up to the knees in bog. Lovely!
Yet 128 hardy souls set off on the 52km  and a further 180 or so on the 26km. Making light of the conditions was Johnny Steede from Ballymena Runners, a renowned mountain runner who finished 17 minutes clear of the chasers in his first attempt at this race. Clearly one to watch on the ultra scene. Wicklow Way record holder  Paul Tierney from the Eagle club in Cork was the pre-race favourite but faded to third place after badly gashing his shins in the hard, sharp snow.
A bus-load had travelled down from the North with Hannah Shields and Violet Linton both well up among the women.
Most delighted finisher was a member of Larne AC, who had seen a friend win one of the coveted Hilary Jenkinson mugs last year and was so jealous she vowed she’d follow in her footsteps.
Ian Conroy of Raheny Shamrock dominated the 26km trail recording a comfortable win.
* Results when we get them… 

* While the Wicklow Way Ultra and Trail went ahead, a number of  weekend have been postponed, among them the Larne Half Marathon. 
* No such problems with the Wooidie’s DIY Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone.  Highlight was a new championships best of 18.11m from John Kelly of Finn Valley in the M18 shsot (5kg). That mark leaves Kelly just 9cm off the B standard for the World Youths’ Championships in July. In a good day for the Kelly family, younger brother James in the M14 class also broke the championships record with a put of 15.38m. 
On the track, Marcus Lawler (SLOT) won the M19  60m in a hand-timed 6.7 seconds; the electronic timing failed for both heat and final in this event. That was not the case for the W178 60m, where Megan Marrs (City of Lisbun) set a new record of 7.57. Another record tumbled in the W18 400, won by Alanna Smith (GCH)  in 55.57

Saturday March 23 
ParkRun 5km,Marlay Park.(184 finishers; www.parkrun.ie/Marlay).
Men:1 Unknown, 2 Romain Denis M35 17.20, 3 Unknown , 4 Darragh Pagr (Kilcoole, M35) 17.39, 5 Unknown, 6 Richard Healy (Crusaders, M35) 18.22. Women:1 Sandra Armstrong (Sportsworld, W40) 20.56 (PB), 2 Jean McAdam 21.02, 3 Gwen Baker 21.48.
Parkrun 5km, Malahide(190 finishers; www.parkrun.ie/malahide)
Men:1 Kieron Peters (Skerries) 16.59, 2 Conor Keane (Clonliffe) 17.09 (PB), 3 Sean McSeoin (MSB, M40) 17.34. Women: 1 Helen O’Connor (Raheny Shamrock) 20.37 (PB), 2 Eva McNelis 20.42, 3 Alison O’Sullivan (Clonliffe) 21.30

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