Sun broke the horizon just 30 or so minutes before the 0600 start of the 100k, the first of three events in the Lost Worlds Racing, Causeway Crossing series. It would be followed with a 50k starting at 1300 in the Quarry and a 25k starting at 1530 at the final turn point in the 100k event.
Races from all over the world lined up for the start of the second edition of the Lost Worlds Causeway Crossing. Representation came from Japan, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, UK and Ireland.
Starting in Waterfoot in the Glens of Antrim, the race passed through areas of local beauty such as Larry Bane quarry, Carrick-A-Rede, the Moyle Way and the Causeway Coastline including the Giants Causeway.
As often happens, the longest event of the day always attracts the most attention, however, the 50k event certainly had some names to watch.
However, as the “3,2,1 and GO” was being uttered by race director, Tim Holmstrom, Jonny Steede flew off like a rabbit that had just been scared in headlights and really, that is the last that any runner saw of him all day… of course, they did get an opportunity to see him run back against them later in the day as he returned along the ‘Causeway’ to secure a very impressive win over his first 100k race. Jonny had recently won the Wicklow Way 51k and was a ‘hot tip’ going into this race. His time of 8:35:23 was very impressive.
Fast man, Dave James was over in Europe from the USA and just the weekend before Ireland had taken part in Lost Worlds Racing Tuscany event and was now on the start line for the 100k. It is worth pointing out that Dave is in Europe for several weeks. In just seven days he will be lining up against the best in the world at Transvulcania La Palma and then just two weeks later he will go to Zegama before attempting, in June, the brutal Ronda del Cims 100m mountain race in Andorra. Dave also like to race on a regular basis, but with the proximity of Transvulcania he was never going to push too hard at the Causeway Crossing. He ran a very solid second place behind a dominant Jonny Steede but by the time he arrived at the 50k point he was approximately 40 mins in arrears of the fast man up front and decided to call it a day and prepare for the next race in just a week.
Noel Brick took 2nd place after gaining some places in the latter stages of the race. When I saw him at the Giants Causeway he said he was tired and hurting but he would push on… push on he did crossing the line in 11:20:26 ahead of Ronald Peacock 11:58:10.
Local runner Hannah Shields is somewhat a legend in Irish running and she fulfilled her pre race ‘favourite’ billing by running a smart race despite some calf niggles. Always smiling, always chatting she powered her way through the 100k and not only did she win the ladies race convincingly in 12:13:33 but she also finished sixth overall.
Susanne Hastrup from Sweden took 2nd place in 14:10:27 and Amy Beggs (tbc – possibly Mette Kildermoes in 15:01:30) crossed the line in 15:01:30 for third making it a truly international podium.
The 50k race started at Larrybane Head Quarry (the halfway point for the 100k and finish line for all races). Runners headed out along the coast as a cold, strong wind blew in from the sea. Running around the Giants Causeway they turned at Dunluce Castle before heading back to the finish line at Larrybane Head Quarry this time via the Giants Causeway.
Hot tip and last minute entrant to the race was Scot, DR Andrew Murray. He pushed hard from the beginning of the race and gradually built an advantage over his rivals to finish in 3:55:54 in first place. He was very enthusiastic when I caught up with him, “How could you not enjoy this… it’s a beautiful coastline. I had a great day out with some great views”.
Martin Rea and Shane Whitty had a fight for second place but it was the man from North Belfast (Martin) who pushed ahead in the latter stages to cross the line in 4:07:02 with just over three minutes lead over Shane who finished in 4:10:36 for third place.
Jolene Mellon from Ireland started the race as she meant to go on and dominated the 50k event from beginning to end. She crossed the line 4 mins ahead of Col Conway, finishing times 4:49:48 and 4:53:58 respectively. Stefani Jackenthal from the USA, before the race had said how excited she was to be running on this course, she is a journalist and sports writer, so the challenging course and a solid third place will almost certainly make a feature in an up and coming article, her time 5:07:54.
The final event of the day, the 25km started at the final turn point for the 100k and 50k races. Karen Alexander flew away from the start and never looked back… running up the climb out of the Giants Causway she made the gradient look easy. So easy that not only did she win the ladies race but the 25k race overall. Her finish time of 1:53:17 very impressive.
Patrick Thompson was the first male runner home in 2:00:33 taking a win in the category but ultimately was second place overall. Chris Heaney had a sprint for the line and secured third place by just 2 seconds in 2:01:09 ahead of fellow American, Kalle Kraften. Laura O’Driscoll was second in the ladies race in 2:06:45 and Helena Dornan third in 2:13:31.
- Jonny Steede 8:35:23
- Noel Brick 11:20:26
- Ronald Peacock 11:5810
- Hannah Shields 12:33:33
- Susanne Hastrup 14:10:27
- Amy Beggs 15:46:30 (tbc) possibly Mette Kildermoes in 15:01:30
- Andrew Murray 3:55:54
- Martin Rea 4:07:02
- Shane Whitty 4:10:36
- Jolene Mellon 4:49:48
- Col Conway 4:53:58
- Stefani Jackenthal 5:07:54
- Patrick Thompson 2:00:33
- Chris Heaney 2:01:09
- Kalle Kraften 2:01:11
- Karen Alexander 1:53:17
- Laura O’Driscoll 2:06:45
- Helena Dornan 2:13:31
A portfolio of RACE PHOTOGRAPHY is available to view HERE
Images will be available to purchase from May 8th using this LINK HERE
To the Lost Worlds Racing staff, Ryan and Justin at NI Running and all the local hospitality and help.