Last Sunday’s running of the 2017 Mourne White Water Race, witnessed a slight increase on previous year’s entries. Upwards of 80 paddlers competed in a range of boat categories over the usual 6.5 mile Newtownstewart to Sion Mills weir course. The age range of the participants who hailed from all over Ireland, ranged from14 years – to a sprightly 74 years of age.
Conditions were favourable this year, with mild weather and some rain falling prior to the race. The competitors were released in 3 separate groups. The faster White Water Racers and C1s – who were mainly southern based, set off first. These were followed by the General Purpose category, with the Open Boats released a few minutes later. The biggest entry by far, was in the Tandem Open Boats, with an excellent 20 teams taking part.
There didn’t seem to be too many swimmers at the dreaded ‘Fisheries’ section this year. Perhaps it was the reassuring sight of the numerous FPCC safety crew in their conspicuous orange bibs.
When the weary paddlers reached the finish line at Sion Mills Weir, they were treated to the customary FPCC hospitality. Following the presentation of medals to the top paddlers in each category, and the obligatory photograph, everyone returned home, tired but content and looking forward to next year’s event.
When all of the finishing times were calculated, young Daniel Mc Ivor was the winner of the U18 General Purpose category. Indeed, many of the paddlers were taking part in their first ever race. The fastest boat overall this year was a C1, paddled by Michael Brennan, from Thomas town Paddlers, who completed the course in an impressive 50 minutes and 58 seconds.
Foyle Paddlers Canoe club, who organised the event, wish to thank everyone who competed or assisted in any way. We would like to particularly thank Derry City & Strabane Council for helping fund this event. The club were delighted with the turnout and hope to make it even bigger and better in 2018 – perhaps expanding the format into a two day multi event.
A full list of results and lots of photographs and video coverage are available on the Foyle Paddlers Canoe Club website and club face book. Apologies to the Male & Female Open Boat teams – we should have provided medals in these categories also.
A big thank you to all competitors, club members, safety marshals and everyone who helped make this a great event.