A MAN in his 60s has collapsed and died during a mountain race in Co Down.
The man, believed to be from Belfast, took ill about halfway through the Hill and Dale Series at Slieve Moughanmore in the Mourne Mountains at 8pm on Thursday.
The race covers nearly three and a half miles and a climb of around 1,500ft.
It is believed that fellow runners including a doctor alerted the emergency services and a helicopter from Dublin was tasked to the scene.
Martin McMullan from Mourne Mountain Rescue said the man was “very well known in the local mountain running community”
He added the death would come as a big shock to the close-knit community.
“Unfortunately one of the participants collapsed close to the second peak of the race, there are three peaks in total,” he explained.
“Other competitors attended to him immediately and we were very lucky that were several doctors on the scene.
“There were also race officials and our own team members close by but despite the best efforts of everyone involved the competitor passed away at the scene.”
Mr McMullan added that the race covers challenging terrain but is a moderate race in the series and those taking part are well prepared and participate at their own level.