Bailey Excels at Skyrunning World Champs

The 2018 Skyrunning World Championships was held last weekend in Kinlochleven in the Scottish Highlands.

Skyrunning, a cross between mountain running and rock scrambling features highly technical courses that include exposed ridges and cliff-edge trails, requiring precise footwork and rock climbing skills alongside the fitness to run amongst the steepest of peaks

Newcastle AC and Irish International Ian Bailey took part in the Sky Ring of Steall race held on Sunday 15 September over a distance of 29km with 2500 meters of climbing in Glencoe, which included the infamous Devil’s Ridge.

Ian put in a battling performance to take 36th amongst a field of over 800 of the world’s most talented mountain and ultramarathon runners, completing the course in a superb time of 3:47:32. The race was won by Spain’s Killian Jornet, one of the world’s best mountain runners who holds the records for the fastest ascents and descents of some of world’s highest mountains including Kilimanjaro and the Matterhorn.

Mourne Mountain Marathon 2018

While many runners had their eyes on the Berlin Marathon and the World Mountain Running Championships in Andorra, the Mourne Mountain Marathon was taking place much closer to home. A unique and well organised event, the Mourne Mountain Marathon (or 2 day) is arguably the highlight of the mountain running calendar. It is the only 2 day mountain marathon in Ireland and always attracts a quality field of athletes.

The event is a real test, both mentally and physically as it mixes running, navigating and being self-sufficient for the entire weekend. That involves carrying all your food, cooking and camping equipment, and running in teams of two. Weather conditions can make a difficult event even worse, not only at the overnight camp, but finding the checkpoints in clag is never easy. Not always the fastest runner will win on the day as clever route choice can be the real deciding factor. It takes a hardy sort of runner, not everyone is cut out for the challenging event. There are 4 2 day classes – D being the shortest at 35 km over the 2 days, to the Elite class which is 55 km with more difficult navigation and considerably more climbing. The distance described is “as the crow flies” and competitors will cover much more distance (and that doesn’t take into account navigational error which is easy done when tired!) For those not keen on 2 days a 1 day score event was introduced where runners pick up as many checkpoints as they can in 6 hours. Continue reading

The Curse of 2018 is put to bed!

By Marathon Man

Questions were asked earlier this year when not one Newcastle runner managed to break the magic three hour barrier in extremely warm conditions in London in April this year. Cunningham, Brown and Higgins took a trip to Derry at the start of the summer, however a hilly course prevented any fast times and the only option was to focus on the autumn.

To start the autumn marathon season Troeng and Higgins made the trip to Berlin with both aiming for PB’s after a hard summer training block covering every road in the parish of Leitrim.

The curse of Lanzarote has hung over Higgins since December 2017, the last time he subbed the three, with a disappointing run in London earlier this spring following illness.

Troeng has taken a break from the roads recently focusing on the mountains and hoped that without Jack O’Hare present she wouldn’t have any dislocated shoulders to deal with and could concentrate on running. Continue reading

Third Annual Bryansford 5k

Following the success of the two previous events, Bryansford GAC is pleased to announce the third annual running of the ‘Ford 5k. A little later than in 2017 (the race was in July), the event takes place at 11am on Saturday 29 September. The course is slightly different this year, but the modifications are designed to make it even faster than before. The Start will be further Down the Castlewellan Road, close to the entrance to the Sunnyholme Caravan Park. Once past the St. Patrick’s Park, there will be a lap of the town heading out to the roundabout on the Bryansford Road before turning back towards the town and going back to the Park where the race will finish with almost a lap of the pitch.

Last Year there were some outstanding times with Andrew Annett winning in an impressive 15:24 and Laura Graham recording the fastest ladies time with 17:40. 43 finishers dipped under the 20 minute barrier, no mean achievement. Race Director and seasoned running campaigner Eamon McCrickard is confident that without the twists and turns around the streets of Tullybrannigan, even faster times will be possible.

Entries are available on the day at St. Patrick’s Park on the Castlewellan Road at £10 and there will be refreshments and spot prizes at the finish. The organisers are keen to point out that this is a family event for runners, joggers and walkers of all ages and abilities. With four big running clubs in the area, East Down AC, Mourne Runners, Murlough AC and Newcastle & District AC, there promises to be a great wealth of talent on display and competition between clubs will be intense. From slightly further afield Ballydrain Harriers, Saintfield Striders, Crossgar Harriers, the Flying Horse Flyers and Scrabo Striders all travel well and one would expect many to avail of the opportunity to record a good time on a flat and fast course. Moreover, with so many people completing couch to 5k programmes in every town and village locally, there will be many looking to this event as a barometer of their progress against their personal goals. Numbers will undoubtedly be swelled by the large numbers of Bryansford stalwarts turning out to support their club and the sterling work of the race orgainsers.

In conclusion, keep the date free and come along to enjoy a great race.