‘It is not much fun in the searing sun’

A Bogusboy Special Report on the Virgin London Marathon

Murdock, O’Flaherty, Farrell and Rodgers.

The London marathon is one of the great spectacles of the spring sporting season. With competition for places greater than ever, securing an entry is about as rare as seeing Ronnie Horrox in a Hill & Dale race. More and more people are looking to complete the ultimate challenge of 26.2 miles, something that the human body is not designed to do. Training is arduous and requires commitment to a minimum of 16 weeks of intense training, with long miles a feature of every weekend. This year has been particularly difficult for those in training with very cold weather, snow, heavy rain and winds. Even after enduring all of that, there are no guarantees of success and little things can undo all the good effort. One such factor is the weather on race day. Last week in Boston, there was torrential rain and this invariably impacted on performance. At the other extreme, excessive heat can be an even more undermining factor and can put paid to the best laid plans as evidenced at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast recently. Throughout the week, the meteorologists (and the mortorologists, in the form of our very own Jerome ‘The Prophet’ McCrickard) were warning that Sunday 22 April would be hotter than any runner would desire, even those used to training in warm weather at altitude. Advice was given; take more fluids on board throughout the race and adjust your expectations to match the conditions.

They got it right, unfortunately
The forecasters got it right and temperatures soared as participants assembled at the red, green and blue starts at Blackheath and Greenwich for the 2018 Virgin London Marathon. With arguably the strongest ever field assembled, and the welcome presence of Sir Mo Farah, the streets were lined from early morning as fans sought a glimpse of the greatest ever British male athlete. In the days leading up to Sunday, organisers were repeatedly sending out warnings to athletes to be mindful of the weather and to adjust their target times accordingly. This was not going to be an occasion on for PBs; start slower and forget about the time was the wisdom proffered to the masses. Additionally, they had advised against running in fancy dress to mitigate against the danger of heat exhaustion underneath cumbersome attire. Extra water was ordered by the pallet load and additional on course showers were provided to combat the temperature increase. Continue reading

British Championship comes to Newcastle!

Misty conditions at the Start! Photo by Richard Cowan.

Saturday the 14th of April saw the first round of the British championship, The Mourne Highline take place in Newcastle. The race was organised by NIMRA and all the local clubs helped out with registration and marshalling etc. Race Director, Ricky Cowan did a fantastic job as usual, getting everything into place for one of the biggest Fell races of the year, right down to arranging for thick fog to give locals a home advantage.

Competitors were bussed from Donard Park to the start line at Spelga Dam, where visibility was down to 30 metres, so being competent with a map and compass or having recced the course was sure to be an advantage.

The race took runners up the first climb, Slievenamuck, before dropping down to cross the road at Ott car park, then onto the Ott track where careful navigating was needed to get you to the first checkpoint on the summit of Slieve Meelbeg. From here it was a matter of sticking closely to the Mourne Wall and following it to checkpoint 2 on top of Slieve Meelmore, followed by Slieve Bearnagh, Slievenaglogh, Slieve Corragh and finally Slieve Commedagh. From here, runners descended quickly on very wet and slippery terrain towards the last checkpoint on the edge of Donard forest at Slievenamaddy. Getting the right line off this was crucial and good navigators were well rewarded, the quickest times being under 10mins, while those who like to get value for money and stay on the mountain as long as possible took over an hour! Continue reading

Firmus Fab 5 Series

Congratulations to NJAC member Callum Cope who won the Under 11yrs 60m race and the Under 11yrs Long Jump at the Firmus Fab 5 Series last night held at the Mary Peters Track. Well done also to Cormac McAlinden who took part in the Boys Under 13yrs 100m and Long Jump.

Mountain Running Reports

Reports by various Newcastle AC Members

Slieve Gullion Mountain Race
Starting with Slieve Gullion on Saturday, after being postponed because of snow, runners were now greeted with fog and mist on the summit tors. Conditions underfoot were the usual wet and boggy mess with no escaping the famous gloop that takes weeks to wash off! The race starts off through fields before breaking onto open mountain where there are 3 checkpoints to navigate to, it’s an out and back race with a tricky descent. Race leaders were Newry AC’s Maurice Harte and NAC’s Lorcan Quinn, with Harte just pipping him by one second to win in 36:19. Quinn being the first NAC podium of the weekend taking 2nd in 36:20. 3rd place went to host club Armagh AC’s Lorcan Vallely in 38:01. Leading the chasing pack was NAC’s Stephen McNally, who was on for a podium finish until unfortunately taking the wrong line off the last checkpoint and therefore finishing 7th in 38:13. In the ladies race it was the inform Esther Dickson of Newry AC who led from the start finishing close to the course record in 38:08, in difficult conditions. Not wanting to be outdone by her brother, Sarah Quinn finished in 2nd place in a time of 43:04 and the final ladies’ podium spot went to NAC’s Grace Neville in 47:17. Also running in the NAC colours was Catherine McIntosh finishing 4th in 51:10. An excellent display all round by NAC ladies. Continue reading