Ronan McVeigh’s Weekend Racing

Newcastle AC’s Ronan McVeigh finished runner up in the Knockevin 5k on Saturday 19th May in a time of 20 minutes 35 seconds on a very testing course – the new route with the hills around Bishops Brae really tested the runners with NI U17 runner, Ballydrain’s Kyle Ross holding off Ronan’s strong finish by 4 seconds.

Ronan raced again on Sunday 20th May  in the Warrenpoint 5k on the Bay and again took 2nd place behind winner and serial 5k runner Brendan Heaney from Armagh City Runners.

Hill and Dale Series 2018 – Race 5

Race 5 Results

Race 5 Photos by Paul Fegan

Race 5 Photos by The Inspirational Runner

Lynch and Troeng share the spoils on Rocky
By Rusty and Stainless

A summers evening in the middle of the Mournes, if that well known Danish Lager did Fell races. Thursday evening saw race 5 in the Hill and Dale series descend upon Leitrim Lodge Car Park where 259 runners signed on for the annual haul into the hills of one of most picturesque parts of the Mournes.

Ran in an anti- clockwise direction, the charge began at precisely 7.29pm (Frank was delighted) the runners set-off with the imposing climbs to Altnatagart, Tournamrock, across to Pierce’s Castle onwards to the final climb up Rocky before the runners embarked on the fast, technical descent off Rocky towards the finish. Pre-Race favourites, Seamus Lynch Newcastle AC’s  and William McKee made their intentions clear putting daylight between himself and the chasing pack as they reached the first climb, Lynch extended his lead as the race progressed and ran out a worthy winner in an impressive time of 30.22., McKee ran a strong race  in second with Colm Murtagh completing the podium.

The Ladies race was won by Newcastle Ac’s Mari Troeng who ran an excellent time of 39.23 Continue reading

Slieve Donard Race 2018

Slieve Donard Results 2018

Photos by Paul Fegan

Lynch claims victory on Donard
O’Kane makes it 5

Race Report by Hill Runner

Saturday May 12 saw the annual classic Slieve Donard mountain race take place in Newcastle. Run every year since 1945, this year saw a few changes. Starting in Newcastle’s main St, the first checkpoint was at the saddle, the most direct route being via the Glen River path, turning left to follow the Mourne wall to the summit, some 852 metres above Newcastle making it Northern Ireland’s highest peak. From here runners descended down the other side towards checkpoint 3 at the quarry, where a good line will see you picking up the path that leads to it. Free route choice from here to checkpoint 4 at the first bridge saw people going off in various directions, all trying to see if they were quicker. Weather wise the sun stayed out from start to finish unlike last year, where torrential hail stones battered people half an hour from the start. A cool breeze helped keep temperatures under control on the long climb to the summit. Continue reading

Lynch Wins At Annalong

Saturday 4th May saw race 3 of the NIMRA championship take place, the Annalong Horseshoe. Whilst Newcastle basked in sunshine it was a different story further round the coast. Thick fog hung low on the Irish Sea and up into the Annalong valley requiring runners to keep their map and compass to hand.

The race measures 13.1 mile in distance with over 1300 metres of ascent. Starting at Dunnywater the first checkpoint is on Chimney Rock Mountain. From the whistle a group of 4 runners containing NAC’s Seamus Lynch broke away and made a hasty ascent to the summit. Getting their navigation perfect in the fog saw them waste no time here and they quickly sped towards Slieve Commedagh summit for checkpoint 2, where conditions were perfect with clear skies and sunshine. A steep descent off Commedagh and on to checkpoint 3 takes runners onto the summit of Cove Mountain. The group of 4 were still together but things were about to change. Checkpoint 4 on the top of Slievelamagan is a short climb from Cove, but the descent on the other side requires a wee bit of local knowledge as to what is the quickest way down. Lynch seen his opportunity here and quickly turned it to his advantage, with one runner going off course and one starting to fatigue he put in a final effort on the long climb up Slieve Binnian for the 2nd time in as many days, as he also ran Thursday nights Hill and Dale race. A gap was forced between him and Glens Runners’ Jonny Steede, and after checkpoint 5 on Binnians summit began a 2 mile descent on treacherous terrain before the final mile along the road back to Dunnywater. Lynch maintained his lead to win in a time of 2:06:09 followed by Steede in 2:08:07. Continue reading

73rd Slieve Donard Race – Preview

The annual Slieve Donard race will start at 2.00pm on Saturday 12th May, on the main street in front of the Newcastle Centre as usual but this year will finish on football field in Donard Park making for a more relaxed environment for both competitors and spectators. The route also changes out on the mountain, with a checkpoint at the Saddle on the way the way to the 852-meter summit. On the descent, checkpoints must be visited at the Quarry and the first bridge on the Glen River.

Interestingly, whilst the Slieve Donard race route has changed over the years this is the first time the route will not be “out-and-back” for 20 years, earlier being via the Bloody Bridge. Of course, for a number of years there was free route choice on the open mountain; however, the majority of runners opted for the shortest and most direct route via the Black Stairs. This means that this year runners will not be able to gauge their race position against their peers coming off the summit and navigation skills may be required if the cloud is low.

A brief history

The first race was held in 1945 and won by S McAteer in a time of 1hr 59min. For a number of years the course went via the Bloody Bridge with a 2 mile run along the road to finish. James McKenny recorded 6 consecutive victories on this course between 1953 and 1958.

In the 1998 the decision was taken for safety reasons to revert to the up and down route starting at the Newcastle Centre and back to Donard Park (cutting out the long road section from the Bloody Bridge). However in 2002 a further route change took the finish back at Newcastle Centre to allow more spectators to witness the race. For many years Mike Short held the record with his 1977 run via the Bloody Bridge in 1 hour 4 min 14 seconds. In the 70’s & 80’s, the British Fell Championship format included all mountains in the British Isles hence the reason for more visitors, this later changed to 4 nominated races each year. In 2000 the British Championship included Slieve Donard as the N. Ireland race in the new format. The race was won by Ian Holmes in 50mins 10 seconds, the fastest ever up and down, although the start was on the Main Street the finish was in Donard Park, if Ian had run on to the Newcastle Centre, he would have taken less than 2mins 30 seconds and a sub 53 minute up and down time. The race is now part of the Ireland Mountain Running Championships, which includes the highest peaks in the four Provinces and one of the reasons why the date was moved to May. Continue reading