Everything is in place for the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker

A preview of the 34th Christmas Cracker race by Lotsamud

It sold out almost as quickly as Ed Sheeran! Additional places were added in a ‘Black Friday Sale’ on 8 December and they went within hours of release. At present there are 700 teams registered for this ever popular highlight of the Christmas holiday sporting calendar. Once again a record number of teams will take to the start for the 34th Christmas Cracker pairs’ race on Saturday 30 December. The market town will be awash with colour as 1400 competitors, many of whom will ‘dress for the occasion’, take to the streets. The race has grown exponentially since it was taken over by Newcastle AC and relocated to Castlewellan in the early ‘noughties’. It remains one of the most unique and popular races in the annual ANI calendar. Building on the success of previous years, there are more mixed teams and more all-female teams than ever. One recalls clearly the 2004 race when 54 teams finished. This stands as irrefutable evidence of the amazing popularity of running at present and the desire among athletes of all abilities to get out there and compete. For some it will be to win a category or record a fast time, while for others it will be the joy of finishing and the sense of accomplishment that comes from simply being able to say, ‘I did it.’ With bespoke medals proffered to all finishing teams this year, there is an extra incentive those on the hunt for a piece of unusual bling. Continue reading

Saturday 16th December 2017

Saturday 16 December is the annual club Christmas dinner. For a number of years we have established the tradition with Murlough AC to have an informal festive run on the morning of the dinner and raise a few pounds for charity before getting glammed up for an evening of merriment. This year we will have our joint run at the Castlewellan parkrun on Saturday 16 December at 9:30am. While we normally do not wear our club vests to parkrun, we are going to on this occasion as this is a club event. Murlough will be wearing their vests as well. Our charity donation will be to MYMY (Mind Yourself and Mind Your mate), a local charity providing invaluable services to the ever increasing number of people experiencing mental health problems. We would ask that our senior and junior members join forces for the morning and enjoy a fun, timed 5k in the most beautiful setting imaginable. There will be refreshments available after in the Life Adventure Centre. Please spread the word and we look forward to seeing huge numbers of vests on parade!!!

And now the end is here!

Bogusboy bows out where it all began – The Seeley Cup

The Seeley Cup is one of the most firmly established events in the NI running year and is arguably the most important race for individuals and clubs alike. Reaching the 1000 entry limit well in advance is evidence of the popularity of the event and the undoubted kudos it retains in an era where there are a myriad of races available weekly. In recent years NAC participation has been considerable and this year was no exception – a few of us are stalwarts of 20 years or more and have secured a perennial seat on the ‘Maybes’ bus. At the sharp end of the race on Saturday 25 November, Derry Track Club’s Gideon Kipsang was the clear winner, though his time of 30:39 was nothing overly special to win such a prestigious event; in fact there have been years when the top 10 were all inside the 30:30 mark. One gets the impression he could have ran a quicker time had the need arose. He was joined on the podium by Scott Rankin of Foyle Valley AC (30:56) and Neil Johnston of Springwell AC (31:05). One wonders if the in-form Eoghan Totten might have challenged for at least a podium spot. Continue reading

Club Kit has Arrived!

Dear members,

The latest Club Kit order from O’Neill’s has now arrived and has been sorted.

You will be able to collect your order from me before and after the Club Session this Tuesday evening (28th November).

PJ McCrickard

It only takes a second for Patterson to retain his title!

A brief report on a quiet week by Bogusboy

The exploits of the ever-youthful Jim Patterson have been well documented in recent weeks in this column. There are few other sports where an athlete aged 70+ would make the headlines so regularly. Building on his great success in winning the World M70 Masters’ Mountain Running Championships a few months back, the inform veteran struck gold again as Northern Ireland secured an impressive haul of individual and team medals at the British and Irish Masters International Cross County in Derry at the weekend. Jim has enjoyed a stellar year and has been in magnificent form in both the mountains and the country. On Saturday, over what was described as a ‘proper XC course’, he retained the title won last year in some style. Having said that he was forced to work all the way and defeated Peter Giles of England by the slender margin of one second. However, one second proved to be enough and the history books will forever record Patterson as the winner of the race. Jim also led the Northern Ireland team which included Tony Gray and David Seaton to third place overall and a place on the podium. Continue reading