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We’re aware that some people have issues where club emails are going into their Spam/Junk folders. The easiest way to prevent this is to add the club email address to your “Safe Senders List”. We would ask all club members to do this to ensure you continue to receive all club emails. If you follow the link below and go to the “Help with Common Email Clients” section, it should explain how to do this. If you have any issues, please just let us know and we will try our best to help!

World Mountain Running Long Distance Championships

Newcastle AC’s Ian Bailey was in action on the biggest stage at the weekend at the World Mountain Running Long Distance Championships in Karpacz, Poland. The course measured in at just over 22 miles and boasted two ascents of over 1100 metres each, both times to the summit of the imposing Mount Sniezca via different routes before plunging all the way back into the town centre. On the extremely rough surfaces, comprised largely of jagged man-made cobbles, Bailey set a blisteringly fast time of 2:58:22, good enough for 33rd place in a field of 124 of the World’s best mountain runners.

The Irish team managed for the first time ever to score a team finish at the Long Distance Worlds by having three successful finishers, a feat made all the more difficult by only having three athletes meet the qualifying standards to compete. Edinburgh based Eoin Lennon scored a magnificent 19th and Dublin’s Des Kennedy held on bravely in the latter stages to come 62nd and give the Irish lads a 10th place finish overall.

Report by Newcastle AC Members

Newcastle AC represented at Connacht Championships

At the weekend two Newcastle AC members Pete Grant & Colm Murtagh made their way out to the west of Ireland to take part in the 3rd race of the IMRA Irish Championships, Mweelrea, which also doubles up as part of the Connacht Championship.  The Connacht Championship is run over two days back to back with the Nephin mountain race completing the championship.  With a couple of good performances in the IMRA championship races to date hopes were high amongst the two that podium places and category wins were there for the taking.

With a height of 814 metres or 2670 feet if you prefer, Mweelrea is the highest point in the province of Connacht overlooking the Atlantic coast.  The race starts on the picturesque Silver Strand beach with runners having to suffer 1km on tarmac before they hit the open mountain where the real racing can begin.  Continue reading

Spelga Skyline 2018

Race 6 of the NIMRA championship took place on Saturday June 30th in blistering conditions. Race director, Aaron Shimmons, did an excellent job transporting water and supplies to various locations around the course, helped by a team of marshals from BARF club.


The race starts at Spelga Damand straight into the first climb of Butter Mountain before dropping down to cross the road at Ott car park. Here begins the long climb of Meelbeg to C.P 1 on the summit, followed quickly to C.P 2 on top of Slieve Loughshannagh, then a long ascent to C.P 3 at Slieve Muck. A steep descent brings runners down to the road crossing at Deers Meadow where there was a very welcome water station. From here it’s the same route as the H +D to the summit of Slieve Moughanmore, and then another sharp drop before crossing a river and heading to Pierce’s Castle. Long grass and heather with lots of hidden boulders and holes make this section a lot harder than it looks. From here the next C.P is on top of Rocky, where another water station is passed en route. From the summit of Rocky you can see exactly how far you have left to go! Just another 2 mountains and I’m home! The long descent off is quite rough too, followed by another river crossing and onto the Hen track. A nice grassy trail brings runners to the summit of Hen Mountain followed by one of the toughest climbs of the day, Cock Mountain. A hard mountain to conquer on its own, never mind climbing it at the end of a race in scorching temperatures, that’s a slow, painful experience! Upon reaching its summit it is downhill all the way to Spelga’s dam wall, where runners climb the 28 steps of hell to reach the finish line. Continue reading

Hanna superb at European Mountain Racing Championships

Happy at the Finish of the 2018 European Mountain Racing Championships in Skopje, FYR Macedonia.

Today (Sunday 1 July 18) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (just north of Greece) the European Mountain Racing Championships took place in Skopje the country’s capital. The day dawned bright and sunny, just like the unusual summer we have been having in Ireland this year for a change. With temperatures in the shade officially at 26C, it was much like the Irish runners had recently been used to at home and they were in luck as 38C in the shade is forecast in Macedonia for later this week. 

The Men’s race was over two laps of the technical course, much of it in forest and much of it steep – 10.9km in all and 2,400 feet of climbing (similar to sea level to top of Commedagh but in two stages). There were four runners in each national team with 3 to count towards the team score. Local Newcastle & District AC runners (with the emphasis on the ‘District’) Zak Hanna (from the slopes of Slieve Croob near Dromara) and Seamy Lynch (also living on the top of a hill, this time in Rathfriland) made up half of the Irish team with Hanna back to try and improve on his 53rd place from Kamnik in Slovenia last year and Lynch on his 55th from Arco in Italy in 2016.

There was no holding back Hanna who was out of the starting pen like a whippet and could be seen on the livestream on the early slopes well in the top half of the 78-strong field. He reached the first summit (2.4km into the race) just inside 15 minutes and in 25th place, around 60 seconds ahead of the next two Irish runners Mark Ryan and Lynch, who arrived at the summit together. At end of lap one, Hanna hadn’t slackened and had maintained his lead over his compatriots and started into the second climb of the peak in 21st place. There was no holding him back now as despite the hurt and pain he reached the summit in good shape and hurtled back down on the 3km run to the finish.

Hanna had the race of his life making the top-20 in Europe coming home in 19th in 51:45 – a fantastic 34 places better than 12 months ago. Hanna is a man of great natural climbing talent having spent his formative years competing on the bicycle. Now for the past 18 months or so he has been consistently doing the work to put in a ‘running base’ to support his climbing ability and he got his rewards here today – congratulations and much more to come. Behind him Ryan was Ireland’s second scorer in 39th place in 54:16. Lynch had valiantly tried to hang onto to Ryan but just hd to let him go on the second climb coming home in 44th place in 55:30 – marginally disappointed but an 11 place improvement on his performance in 2016.

Ireland finished 11th team out of 18 finishing teams – a solid performance. More information can be found at

Report by Bogboy

VIDEO – Hanna nearly takes a tumble near the summit of the final climb