An almost flat and traditionally popular road 5k in the picturesque Norman village of Carlingford on a sunny Friday evening – what more would any runner want? Over the years this has indeed become a ‘go to’ August race attracted high quality at the front and the masses This year there were 466 finishers, countless spectators and a carnival atmosphere.
The ‘Michael Fearon & Kevin Marron” road race, organised by Glenmore AC, starts on the lough front on the Omeath side of the village and heads out the road towards Greenore before tuning around 2.5k onto the old road to head back towards the village with the finishing 400m being along the narrow streets in the centre. The red and yellows from Newcastle & District AC were very well represented, not least at the front by Zak Hanna, only 5 days after representing Ireland at the World Mountain Racing Championships in Italy. Hanna, although not fully recovered, aimed to break 16 minutes ‘on the flat’ for the first time and wasn’t disappointed coming home in 10th place overall in a new personal best of 15:55 out sprinting Eskander Turki of Monaghan.
Rostervor’s David Hicks, winner of the Spelga Skyline earlier in the season, also showed his flat strength finishing in 25th in a personal best in 16:54. Kieran ‘Miley’ Morgan was next home in 44th in 17:45 with Collie Murtagh close behind in 46th in 17:47. Brendan McQuaid was next in 55th in 17:55 having worked hard with Morgan and Murtagh throughout the race. Frank Cunningham was 74th in 18:28 and Stephen McNally 79th in 18:33, both sneaking inside 6:00 mile pace, demonstrating more progress for both of them.
First of the Newcastle ladies was Mari Troeng, 18th woman home in 20:24 (chip time) with Sam McNeilly not far behind and just outside her PB, 20th woman in 20:23 (chip time). Making an excellent return to racing since becoming a mother Sinead Murtagh was 21st women in 20:37. Rita Devlin made up the Newcastle women in 44th in 22:28.
There were another 3 club brave hearts – Patrick Higgins, white as a sheet, like he’d seen a ghost, struggled home in 157th in 20:47 and promptly fell over. There were good runs for Martin Duggan in 248th (23:26) and Gary McIlhennon in 386th (28:32). North Belfast Harriers took the men’s team prize with 57 points, Dromore AC were 2nd with 95 points and Newcastle 3rd with 122 points. Newcastle Women also took 3rd place in a much closer race with 104 points behind Drogheda & District AC (95 points) and Dromore AC (96 points).
Junior Member Ronan McVeigh also finished in a fantastic 2nd place in the U15 1200m course.