By the Clonduff Cruiser
In what was an incredibly successful day for Newcastle AC, The Mourne Way Marathon 2018 on Saturday 9th June offered events in 10k, half marathon, marathon and ultra-marathon distances (almost as many events as Joe McCanns birthday celebration series 2018). The many Newcastle AC groupies who turned up to watch were treated to fine sunny weather, spectacular views and several winning displays for the club.
The first event to kick off at 6am was the ultra-marathon in what is a gruelling test of endurance and stamina. Linda Rogan showed determination in abundance completing the 52 mile course from Kilbroney Park to Slieve Donard and BACK AGAIN in 11:10:16 and 4th Female finisher.
Marathon – Murtagh Wins Again
Sinead Murtagh continued to impress all in the form of her life by comfortably finishing the marathon as 1st lady in and 4th position overall. Communications were filtering through early on from club spectators that Sinead had opened a lead in the womens race. From there she kept her pace steady throughout and finished strongly like a true Spartan to the cheers of support at 3:51:26 with 7 minutes to spare over the 2nd female finisher.
Next home was Frank Cunningham who had just recently competed in the Derry Marathon who in ‘Frank the Tank’ style decided to do the Mourne Way Marathon a week later “for the craic”. With this in mind finishing 16th with a time of 4:12:18 is all the more impressive.
Ryan McDonald finished under the 4.5 hour mark in 32nd place with a time of 4:29:21. Victoria Canavan completed the course with a highly respectable time of 4:51:14 in 56th position. The final Newcastle AC marathon competitor home was Monica McCrickard in a time of 5:33:36. Monica was met at the finish line by her clearly emotional husband Jerome with celebratory hugs and kisses.
Two Newcastle AC athletes took to the challenge of the half marathon with both finishing comfortably under 2 hours. Donna Daly who hails from the back end of the Mournes ran an impressive race finishing with a strong push as 4th female in a time of 1:52:56.
Shortly afterwards Sinead Flynn finished in a time of 1:57:49 getting both a sub two hour finish and 9th place in the female category.
NAC Lead the Way in the 10K
The 10k race was dominated by Newcastle athletes with one spectator commenting the starts by club runners resembled “heifers getting out onto fresh grass”. Noel Gallagher ran a steady 0.1 mile and then pushed for the finish line in emphatic fashion coming in as the winner with a PB time of 37:22.
An all Newcastle AC podium was complete by two tremendous sub 40 minute runs by Sean Russell 39:04 in 2nd place and Johnny Crutchley finishing 3rd in a time of 39:19.
The cherry on the cake came with Ashlene Mussen finishing as the lady winner in a time of 42:46. Keen to avoid traffic on the narrow paths early on Ashlene exerted herself to get in front from the start. This early effort was felt in the closing stages but happily Ashlene dug deep and held her nerve to maintain her 1st place position until the finish.
Gary McEvoy ran impressively finishing in 7th place with a respectable time of 43:10.
Lorna Cunningham continued to show tremendous improvement in her running by finishing strongly and with characteristic determination in 45:07 and 4th Female.
Glenmore 10 Mile Challenge
Just over the Carlingford Lough, Kieran ‘Smiley Miley’ Morgan ran the Glenmore AC 10 mile challenge. Miley, who has recently returned from long term injury, showed his top form will soon be back by impressively completing the hilly course in 1:06:09 and securing a 10th place finish.