The 32nd Christmas Cracker in Castlewellan Report

Tales of the not so unexpected as Monaghan and Totten dominate a high class field
by Bogusboy

ResultsPhotos by Caolan Hawkins

With 850 competitors participating, the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker was undoubtedly the main local sporting event of the holiday season. The scene as the athletes made their way along the Main Street towards the Drumbuck Road was truly something to behold with many festooned in festive apparel.  Equally impressive was the huge crowd of spectators that lined the streets and the forest park to watch the drama unfold. This year was a vintage one with the event sold out well in advance and many of the top performers committed early to taking part. As predicted, it was going to be a close affair, with a number of pairs in contention for the win. Continue reading

Route for Tuesdays 5 mile handicap race


Meet at 6:30pm at Newcastle Centre for 2 mile warm up.
Start is at Elim Pentecostal Church on Downs Road
Run up Downs Road Towards Slieve Donard Hotel
Run around Slieve Donard Hotel clockwise
Run along Promenade – 1 mile marker at Bridge
Run around Spike at top of promenade
Cross road safely and run through lights, past the Anchor
turn left onto Tullybrannigan Road, then left again onto Shanslieve Drive
2 mile marker just past Greenhill Park
Turn right onto Slievenamaddy Avenue
Turn left onto Spelga Avenue
Turn left at end of Spelga Avenue onto Bryansford Road
Keep going on Bryansford Road to the mini roundabout.
Turn right onto Bryansford Avenue (towards the town) – 3 mile marker is 100 Yards along Bryansford Avenue
On Bryansford Avenue take second left onto Beechfield Park (last left before the traffic lights)
Take first left onto Larchfield Park and follow through to top of Marguerite Avenue.
Turn left at top of Marguerite Avenue and then left again back onto Bryansford Road and go straight through mini roundabout back towards the town
At traffic lights turn left onto Castlewellan Road – Mile marker 4 is at the entrance to Newcastle Primary School
Continue along Castlewellan Road to the finish which is 100 Yards past the traditional Doggy bin finish!!!

Go to O’Hare’s for some refreshments!

NAC/MAC and Friends – Charity Run – Saturday 19th December 2015

On a very busy day in the running calendar, 47 athletes arrived in Castlewellan for the now traditional pre-Christmas night out Charity run – an ideal opportunity to get the legs warmed up for the inevitable dancing and general misbehaving that would follow later on that night. 47 started and 47 finished, but in now accepted fashion two did their own thing! Grainne and Patricia started out with the main field before finding a more interesting path; this led to a deviation off route, a bit of a nature trek, some impromptu bird watching before ambling back to the point from whence they came. After all of that they were home first by a country mile!!! The times below are accurate to a point as the timekeeper was suffering from a viral infection and a little under the weather.  Please do not hesitate to let him know if there are any inaccuracies and he guarantees to do absolutely nothing about it as this was a bit of good hearted Christmas fun.  If you ran faster you know it so well done!!! Continue reading

Sold Out!!!

A preview of the 32nd Christmas Cracker race by Bogusboy

It sold out almost as quickly as Beiber – extra places were secured and went within minutes and many are disappointed as they will have to spectate. 450 teams will take to the line for the 32nd Christmas cracker pairs’ race on Monday 28th December. The market town will be awash with colour as 900 competitors, many of whom will ‘dress for the occasion’, take to the streets. Rumour has it that Stevie Rice and Martin Brogan were tactically holding off to see if they could get a discounted price after Christmas Day –  sorry lads, no such luck this year. The race has grown exponentially since it was taken over by Newcastle AC and relocated to Castlewellan in the early ‘noughties’ and remains one of the most unique and popular races in the annual ANI calendar. In 2014, 353 teams completed the course, building steadily on the numbers form the previous years.  This year there are 203 male teams, 118 female teams and 129 mixed teams. Continue reading

North West XC 2015

Newcastle Maidens shine in the Maiden City
By Muddy Fields

North West Cross Country 19 Dec 15The annual outing to the Maiden City saw Newcastle AC cross country squads board the bus at the various pick up points and as the day was a one which there was a lot going on a schedule was drawn up and this would be strictly adhered to. All was going well for stage 1 – leaving Newcastle the squad followed the schedule. Stage 2 Castlewellan alterations were made to the departure time as Hen and Seamy were “stuck behind a snow plough” coming from Rathfriland “but there was no snow today Hen” “well it worked last week” he replied in an effort to explain his tardiness. Continue reading