Castlewellan Christmas Cracker 2022

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UPDATE 30/09/2022

We are waiting on permits from Council for this year’s Christmas Cracker Race.

It will worth the wait, if all goes to plan, this years course will be the most challenging to date.

The course planners are negotiating access to terrain that no human has visited in living memory, let alone runners.

Next update will be available on 7th October.

Mountain Buzzards come home to Roost

Final NIMRA race for 2022

Report by Newcastle AC

Saturday 24th September was the final race of the 2022 NIMRA championship with the medium category Buzzards Roost, hosted by Mourne Runners. Starting and finishing at Carrick Little, the route is a fast start up the track alongside the wood to the Annalong Valley before snaking up and around the Cove cave to the lower Cove plain and the first checkpoint. Speeding up again briefly the next climb isn’t too far away to checkpoint 2 at the Cove-Lamagan col, then it’s a gradual push again to Lamagans summit at 702m. An extremely technical descent then follows off its boulder strewn south west face, hitting the col above the Blue Lough towards Binnian. Another tough climb to the North Tor is followed by a long run over the ridge to the last checkpoint at Binnians summit (747m) which is then followed by the tricky descent down along the Mourne Wall to the finish.

The weather worked out well on the day for the race, a stiff enough breeze only confined to the summit tops. Whilst numbers were slightly lower on the day due to a few more races held on the same date, this did not lessen the quality of the field, which was a multitude of the best fell runners in the country at present. This manifested into some great battles across the 7.5 miles. Taking on plenty at the higher end was Pete Grant, who has had a superb season. He found himself neck and neck as he did in the Seven Sevens race with Conor Duffy and Declan McGrellis. Coming 18th overall in 1:29:16 Pete took the MV50 category win, and has no doubt claimed the MV50 overall title to sit beside his Hill & Dale one he acquired earlier in the season! Continue reading

Podiums a plenty at the Mourne Mountain Marathon

Now into its 43rd year The Mourne Mountain Marathon could be described as the yearly ‘main event’ for any outdoor pursuits activities based within our famous local range. Bringing together ordinary hill walkers and new hikers with experienced fell runners, ultra finishers and seasoned orienteers, there is something available for everyone at this brilliantly organised event. There are 4 category classes ranging from Elite, B, C & D courses, Elite usually takes in 55km over the 2 days, while D class would be around 35km with significantly less climbing or going off the beaten track! Also available is a 1 day option which is the Score class, the aim of which is to visit as many checkpoints in 6 hours as possible, highest score wins.

The goal of the weekend is to follow an unknown course which is only revealed to paired up competitors in grid ref figures when they cross the start line. Once plotted onto the map, they must visit each checkpoint in the order listed in as quick time as possible, a single one missed results in disqualification. You also have the luxury of having to be completely self-sufficient for the weekend, carrying all equipment and food to survive the approx. 36 hours on the hills, with a designated campsite available on the Saturday evening. Continue reading

Young Harry shatters Portrush Parkrun U10 course record

With the cross country season kicking off imminently, the young McVeighs are hard at work testing the legs on all terrains to try to give themselves an extra edge this season.

With Maisie at the North Coast for her final session with the NI Flavahans Endurance Squad over the Portstewart sanddunes, the boys took the opportunity to test their legs on the first beach Parkrun worldwide which is run entirely on sand.
Nine year old Harry, set off as if he had been running on sand his whole life. Emerging from behind men and women at least twice his size, to gracefully glide across the sand at a phenomenal speed, followed by Daddy Connaire who was heard in coach mode, encouraging the youngster on.

Crossing the line, smashing the long standing Junior Under 10 course record by over a minute in 20.20.
There was whispers heard across the finish line of the North Coast destination of who was this little boy. They knew they had witnessed something special from a young athlete destined to achieve great things. This year he will get the opportunity to line up with his brother at the Flavahans School Cross Country League where he will finally get to make his mark on the big stage and for the club he’s off to Armagh next week.

Older brother, Connaire Og knew he was on holiday and took the opportunity to part take in a bit of a dualathlon by literally testing the water on route several times. Even with his easy pace and embracing a more scenic and wet route he crossed the line in a very respectable 25.21.

One reporter and coach has a feeling that this year she will be writing a lot about the great achievements of these young boys across all competitions and will also enjoy the positive energy, dedication and smiles that both boys bring to training each week. Their enthusiasm is infectious and rubs off on those around them.

They even found time to build sandcastles after their achievements this weekend whilst little sister Tilly showed her ability to move just as fast as her big brothers and make a clean break for the water.

Report by Siobhan Grant

Mill Hill Mile Race 2022

This years Mill Hill Mile took place in Castlewellan on Tuesday 6th September. Fifty Seven runners started the race in cool conditions. The race was won by Robbie Hagen, taking part for the first time, in 5.31, he was pushed all the way by Tom Crudgington in 5.34, who won the Laws Junior Boys Shield. Joanne Mills back to good running form winning the race for the 6th time in 6.51, last years winner Eve Welsh improved her time from last year by four seconds, in a time of 6.59 to win the Laws Junior Girls Shield. First Male over 40 Paul Rooney won the Veterans Shield.

Newcastle AC’s nominated charity this year was the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team, the free to enter race collected £388.29 of donations on the night with a further £612 donated by Newcastle AC making a total of £1000.29

Mill Hill Mile Results 2022

Photos by Paul Fegan

Mountain Rescue Paul McCartan, Robbie Hagen, Tom, Joan, Paul Ronney, Deon (Newcastle Chairman) and Paddy McCartan MMR

Eve Welsh 1st Junior Girl