An update on the 2019 Christmas Cracker by Bogusboy
The Castlewellan Christmas Cracker has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the NI running Calendar. This year, within one week of going live, over 400 of the 750 team entries have already been snapped up. Before long, the event will sell out and disappointment will reign supreme as many will miss the opportunity to take part in the most colourful spectacle of the festive period. Our advice is simple, book now to avoid disappointment. Please note that teams can be amended closer to race day if circumstances change for a registered team.
Why has this event become so popular, one might reasonably ask? I can recall travelling to Comber in the past (and finishing second with my erstwhile running partner Damien Brannigan) when there were very few teams taking part, despite the unique paired format of the race. However, since the event was re-invented and rebranded with a Newcastle AC twist, it has quickly established a cult status. There is certainly something for everyone. It is a fair test for the elite athletes, an opportunity for inter-club and intra-club bonding, an excuse to get some dubious fancy dress out and overall a great day of craic that ends with a bit of festive socialising.
Part of the charm is the unique opportunities afforded by Castlewellan to host an event that can be totally different every year and provide a few surprises. The Forest Park has the potential for a myriad of routes and retains the perennial element of surprise. This year’s course has already been decided and according to my sources will include ‘a few hills’. The Prophet has been spotted clambering over ditches, talking to local farmers over 5 bar gates, cutting back brambles and strimming lanes for a number of months. I have bought him coffee and scones in a stealth move to ascertain information that I can share with two types of people – those who ask and those who don’t! Alas, my best efforts have been in vain and he is being extremely guarded and tight lipped and just chuckles dismissively when I make suggestions as to where we might be going. ‘Sure, you’ll enjoy it more on the day’ is the now industry standard reply to my persistent pursuit for information.
If previous years are any barometer, we will find ourselves in places that we never though feasible and we will enjoy every minutes of it. There will be a great atmosphere as the market town is festooned with colour and costumes of all varieties. We look forward to seeing everyone for what promises to be a great race – as long as you have an entry!!!
Online Registration and Full Race Details
First Female Team 2018: Gerrie Short (Beechmount Harriers) and Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers). Photo by Paul Fegan.
First Mixed Team 2018: Jessica Craig (North Down AC) and Wesley McDowell (Dromore AC). Photo by Laurence McAlinden.
First Male Team 2018: Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) and Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC). Photo by Laurence McAlinden.
Entries for the 2019 Christmas Cracker will open this Monday 7th October at 7pm! Click the button below to view more information. #SpreadTheWord
Full Race Detials
A preview of the 35th Castlewellan Christmas Cracker by Bogusboy
It sold out almost as quickly as Westlife and there have been calls for additional dates! After long negotiations with key delivery partners, some additional places were made available by the race committee, making this the largest field in the events long established history. Consequently, record number of teams will take to the start for the 35th Castlewellan Christmas Cracker pairs’ race on Saturday 29th December at 1pm. The market town will be awash with colour as almost 1500 competitors, many of whom will ‘dress for the occasion’, take to the streets. The race has grown exponentially since it was taken over by Newcastle AC and relocated from Comber to Castlewellan in the early ‘noughties’ and remains one of the most unique and popular races in the annual ANI calendar. Building on the success of previous years, there are more mixed teams and more all-female teams. I recall clearly the 2004 race when there were 54 teams finishing. This stands as irrefutable evidence of the amazing popularity of running at present and the desire among athletes of all abilities to get out there and compete. For some it will be to win a category (some individuals carefully select a partner to maximise their chances in an age category – all perfectly legal!) or record a fast time, while for others it will be the joy of finishing and the sense of accomplishment that comes from simply being able to say, ‘I did it’ and proudly wear the bespoke finisher medal.
What’s it going to be like?
The race itself is a multi-terrain event over approximately 8 miles (the distance depends on the benevolence of the course setter!) and is suitable for runners of all abilities and levels of experience. The course changes from year to year and this edition has been described as ‘plenty of opportunities for good running, a series of short and sharp climbs and a great advert for the stunning scenery of Castlewellan Forest Park’! With the Prophet involved, you can expect something a wee bit different. The Prophet was rumoured to be clearing forests, hanging gates and ‘making a straight path for the runners’ – surely he is taking the time of Preparation that is Advent just a little too seriously. Part of the tradition is that the Race Directors hold something back as a little surprise on the day. There have no ‘dry runs’ this year, but the men charge have reliably informed me that there will be an unexpected twist – or two! Continue reading
34th Christmas Cracker Report
Thank you to everyone who took part. If you spot any errors, please email us at email@example.com
Christmas Cracker 2017 Results
A preview of the 34th Christmas Cracker race by Lotsamud
It sold out almost as quickly as Ed Sheeran! Additional places were added in a ‘Black Friday Sale’ on 8 December and they went within hours of release. At present there are 700 teams registered for this ever popular highlight of the Christmas holiday sporting calendar. Once again a record number of teams will take to the start for the 34th Christmas Cracker pairs’ race on Saturday 30 December. The market town will be awash with colour as 1400 competitors, many of whom will ‘dress for the occasion’, take to the streets. The race has grown exponentially since it was taken over by Newcastle AC and relocated to Castlewellan in the early ‘noughties’. It remains one of the most unique and popular races in the annual ANI calendar. Building on the success of previous years, there are more mixed teams and more all-female teams than ever. One recalls clearly the 2004 race when 54 teams finished. This stands as irrefutable evidence of the amazing popularity of running at present and the desire among athletes of all abilities to get out there and compete. For some it will be to win a category or record a fast time, while for others it will be the joy of finishing and the sense of accomplishment that comes from simply being able to say, ‘I did it.’ With bespoke medals proffered to all finishing teams this year, there is an extra incentive those on the hunt for a piece of unusual bling. Continue reading