Photos courtesy of Paul Fegan
Race Report by BOGBOY
Races have been hard to find since lockdown in March and despite how ‘lonely’ the mountains are and ideally placed for ‘social distancing’ mountain races locally have been few and far between. Last weekend the Mourne Mountain 2-Day took place with a key modification; each team of two had to bring two tents rather than the normal one.
It was a successful weekend with the weather to match and despite it turning colder, much colder for September, blue skies and wonderful sunshine greeted the runners in the 76th Annual Slieve Donard Race in Newcastle on Saturday.
In 1945, the locals came up with the idea of seeing who could be the fastest from sea level to the top of Donard and back. This tradition has been unbroken for 75 years and is currently under the guardianship of Newcastle & District AC. The recent calendar date has been May but that date passed with no race and also the older traditional date of July too. However, the club’s committee was intent of one way or another in getting this year’s race completed. Continue reading
We are living in unprecedented times.
As you will all know, all racing is currently cancelled – see notices on NIMRA (https://www.nimra.org.uk) and IMRA (https://www.imra.ie/news/view/id/619/) websites.
Further advice is also available on the Athletics NI website (https://athleticsni.org/News/Athletics-NI-News/COVID~19-Statement).
Sadly, we have had to take the decision to postpone the Hill & Dale Series and the Slieve Donard Race. All current registrations will be saved and we would still hope to reschedule some or all of the races once the situation allows.
In particular, the Donard Race has taken place every year since 1946 and we will do all we can to see a 2020 version before the end 2020!
Best wishes to everyone from Newcastle & District Athletic Club – stay healthy, respect the distance, continue to be vigilant with hand washing, cough and sneeze into your elbow (or better still an old-fashioned handkerchief) & help save a life…
Slieve Donard Results 2018
Photos by Paul Fegan
Lynch claims victory on Donard
O’Kane makes it 5
Race Report by Hill Runner
Saturday May 12 saw the annual classic Slieve Donard mountain race take place in Newcastle. Run every year since 1945, this year saw a few changes. Starting in Newcastle’s main St, the first checkpoint was at the saddle, the most direct route being via the Glen River path, turning left to follow the Mourne wall to the summit, some 852 metres above Newcastle making it Northern Ireland’s highest peak. From here runners descended down the other side towards checkpoint 3 at the quarry, where a good line will see you picking up the path that leads to it. Free route choice from here to checkpoint 4 at the first bridge saw people going off in various directions, all trying to see if they were quicker. Weather wise the sun stayed out from start to finish unlike last year, where torrential hail stones battered people half an hour from the start. A cool breeze helped keep temperatures under control on the long climb to the summit. Continue reading
The 73rd Annual Slieve Donard Race by Walnut Soap
The Slieve Donard Race is an Annual Classic by any measure. Every year since 1945, locals and many from further afield have descended (no pun intended!) on Newcastle to race to the summit of Slieve Donard, the highest point in Northern Ireland (852 metres or 2,796 feet in old money above sea level) and then plummet back to sea level as quickly as possible. This year the race would also serve as the first race in the Irish Mountain Running Championship and selection for the Irish World/European Mountain running team. The entry of 258 runners was a new record smashing last year’s previous record entry of 208. Runners from as far away as Tasmania paid their £8 entry fee and with the sun out toed the start line on the Main Street – no turning back now. Continue reading
72nd Slieve Donard Race – Preview by Bogusboy
The annual Slieve Donard race, Race 6 of the Hill and Dale will start at 2:00pm on Saturday 20 May at the Newcastle Centre, with the leaders returning to the Newcastle around 2.55pm. Amazingly within one hour the leading athletes will have climbed the 852 metres to the summit and returned to the point from whence they came. The course follows along the main street with a marked route to the summit and the same back to Newcastle Centre – a temporary departure from the traditional ‘free choice’. A few will display the cuts and bruises to show that they have raced to the highest point in Northern Ireland and back. Never was this truer than in 2012 when the ‘Prophet’ returned with a hole in his hand. Not to be worried by such a mere bagatelle he ran his hand under the tap and shored up the gaping wound with a bit of electrical tape – emergency first aid at its very best! The next day when he peeled back the inch of flapping skin he found a compass, a whistle and a pound coin! The pound coin was deposited in the piggy bank where, five years later, it still remains a prisoner! Continue reading