Hill & Dales 2024 Race 1 – Castlewellan Race Report, Results & Photos

Report By Rory Morrow

A record 354 runners braved the elements as the 2024 Hill and Dales (H and D) commenced in Castlewellan last Thursday night.

Record Attendance

The attendance is the highest of any H and D race to date. The annual series of Mournes running, which started 40 years ago, used to only attract 30-40 intrepid participants. How times have changed as this year, Castlewellan witnessed the epic sight of over 350 hardy runners heading for the Sliabh na Snat summit.

Record Breaking Start

Record Breaking Start

The Podiums

Comprising the men’s top three were Newcastle AC duo, Tom Crudgington and Ashley Crutchley followed by Andrew Tees of BARF.

Finishing in first, Crudgington’s barnstorming 34:13 finish time set a speedy standard. Crutchley impressive came in at 35:46 before Tees crossed the line in 36:00. Having won the Dundalk half marathon only five days previously, Tees continued his excellent week.

Annadale Striders’ Catriona Edington was the first woman home in thirty-fourth place. Martsje Hell, of North Belfast Harriers and Sarah Grant, of North Down AC were second and third, both finishing in the top sixty.

Catriona Edington First Woman Home

Catriona Edington First Woman Home

Edington completed Castlewellan in a quick 42:06 with Hell also going sub-43 with a nifty 42:51. Grant’s fine 43:43 meant that the top three ladies were split by only 97 seconds.

Slippy Conditions

We wish a speedy recovery to Newry AC’s, Maurice Harte who came in in twenty-first. He commendably completed the final stages after a nasty fall 100 metres from the line.


Whilst we were fortunate for the rain to ease off during the run itself, the downpour made its presence felt throughout the course. Coming off the main Sliabh na Snat summit, Hill-and-Dale runners were greeted with a series of slippery steps.

Approaching at speed, having finally battled uphill, the shouts of photographer, Richard Cowan, urging caution was invaluable. His vocal warning allowed several onrushing athletes to, temporarily, apply the brakes and safely scamper down the precarious steps. All whilst getting their picture snapped by Richard as well!

David Hicks on the perilous Siabh na Snat steps

David Hicks on the perilous Siabh na Snat steps

Hill and Dale veterans will, of course, be used to the paparazzi by now as various cameras try to capture everyone’s best side (even if that side is mud-soaked after an earlier tumble!)

Jack Proctor was another photographer down at Foxes Green where any potential fatigue faded immediately at the prospect of being caught on camera!

The presence of Paul Fegan, returned to camera action after major surgery, was a big boost with Paul capturing the record-breaking start and the final surges from weary legs on the tarmac path beneath the castle.

Thanks to Richard, Jack and Paul for their usual excellence with the camera. Their full photo galleries from Castlewellan can be viewed on the Newcastle AC website.


Some athletes train all winter with the sole objective of peaking for the Hill and Dale race series, others take a more sedentary approach.

Connell Nugent was in Maginns pub after the race and reflecting that perhaps his winter leggings had made him too warm to achieve his rightful place.

Watch out next week for the five-inch red shorts and a good haircut which hopefully will prevent overheating and elevate him up the leaderboard.

Thanks To

Race directors, Eamon McCrickard and Martin McMullan for organising the event which requires plenty of planning, hard work and logistical skills.

As well, thanks must go to all the marshals dotted around the course. Bar-scanners and registration helpers, as everyone grabbed their series number, did an excellent job too with the results so speedily uploaded it beat most runners’ Strava!

Maginns bar also receives our gratitude for providing the hospitality setting afterwards along with the plethora of tasty bites which were gobbled up gleefully by all in attendance!

By this stage, we’d all joined Connell in warming up, any five-inch shorts hidden from sight! Well, until next week, anyway.


One down, nine to go! Well, five for the tactically astute among us who are only after the ever-elusive H and D spot-prize that accompanies the completion of six races.

This week’s race kicks off in Tollymore Forest Park at 7:30pm on Thursday evening. Runners are reminded to bring their mandatory kit and full body cover in case inclement weather conditions require it. For every race, entries close at 9pm each Tuesday night.

Final Thoughts

In case you need any last incentive to encourage you down to Tollymore, remember that you can’t get your hands on a much-coveted, scarcely available, Hill and Dale 2024 mug unless you’re there running! What more motivation could one possibly need!

Race Results:

Click here for results

Race Photos: 

Photos by Paul Fegan

Photos by Richard Cowan (If you want to use Richard’s photographs then feel free. The link below gives you a chance to say thanks by buying him a cup of tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/thekillinchyphotographer)

Photos by Jack Proctor