Junior Race 1 Photos by Graham McCauley
Report By The Non-Runner
It was a beautiful, sunny spring evening in Castlewellan Forest Park and the stage was set for the first night of Newcastle AC’s Hill and Dale junior Hill and Dale series.
We interrupt your usual programme to present an appeal. Parents-spare a thought for the registration team, i.e. Debbie and me. There we were, from 5.30pm, not a sinner in sight. We were still registering runners at 6.40pm and the race was starting at 6.45pm. You can do the maths.
Normal service is resumed.
As a couple of hundred silly adults were making their preparations for the Wells Classic, we had almost 60 hardy junior runners about to brave the first race of our very popular Junior Hill and Dale. Debbie Kendall had made the fatal error of volunteering to help with the race. She has now been officially appointed as Registration Team Operative Extraordinaire! Well done Debbie, you really did a great job, soooo….ok for Tollymore next week then? As we set up our registration area in Life Adventure in Castlewellan Forest Park, a cornuptious fit was imminent when I couldn’t find the race numbers. I phoned Martina, who had unenviably done all of the admin preparation for the race and wasn’t even going to be there to witness the fruits of her labour. “Martina, I can’t find the numbers”, “Err, Lisa, they’re in the box??” Such is the high standard of work I do for NAC…..
So on to the races, first off were the 38 primary school runners, P5, P6 and P7. The races were started by PJ McCrickard and the runners were guided around the course by Brian Steele on his trusty steed. His bike. (Game of Thrones is filmed in Tollymore folks, not Castlewellan.) Brian had taken time out on the previous evening to mark out the course, thanks Brian! Thanks also to all of the marshalls for their help in the races. Only one runner remained unaccounted for, he had spotted his Mum just before the finish line and decided he had had enough of that malarkey. Can’t say I blame him. I found him and told him we couldn’t finish without him and so he was escorted across the line to have his valiant finish recorded by Frank Morgan and Niall Carson.
Then we had the 21 post-primary, the big-schoolers, some showing real promise as great mountain runners of the future, you saw them here first! Well done to all of our runners, these courses are an introduction to mountain running and everyone should be very proud of doing the race, we are very proud of you all. The prize-giving was held after the aforementioned silly adults had charged up the hill to begin their 5 mile-ish run. A word about those silly adults…its very inspirational for the junior runners to see their coaches doing so well in the races. Well done to all of the NAC junior coaches who ran, indeed we had 2 out of the top 3, not too shabby, eh?!
Eamon McCrickard gathered the families around and presented the podium place finishers with their medals, ably assisted by Conrad Rice. Everyone got a round of applause and some were even lucky enough to also win a spot prize of a voucher for The Toscano. Lucky ducks.
Thanks to all involved, to the staff of Castlewellan Forest Park, to Marty McMullan of Life Adventure for the use of his premises and to all of the staff. Thanks to the Toscano for their generous sponsorship of the Junior Hill and Dale races. Thanks to all the runners and their families for coming along and making it the great event that it was. And finally…thank goodness for Darragh “Brains” McCrickard, (as far as I’m concerned, spreadsheets are the work of the dark side) who was very busy with the entries and results, working away on a laptop kindly loaned by Aidan McCauley for the night. It was a family affair, as Aidan’s Dad Graham took the photographs! As you can see it takes lots of input from lots of people to make it a successful event, and we are always on the lookout for more volunteers! Don’t be shy….
See you next week in Tollymore!