Plenty of scones at the ‘Gridle’
a round-up of the weekend’s racing by Bogusboy
Saul, an area not famed for its flat surfaces, was the venue for the latest event on the NI Road Running calendar. Joe Quinn had spent most of the morning watering the course to make sure that conditions underfoot were good/soft and the sun made an appearance just before the beginning of the ‘undulating’ race. Murlough’s Alan Johnston led the way early on and would finish an excellent third overall. Best for Newcastle AC was Aidan Brown who stood proudly on the second step of the podium. John Kelly finished 7th and has continued his good form from Dublin and is running strongly. Newcastle emerged as top team on the day with McCann and Ward making up the third and fourth scoring places. Rice and Cairns were very close behind as all 6 NAC athletes finished in the top 30.
As predicted there was a fine spread of treats on offer in the parish hall after the race. Saul is certainly an area famed for its hospitality and ability to cater for the hungry racer! Kelly ate at least his own body weight in currant loaf (fruit is good for you he stated!) and scones and was considering asking for a few pieces of fruit cake to put in his lunch box for his 10 o’clock tay on Monday. He decided not when it was suggested that the organisers might look for a second tenner to help defray the catering costs. As be rubbed his protruding belly on the way back to the car he declared the race good value for money and that he was, somewhat ironically, as full as a ‘Butcher’s Dog’. Well done to East Down and Saul GAC for putting on a great spread and a great race.
Large numbers turned out for the inaugural 26extreme Tollymore Trail Events on Saturday 15th November. With a 39 mile ultra, a marathon, a half and a 10k on offer there was certainly something for everyone. Newcastle AC had three representatives in the various races. Declan McElroy finished a very credible 21st in the Ultra, recording a time of 6:51:14. Paul Fegan ran his second marathon in as many weeks – and threw in a half in the interim for good measure. He came home in 66th place in 5:03:23 Sam McNeilly had a storming run over the hilly 10k course to finish first lady by more than a minute and 8th overall in a very good time of 48:32. Sam believes that it is no coincidence that her running renaissance has dove-tailed with all the expert advice and wisdom proffered by the many coaches and experts turning up to the sessions on a Tuesday night!
With no cross country this weekend many of the regular races took the opportunity to have a well-earned rest as they turn their attention to the forthcoming event on Saturday 6, the Malcolm Cup in Ballyclare. Currently top of the league, the pressure is on to stay there and remain pace–setters at the turn of the year.
Similarly the juniors had a weekend off when regrettably, but sensible, the Kilbroney event planned for Sunday was postponed. The sustained and torrential rains had caused significant damage to the park and conditions were far from safe. The event will be re-scheduled at a later date.
Entries for the Castlewellan Christmas Cracker are increasing daily. The event is on December 27th and will be around 8 miles in length. Online registration is open via the Newcastle AC website (www.newcastleac.org) and all competitors must register in advance. Registration is free and monies will be collected on the day. Limited registration on the day may be available, but athletes are asked to get a partner and get registered to avoid disappointment.