Born 2 Run – Run Forest Run, Castlewellan

Report by Roadrunner

Five Newcastle athletes entered the Born 2 Run, Castlewellan Forest Park 10k on Saturday. A tough and demanding course took the field around the lake and through some of the higher trails of the park before a flat finish at the front of the lake.

The first home was Bryansford man Sean Russell fresh from his very impressive recent night series 10k win in Tollymore Forest. Sean was 5th overall in a time of 38.14. The Castlewellan veteran Connaire McVeigh was second Newcastle home and right on Sean’s tail in 6th place overall in a time of 38.23.

Brian McVeigh built on his January Tollymore Born 2 Run 10k to finish in 8th place overall in a time of 39.23. Brian commented that the recent hard work on the ‘flat hills’ of Donard Forest has helped him close the gap on his older brother who is now getting very worried.

Kilcoo’s Gary McEvoy who was also an impressive podium finisher in the recent in the Tollymore Forest night race was next to finish in 13th place in an impressive time of 40.25.

Benoit Le Houerou had a baptism of fire in his first ever 10k race to complete the Newcastle field. Benoit finished in 15th place in an impressive time of 41.08 When asked how did he find it Benoit said “there was definitely no hiding out there today”.

A thanks must go to Newcastle members James ‘the egg man’ King and Noel ‘wonderwall’ Gallagher for their support around the course. The lads were spotted above Crow Road hanging over a gate admiring the town-land of Burrenbridge and talking about by gone days.

A final thanks must go to Born 2 Run and the Forestry Service (Frankie and Gerard) for a great event.

Trim 10 Mile Road Race

Sunday 3 February 2019

For those preparing for a Spring Marathon, the Trim 10 Mile Road Race is the first opportunity to see how January training has gone and the progress made towards achieving whatever your goal might be. This has been a popular event among the NAC faithful in the past and the bus full of maybes was reasonably full last year. This year, the event proved more popular than ever and sold out in early January. Only three NAC runners managed to beat the sell out date, so instead of a bus full of maybes, there was a car full of definites!

The 1339 finishers were led home by Colin Griffin in 53 minutes dead, a modest enough winning time for such a big race and a time that is within the compass of some of the NAC elite men. JP Gartland, looking to replicate his 2:40 marathon performance in Barcelona two years ago ran a very controlled and steady race to finish in 60:36. As planned he ran a more conservative first half, 30:58, before upping the pace in the second half – 29:38 – to finish very strongly, gaining several places in the last two miles. This proved a very useful exercise for the Banbridge man in assessing his potential for Belfast in 13 weeks time.

Nicola Mathers and Joe McCann were using the race to assess their progress after a hard block of training throughout January. Aiming to improve on Mathers’ 80 minute run from last year, the pair set out with a very clear objective, run hard but steady for the first 5 before trying to push on in the second half. Like Gartland, they managed an impressive negative split, 38:02 for the first half and 36:15 for the second half to ensure that Mathers improved on her time from last year by 6 minutes; evidence of the benefits that naturally accrue from following a well defined and highly structured training schedule. The time (74:17) was good enough for a finish in the top 25% of the field.

The next trip to Co. Meath for many of the NAC runners will be the annual pilgrimage to Bohermeen on Sunday 10 March, a race that is a traditional component of the marathon training programme of many runners preparing for London, Belfast, Paris or Manchester to name but a few.

Ormeau Runners 5 Mile Trail Race 2019

Ormeau Runners are delighted to invite you all to attend and participate in its inaugural 5 Mile Trail Race on Saturday 16 March 2019.

Starting at 12noon, the race will take in the trails of the Lagan Meadows before crossing the River Lagan and continuing on the Belvoir Forest trail paths, before heading back to the finish line, with post race refreshments hosted in Belfast Boat Club.

Registration is online via or, with entry fee set at £10 affiliated and £12 non-affiliated.

All event information is contained in the flyer below.

Hills & Mud – a 3rd time success for Newcastle & District AC at the Ulster & NI Intermediate Cross-Country Championships

In 1987, 6 years after the club was formed, Newcastle & District Athletic Club won its first ever NI Intermediate Cross-Country (XC) title (then the NI ‘Junior’) over 6 miles in Castle Park in Bangor. That year, Newcastle were surprise winners over favourites Willowfield Harriers with the scoring team being Robbie Bryson (2nd place overall behind Mark Kirk of Annadale Striders), Paul Rodgers, Richard Rodgers, Dermot McGonigle, Pat McCavana and Tim Janaway.

It was then 27 years before the club produced another championship winning team, this time in Lurgan Park in a tight team race with Finn Valley and Foyle Valley, with first home being Eoghan Totten in 3rd place plus David O’Flaherty (9th), Seamy Lynch (10th), David Steele (22nd), Ian Bailey (24th) and David McNeilly (25th).

This year the Ulster & NI Intermediate XC Championships took place in Barnett’s Park. It was a short lap, billed as 1500m, with 5 laps to give a race total of 7500m (down from the original target of 8000m). It turned out that each lap was only 1100m giving a race distance of 5500m (3.4miles). What it lacked in distance it made up for in conditions – with heavy rain just preceding the race, and three races over the same terrain before it, the ground was muddy and muddy – plus the course was full of tight turns, twisting around like a snake and undulating – hardly a flat stretch at all – it was hard to believe that this same venue hosted the World Cross-Country Championships on the last weekend in March in 1999 (on a much longer and firmer course).
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