Bronze is the Colour of the Day at NI & Ulster Track Championships

Totten & O’Flaherty take bronze at NI & Ulster Track Champs

It’s certainly been an unusual year, exemplified this weekend with the NI & Ulster Track & Field Championships which would normally take place in June, rescheduled for mid-September due to well, no real need to spell out why.


Women’s 5000m

Two Newcastle & District AC athletes made the trip to the Mary Peters Track to compete in respectively the Woman’s & Men’s 5000m. First up was Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty, celebrating, if that’s the right word, one year since foot surgery to insert a screw to facilitate the recovery from a serious 5th metatarsal break caused by an unfortunate racing incident in a steeplechase in the south of Spain. Continue reading

Newcastle & District AC at the Races

Race Report by BOGBOY

The racecourse looked immaculate on Saturday morning as the runners arrived at Down Royal the morning after ‘the races’ (for horses), the evening before, for more ‘races’ (for humans) as part of the ChampionChip Ireland well-organised return to the tarmac, this time over 5k, 10miles and 10k. It had been two weeks since the last races and many Newcastle & District AC athletes were back in search of personals bests and, well, just a race.

Just like on the 22nd of August, it was clear that autumn was upon us with 11C to greet the runners and again blustery conditions – the wind is not the runner’s friend. However, again it was brilliant to see so many personal bests achieved and in one particular case, a landmark time, again testimony to consistent training over many months or indeed years.

First up was the 5km at 10am and two weeks ago, David McNeilly ran a PB of 16:09 and he came back to try and break the 16-minute barrier. He ran a well-paced race and another personal best, 16:06, any PB day is a good PB day, consolidating his improvement and he’ll be back for another go in due course.

Like a fortnight earlier, next clubman home was Niall Goodman who back then had been disappointed with his 16:53 just 3 seconds outside his PB. However, he put that all to right this time taking 9 seconds off his best recording 16:41 – a good step forward. Continue reading

Bronagh completes the Killarney Hardman

Last weekend Bronagh McInerney travelled to Co Kerry to take part in the Killarney Hardman.

The event consisted of a 3.8km swim, followed by 180km cycle round the Ring of Kerry and finished off with a 42.2km run. For most people just one of these stages would be more than enough!

Bronagh had trained consistently in the lead up to the event to ensure she had the mileage and endurance needed for such a challenging event.

The swim started at dawn and Bronagh swam well, however missed one of the bhoys due to poor viability and swam a wee bit further than she needed too. For most this would be hard to take, but thankfully this did not phase Bronagh one bit. The swim was completed in 1 hour 55 minutes. Continue reading

Bailey breaks the World Everesting Running Record

On Sunday 23rd August, Ian Bailey set out to run an ‘Everest’ on Slieve Donard, 37 times from saddle to summit and back for a total ascent of around 9,250m (8,848m the height of Everest from sea level plus a few metres for luck). Everesting can take place on any hill anywhere in the world as long as you stick to the official rules and is completed in a continuous effort. Before Bailey started out, the Irish record was 23 hours 52 minutes, the British record was 16 hours 44 minutes, European record was 12 hours 31 minutes and World record was 11 hours 19 minutes.

Bailey commented that it was “without a doubt the toughest thing I’ve ever experienced. The hardest bit by far though was getting down off the mountain afterwards. Body went into total shock. Huge, huge thanks to everyone who came out to give support, especially the lads who ran with me. You made the difference. And to Anna Bailey and my boys for coming up and for fixing me afterwards but an incredible massive thanks to Caoimhe Connor, who helped me set up the whole challenge and stood on a soaking mountain for a whole day taking my abuse and dishing out my food. Above and beyond doesn’t begin to describe it!”

On Monday evening, it was confirmed that Bailey had broken the World Everesting running record. 8,848m of ascent and descent in 11 hours 17 minutes, beating the previous record by just two minutes. Congratulations from everyone at Newcastle & District AC.

Newcastle & District AC Weekend Racing Notes

Zak Hanna excels again – this weekend at the Italian Mountain Racing Championships

Three weeks after his brilliant racing weekend in Malonno, Lombardy in Northern Italy, with a 3rd in Piz Tri Vertical Kilometre (Saturday) and a 5th in the Fletta Trail (Sunday), Newcastle & District AC’s (and Dromara’s finest) Zak Hanna made the trip back again to Northern Italy. This time it was for the 32nd Version of the Challenge Stellina in Susa, northwest of Torino (Turin). Along with Sylvain Cachard (France) and Miran Cvet (Slovenia), they were the only non-Italians in the race in this the strangest of years. The race was also the ‘Campionato Italiano Senior di Corsa in Montagna’ or the Italian Mountain Racing Championships.

The font of all knowledge of mountain racing Italian style is ‘’ and their race preview suggested that Cesare Maestri (2nd in the World Mountain Racing Champs) and Francesco Puppi (2nd in the World Long Distance Mountain Racing Champs) would be the ones to beat. Also mentioned were Henri Aymonod (the Italian with a French name), winner of the Piz Tri Vertikal three weeks ago, Alex Baldaccini, winner of the Stellina in 2015 and 2017, the Dematteis twins, Martin and Bernard, former European Champions and Cachard and Hanna.

A two-hour flight on Friday morning, having battled from 3am in the autumnal storm to Dublin, and Hanna landed in Milano Bergamo where the first thing he noticed was that it was sunny and warm. Trains from Milano to Torino and then up the Susa Valley and around 6 hours later he was installed in Susa where it was 29C. With a weekend of unbroken sunshine ahead of him, he reflected on how lucky he was to have a love of the mountains and be able, especially in the middle of this difficult year, to be able to compete like this.

The race itself promised 22C in the shade at start time Sunday – 9:15am. Continue reading

Fast road racing at the new ‘Balmoral’ with plenty of PBs

Race Report by Bogboy
(Photos courtesy of John Glover)

After many months of lock down it’s brilliant to see racing back again. After a first series of road races around Down Royal racecourse a couple of weeks ago, this Saturday saw a second series of races at Eikon near Hillsborough.

It was a little windy and each 2.5km circuit incorporated 14 corners of at least 90degrees with two hairpins but it was flat and some of the times that were achieved were fantastic.

First up was the half-marathon incorporating 9 laps of the circuit and Newcastle & District AC’s Thomas O’Gorman ran a steady race to come home in 4th in a new personal best of 1:16:28 ( laps of 8:10, 8:26, 8:26, 8:33, 8:33, 8:31, 8:29, 8:35, 8:48 –  the final one including a 10 seconds or so finishing straight).

As casual as you like a new PB for Thomas O’Gorman over the half-marathon.

A mention too for Castlewellan’s Pearse Brogan who ran a great new PB of 1:35:03.

Next came the ‘B’ 5km and 10km races over 2 and 4 laps respectively. Young Newcastle junior – still an under-11 – Henry Houston ran a great new PB of 19:37 – congrats. Also in PB shape was 17-year-old Ruby McNiff running 19:51. Continue reading