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This week saw Newry AC athletes covering the disciplines of road and trail racing as well as orienteering and mountain running. Athletes travelled to Belfast, Castlewellan, the Mourne Mountains, Dundalk and the Wicklow Mountains.

QUEENS RUN AROUND THE RIVER 3K AND 5K, BELFAST

On a wet and windy evening, 3 Newry AC athletes competed in the highly anticipated annual Queens Race round the River. This is a very large event of which athletes from all parts of the country and all levels take part, hoping for a race PB. First race of the night was the 3k event of which the Newry athletes competed against a field of 132 runners.. Gary Crummy had a fast and impressive run on a course with uneven surfaces and tight corners to negotiate on the bridges. He took the lead and in his usual calm manner held back a young St. Malachy’s runner to take 1st over the finish line in 9:21. Lee Maginnis took a credible 14th in 10:35 and lifted the 1st veteran placing. Sarah Jane Beattie had a good race and completed the race in 67th place, 3rd in the female open category and a great time of 12:07. Sarah Jane was also pleased as she recorded a course PB.

A happy Newry AC mountain squad in the Mournes at the weekend.
A happy Newry AC mountain squad in the Mournes at the weekend.

ST MALACHY’S 5K TRAIL RACE, CASTLEWELLAN

On Thursday evening, Meadow and Joanne McCauley took part in supporting the inaugural St. Malachy’s High School 5k race held in Castlewellan Forest Park. The race was very well supported and was in aid of the St. Malachy's Trocaire Lenten Campaign and also incorporated the NIMRA Junior 2019 selection trials.

Weather conditions were poor with hailstones, heavy rain and cold temperatures greeting the runners. It was a well designed race of which the 5k took in the paths/trails around the lake starting at the main car park and working its way up around the lake, up the side of Slievenaslat and down to the lake shoreline to the thankful sight of the finish line in the main carpark. Ground conditions in sections were very wet and muddy by Slievenalat, just perfect for a proper trail trace and allowing the mix of technical terrain with easier trail to challenge the competitors. The feast of food in the main school afterwards was well received by the cold, wet and hungry runners.

Meadow had a good race against tough competition from the the other NIMRA juniors and Joanne after a year of not competing in trails finally got her track legs muddy and enjoyed the challenge of the hills and poor weather. Due to technical reasons the results were not available at time of going to press.

PATSY KELLY 5K, DUNDALK

On a glorious Saturday evening the weather offered great race conditions to 3 Newry athletes as they took part in the annual Patsy Kelly 5k event in Dundalk. The event attracted a large crowd of athletes from all corners of Ireland and there was a massive field of 770 runners. Such a large field of runners meant big competition so the Newry AC athletes had their work cut out.

Gary Crummy hot off his 3k win at Queens on Wednesday evening started the race with the aim on keeping in with the top pack. Gary did just that and followed in with a 5th position, 16:04 PB, and just 20 seconds off the heels of Gerard Heaney.

Jonny Gregg had a good race and came over the line with 24th position, in a time of 18:08 and lifting 1st MV50 category placing. Lee Maginnis followed his club mate in with 28th position, in a time of 18:17 and finishing with a 10th MV40 category placing.

ORIENTEERING MOURNES AND WICKLOW

Meadow McCauley travelled to Meelmore Lodge on Saturday afternoon for a Colour Series Orienteering Competition held by Lagan Valley Orienteers. The weather conditions were cold but sunny with good visibility. The green course took the competitors from the sheep pen at the Trassey Track over by Lukes Mountain and back around to Meelmore before completing at the stile by the top of the lane leading to Meelmore Lodge. The ground conditions after the week’s rain was exceptionally heavy and boggy in many areas with a few river crossings thrown in. Meadow competed in the Green event of which she lead with strong, fast running in conjunction with good technical navigation. This enabled Meadow to take 1st overall placing in her colour event against strong male/female competition of varying age categories.

On Sunday, Meadow travelled to Stranehely in the Wicklow Mountains to take part in the Leinster Orienteering Championships. Weather conditions were perfect so visibility was good. Terrain to contend with on this course was open mountain bog, boulder fields, heavily forested areas, river crossings as well as steep climb ascents. This was also an Irish squad selection event, putting Meadow under extra pressure to maximise her performance. Meadow did not disappoint and confidently took 1st place in the W16 category with another strong run combined with good technical and navigational choice.

MOUNTAIN TRAINING, MOURNES

The mountain squad took advantage of the good weather and took to the Mournes both on Saturday and Sunday. The specific course for recce was the NIMRA Annalong Horseshoe of which the route from Chimney Rock to Binnian will take much consideration depending on weather and ground conditions on the day. After, the dramas of the Donard Commedagh race the previous week, the squad are ensuring they train not only on their fitness for the ascents and the techniques of the downhill but also for dealing with the navigational challenges that the onset of a white out can bring to a runner.

HILL & DALES SERIES 2019

This Thursday 11th April is the long awaited season opener for the Hill and Dales Series. This will be in Castlewellan Forest Park and a large squad of Newry AC have enrolled. Newry AC have many new faces in this series squad and many age categories being represented. Castlewellan always calls in the largest race number of the series so the Newry AC competitors must ensure they place themselves well at the start line to ensure that they do not get boxed in and pushed down the leaderboard. Good luck to all the squad taking part.

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