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Sarah Jane Beattie part in the Castlewellan Parkrun on Saturday morning which are held in the beautiful surroundings of Castlewellan Forest Park.  Sarah Jane crossed the line with first female position, 22nd overall out of a field of 208 park-runners and notched a new course personal best of 21:52.  Well done Sarah Jane.

Armagh ParkRun

Meadow and Joanne McCauley took part in the Armagh Parkrun on Saturday morning held within the grounds of Armagh Palace Demense.    Meadow crossed the line with first female and 5th overall placing out of a field of 104 park-runners and recorded a new course PB (for the 4thweek in a row) of 21:28.  Joanne, completed in 25:38  as 5th female and 33rd overall.

Ciara Coffey on the final ascent at the NIMRA Glenariff Mountain Race
Ciara Coffey on the final ascent at the NIMRA Glenariff Mountain Race

NIMRA Glenariff Mountain Race, Waterfoot, Co Antrim

On Saturday and with challenging weather (rain, hail, sleet, wind, sun) and tough underfoot ground conditions,  4 hearty Newry athletes travelled to Waterfoot, Co. Antrim for the annual championship NIMRA race, known in the mountain running circles as the ‘Potato Race’.  This race takes you from the school at Waterfoot, 2 miles flat cross country along the river bank to the base of a 1 mile 1,200 ft ascent before turning round for a return fast and technical descent.  The flat river return is welcome, but this is where the legs of most runners start to feel the toll of the hard work done on the ascent and descent and places are won and lost on this return section.  The turn onto the road for the final few hundred metres on hard tarmac is torture at this stage and the target for most of the runners is just to get over that finish line!

Rory Mulvaney, who is on form with his mountain running this season,  was first home for Newry AC in 13th place in a time of 51:08.  Esther Dickson who is the current NIMRA Female 2018 Title Holder followed in on Rory’s heels for 14th overall placing, and lifted a well-deserved 1stFemale title in a time of 51:12.  Paul Le Blanc completed in 27th place with a time of 54:09 and lifted the M55 1st place category prize.  Ciara Coffey in her debut mountain running year and smiling when others weren’t, came in under the hour with 59:46 and a 51st place and taking 2nd F40.

A great run by all the Newry AC athletes in very tough conditions.  They were rewarded with the usual great food hospitality and a bag of spuds to bring home.

Irish Life Health Master Indoor Championships, Athlone

Joanne McCauley made the long journey down to the AIT in Athlone to compete in the Irish Life Health Master Indoor Championships.  This prestigious event had a huge turnout of masters athletes from clubs from all regions of Ireland, hungry to lift a podium placing and a PB.  Joanne, took part in 4 events (2 Field and 2 Track).

First up was the high jump of which she currently holds the F40 Ulster and Irish Outdoor Title, so was keen to gain the Indoor title.  She jumped well and with good run up technique was able to lift her targeted Gold in the event.  Straight after finishing the high jump she moved to the starting blocks of the 60m sprint race where she ran in a highly competitive and fast field, finishing 7th and two hundredth of a second off her PB!

Joanne McCauley lifting Gold in High Jump at the Irish Health Life Master Indoor Championships in Athlone
Joanne McCauley lifting Gold in High Jump at the Irish Health Life Master Indoor Championships in Athlone

The 400m race followed of which had a competitive All Ireland field of runners, Joanne ran a fast and hard race from the starting blocks in Lane 6, holding off Mary Cahill from Ennis Track AC by storming down the home straight to take a well-deserved and unexpected podium 3rd place and notching a fantastic PB.

Last event, was the Long Jump, an event of which she currently held the F40 Indoor Bronze.  This event had been brought forward, leaving Joanne to come straight off the 400m finish line and onto the long jump runway.  With legs not fully recovered, Joanne, with a good technique and a quickly measured run up was able to clear all 4 attempts with a good final jump which gained her another bronze in the championship.

Joanne was pleased to bring home to Newry, a Gold and two Bronze Irish medals as this was her final championship in the Female 40 Age Category Group as she now moves up to the F45 in April.

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