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This week mountains and trails took precedence in the race events with the track athletes resting before a hectic summer race timetable commences.

Hill & Dales - Millstone Race, Donard Forest Park

On Thursday evening, 7 Newry AC athletes took on the Millstone Race. The weather was damp, mild and mocky with ground conditions on the open mountain technical and slippery underfoot. The race started in Donard Park and took the runners through the forest trails, were they met up on the Granite Trail, they then followed the wall ascending up the rocky climb of Millstone, to then make a fast but technical descent back down into the forest to the finish line at the base of Donard Park.

Rory Mulvaney, Sarah Quinn, Esther Dickson & Paul Le Blanc having a well deserved cool down in Ballygally.
Rory Mulvaney, Sarah Quinn, Esther Dickson & Paul Le Blanc having a well deserved cool down in Ballygally.

Four Newry AC members finished in the top 20 placings. Maurice Harte had a good race and was first Newry AC athlete home in 8th place, taking 2nd MV40 in a time of 43:16. Rory Mulvaney finished 15th, in a time of 44:15 and took 3rd MV35. Esther Dickson notched another strong performance to take the podium 1st Female placing and 17th overall in a time of 44:36. Adam Ervine who has had a great first season running for Newry AC in the mountains, took 18th place on the heels of Esther in a time of 44:48. Full results are as listed below.

Maurice Harte, 43:16

Rory Mulvaney, 44:15

Esther Dickson, 44:36

Adam Ervine, 44:48

Sarah Quinn, 50:57

David Burns, 60:26

David Hughes, 65:53

Lissan House 5k, Cookstown

Paul Le Blanc during Cairncastle Fell Race
Paul Le Blanc during Cairncastle Fell Race

Lee Maginnis won an extremely guttery and hilly Lissan House 5K on Thursday evening.

The setting was beautiful but the weather conditions made it quite a brutal course with the first half flat with tarmac and then the runners were subjected the mud and hills of the surrounding trails.

Cairncastle Classic Fell Race, Ballygally

On Saturday, Newry AC athletes took on the inaugural Cairncastle Classic Fell Race which was a NIMRA Championship Race. This was a medium category race of 10 miles with approximately 2,200 feet of elevation. It was a challenging route taking the runners around the famous Sallagh Braes and North Coast Skyline. The race started on the scenic Ballygally Beach up the gradient of the Cairncastle Road passing the iconic ‘Matties Meeting House, shortly after the runners then continued uphill on tracks leading onto the fells and Knockdu. On reaching the summit the runners ran along the edge of the Sallagh Braes (having no time to take in the fantastic views of Larne Lough) and making a tricky descent to the valley floor along trail path and onto the Antrim Hills Way. There then was a long gradual climb to the final summit of Scawt Hill and a great downhill followed to the shoreline onto the coast road and back via Ballygally Castle to the finish line on the Ballygally Beach.

Sarah Quinn during Cairncastle Fell Race
Sarah Quinn during Cairncastle Fell Race

Rory Mulvaney was first Newry AC athlete over the line with a 12th placing and time of 1:27:42 and this was after a great Millstone race on Thursday.

Esther Dickson who is in perfect race fitness and form, took another great win. She finished first female in a time of 1:29:59 and an overall 18th placing.

Paul Le Blanc finished the race in 1:35:57.

Club mate Sarah Quinn took 3rd female with a time of 1:39:54 (note that both Esther and Sarah raced the Millstone Race on Thursday evening, so fantastic results).

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