Hill and Dales: Donard
NOTE: Rumour has it that in 2017 this will be a selection race for the Irish team and as such all runners must go up and return via the Saddle. TBC by Newcastle AC.
Start time as in previous years is 2 pm
5.5 miles (8.9 km) 840 metres climb
This is the longest lasting mountain race in NI. The current version of the race starts and finishes at the Newcastle Centre on the main street. Apart from the route down the main street and into Donard Park your route is up to you.
Most participants turn left and cross the Glen River to climb the right hand side of the Black Stairs. Those with greater speed may choose to follow the Glen River up to the Saddle to make use of the much faster running conditions on the path, but with a longer distance to cover.
On descent the Black Stairs route is almost always faster, unless you get lost in mist coming off the lower cairn – as many have. A previous version of the route was via Bloody Bridge and it has not been unknown for athletes to arrive there by mistake. Coming off the lower cairn the ground slope is very deceptive with a compass bearing in mist being helpful.
There are special prizes for those who are faster in minutes than their age to the top. If you are fit thats a feasible challenge for anyone between ages about 35 and 65+. Descent times from the summit to Donard Park are anything from an amazing 15 minutes upwards, with extra time to get to the finish.
All details here: http://www.newcastleac.org/