Knockdhu Christmas Classic 2018

Forget giving love at Christmas; just give me a pair of running shoes and some hills to run rampage over.

This Saturday saw the first fixture in the ever busy festive hill running calendar. Fifty runners and an army of helpers took the opportunity to avoid the panic buying bedlam by turning out in the wind swept glens for the Knockdhu Christmas Classic.

Knockdhu awaits

Paul Pruzina, clad in what appeared to be his dad’s race shorts from the 80s, led the field out of the starting gate. He was closely followed by Timmy Johnson, Jonny Scott and Matty Hewitt. Heading across the first couple of fields the Pruzina rocket was heading in all directions but the right one. A few shouts seemed to reign in his festive enthusiasm. As the race snaked up the hill Paul started to put a gap between himself and the chasers.

Do it!

At the top the race skirted the cliffs as it crossed the plateau before taking a steep slippy descent down the far side. Racers now needed to find their cross country mojo to run around to the second steep ascent of Knockdhu. This climb is hands and knees from the bottom to the top. At this stage Paul had a good gap on Timmy in second who had distanced Jonny and Matty battling for third and forth.

Santa lives

A fast descent back off the mountain took everyone to the lowest point of the race before a transition section which led you to the third and final ascent of the Antrim hill. Pruzina had an untouchable lead over the top and back down the long descent to the finish for the W. Timmy was also in unassailable second place. This left Matty and Jonny battling across the top and down the hill. Jonny’s faster descending saw him take third place.

Jonny, Paul and Timmy (R to L)

The ladies race was a closely contested affair between Megan Wilson, Shileen O’Kane and Karen Wilton. Visiting Megan blasted down the final descent to narrowly beat Shileen. Karen followed shortly afterwards to complete the podium.

Karen, Megan and Shileen (R to L)

Afterwards runners gathered in Matties Meeting House for mulled wine, mince pies and plenty of holiday craic including a charity raffle spectacular.

Simon Santa

This race was in aid of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust. In total 750 pounds were raised for this great cause.

A big thanks to everyone who helped organise a great event including the McLaughlin’s, Dale, Laura, Bryan, and Mark.

Hazel, Rosie and Laura (R to L)

The next race in this tightly packed season is the Turkey Trot on Boxing Day. Hopefully see y’all there.

More pics will be available later.


Moar Santa

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