Slieve Donard Race goes to the line
With the virus hanging over us like a dark cloud it was great to see Newcastle AC battle through the regulations to put on another Slieve Donard Race. To manage to get this race sanctioned a few compromises were made from moving the start/finish and runners going off in groups of 15. The 86 runners who put their toe to the start line would be pleased to see the sun splitting the trees. By the time they had reached the saddle the strong wind made it feel very much like winter.
The mens race was a very close affair as Timmy Johnston(Mourne Runners) was the first to summit Donard in just over 35 mins. Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) was a mere 23 seconds back and he would hunt his challenger down so that he took the lead heading through the quarry. As Seamus made his break for home Timmy kept his powder dry to make a final burst into the lead on the tarmac finish to take the win by a mere 4 seconds in a time of 50mins 31 secs. Jonny Steede would complete the podium with an excellent run finishing in 53mins 23secs.
In the ladies race Esther Dickson (Newry AC) had no concerns as she took of from the start and summitted in just over 44mins before producing a very impressive sub 20min descent to finish clear in a time of 1hr 4mins. Behind Esther her club mate Sarah Quinn had a very close battle with Karen Wilton from Jog Lisburn. They were split by seconds at the top of Donard and through the Quarry Sarah would lead with Karen right on her heels. It would go down right to the line with Sarah just claiming the second place. Tremendous racing.
The race for the junior title was a fierce encounter with Newcastle AC’s Tom Crudgington summiting Donard in 36mins 34 secs with Ballydrain runner Jared Martin 90 secs back. It would be the fast descending from Martin that would claw back that 90 seconds before he hit the quarry and didint look back to claim the junior title.
With the dust settled a big thank you to all the team at Newcastle AC for putting on a safe race especially the marshals at the top of the Slieve Donard who battled the cold windy conditions to record the summit times. Always fantastic to see the racing again but as always stay safe and wash your hands.