Newcastle 9 take on the GR8

By Seamus the Cat

With a number of different races taking place across the province on Saturday, 9 Newcastle and District AC members put their toes to the line at the 10th annual GR8 race organised by Murlough AC. Starting in Main Street Dundrum the 8.2 mile race takes runners across an interesting mix of terrains including road, gravel track, boardwalk and beach. As the 1075 runners gathered for the midday start, the weather certainly wasn’t in their favour as a number of very heavy downpours make the underfoot conditions even more demanding.


Veteran takes bragging rights and a category win

Incase anyone had not already heard in the week he was selected for the Northern Ireland cross country team the veteran McVeigh was the first Newcastle runner to finish in a very impressive 49.07 to take 6th place overall and first in his category. The veteran put his strong performance down to the words of wisdom he got pre-race from club cross country captain David O’Flaherty.

Second Newcastle runner home was the younger McVeigh Brian who managed to take nearly 3 minutes off his 2018 time to finish 12th overall in 51.34. Some experienced club members on review of Brian’s performance later in the evening point to the difference between him and his older brother in racing terms being “the top four inches between the ears”. McVeigh responded by claiming he give his all for the cause and so much so he was forced post-race to visit Artie Quinns physio table to get a lower limb muscle rub to ensure he was fit for his weekly quarry/mast sessions to ensure all the mountain sheep were safe and well.

In his first race in a long-time following injury, Paul Byrne put in a fantastic run to finish 25th overall in 53.17. Paul has been putting in tremendous effort at club training of late and it is great to see him back racing.


Murtagh takes impressive first lady

Following on from her recent Berlin marathon race a few weeks ago now a brilliant run by Sinead Murtagh saw her finish 27th overall in 53.47. Sinead with her performance managed to take the first lady position which was a fantastic achievement for her and the club.

The other Newcastle runners to put their toes to the line and race were Gerard Lawless (75th in 57.17), Danny O’Boyle (77th in 57.29), Eamonn Mallon (115th in 60.01), Fintan McGreevy (163rd in 62.20) and our other sole female participant Jacqueline Barbour (251st in 65.40).


Support crew

The Newcastle runners would like to thank those who braved the autumnal elements to offer support and words of wisdom. Having already had a morning of rugby to feast on, local hotelier Jack O’Hare managed to make time in his busy schedule to support the GR8 race before he had to dash off to Catlewellan to see Bryansford come out on top in their relegation battle against Downpatrick. On reflection after the game in The Wine King Bar, Castlewellan O’Hare was seen sipping a well-earned Guinness and claimed that the set pieces were crucial in the rugby and winning more breaking ball was critical for Bryansford to come out on top in the gaelic.