Finnebrogue Artisan SEA 2 SKY Another Big Success

Gordy Graham, photo by My Sports Photo

The 8th annual SEA 2 SKY took place in Newcastle on Friday evening. The race which was organised by BORN2RUN Events attracted over 1,000 runners and walkers to Newcastle and was a total sellout. There were runners from all over Ireland as well as Canada and the USA taking part.

SEA 2 SKY won the Gold Award at The Running Awards in London earlier this year and has fast become one of the favourite events on the athletics calendar.

The 10K course is a multi-terrain mix of road, forest trail and a touch of open mountain for good measure, a challenging run by any standards. Runners took to their starting corals with the fastest runners ensured a clear run.

The walkers started an hour ahead of the runners at 6.30pm.

Both the 10K & 5K races kicked off simultaneously at 7.30pm with the 5K runners starting at the 10K half way point in Donard Forest. Runners had a mix of weather as they made their way around the course with some thunder and lightening thrown in for good measure.

The men’s 10K race was won by East Down AC’s Gordy Graham in 36.19. Gordy was last year’s runner-up but led from the start in this year’s race. Andrew McIntyre of Orangegrove Athletics Club was this year’s runner up followed in 3rd place by Sean Russell of Newcastle AC.

In the ladies race, North Belfast Harrier Gladys Ganiel was the clear winner in 38.42. Last year’s winner Karen Wilton of Jog Lisburn was this year’s runner up. Newcastle AC’s Mari Troeng finished in 3rd place.

In the 5K it was East Down ACs Neil Curran who took the 1st place prize finishing in a very impressive 17.38- in second place was Colin McDowell (unattached) & Murlough AC’s Jonathan Holmes was the 3rd male across the finish line.

Junior athletes dominated in the ladies race with Anna Gardiner of East Down AC winning in 19.47. Runner up was Caitlyn Harvey of Lagan Valley and East Down AC’s junior Lauren Rose Madine finished 3rd.

All runners received technical t-shirts supplied by race sponsors Finnebrogue Artisan who also ensured that they were well fed at the post race BBQ in O’Hares. Many of the runners partied on in O’Hare’s afterwards where they compared notes and enjoyed the post-race craic and banter.

Many of those who took part booked into local hotels, hostels and B&B’s and made a night of it.

Over 50 clubs were represented at the event as well as hundreds of unaffiliated runners. All finishers were rewarded with a beautiful commemorative bottle opening medal. Winners received vouchers for Pure Running in Belfast and BORN2RUN vouchers for free race entries.

BORN2RUN would like to thank all the sponsors Finnebrogue Artisan, Hovis and Lidl Northern Ireland who supplied the water and Finish Line Fuel.

They would also like to acknowledge all the marshals, the Newcastle Coastguard and the PSNI , Newry Mourne & Down Council, North West Ambulance Service, The Forestry Service and Drumgooland Girl Guides all of whom helped to make this yet another Great race in a great place.

All in all a great evening’s sport was enjoyed by all those who took part. The support along the promenade was fantastic and the organisers BORN2RUN Events look forward to doing it all again next year when it promises to be even bigger and better.

BORN2RUN’s next local event is the Extern DAMBUSTERS race which takes place on August 17th in The Silent Valley. There will be a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and a 10K walk.

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by Carol McMenamin