An update on the 2019 Christmas Cracker by Bogusboy
The Castlewellan Christmas Cracker has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the NI running Calendar. This year, within one week of going live, over 400 of the 750 team entries have already been snapped up. Before long, the event will sell out and disappointment will reign supreme as many will miss the opportunity to take part in the most colourful spectacle of the festive period. Our advice is simple, book now to avoid disappointment. Please note that teams can be amended closer to race day if circumstances change for a registered team.
Why has this event become so popular, one might reasonably ask? I can recall travelling to Comber in the past (and finishing second with my erstwhile running partner Damien Brannigan) when there were very few teams taking part, despite the unique paired format of the race. However, since the event was re-invented and rebranded with a Newcastle AC twist, it has quickly established a cult status. There is certainly something for everyone. It is a fair test for the elite athletes, an opportunity for inter-club and intra-club bonding, an excuse to get some dubious fancy dress out and overall a great day of craic that ends with a bit of festive socialising.
Part of the charm is the unique opportunities afforded by Castlewellan to host an event that can be totally different every year and provide a few surprises. The Forest Park has the potential for a myriad of routes and retains the perennial element of surprise. This year’s course has already been decided and according to my sources will include ‘a few hills’. The Prophet has been spotted clambering over ditches, talking to local farmers over 5 bar gates, cutting back brambles and strimming lanes for a number of months. I have bought him coffee and scones in a stealth move to ascertain information that I can share with two types of people – those who ask and those who don’t! Alas, my best efforts have been in vain and he is being extremely guarded and tight lipped and just chuckles dismissively when I make suggestions as to where we might be going. ‘Sure, you’ll enjoy it more on the day’ is the now industry standard reply to my persistent pursuit for information.
If previous years are any barometer, we will find ourselves in places that we never though feasible and we will enjoy every minutes of it. There will be a great atmosphere as the market town is festooned with colour and costumes of all varieties. We look forward to seeing everyone for what promises to be a great race – as long as you have an entry!!!