Weekend Preview:  Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ bandwagon heads to Gosford…

Weekend Preview:  Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ bandwagon heads for Gosford…

After a week of weather warnings, snow and ice… things are set to heat up in the coming days, and that’s not just the weather – the local running community have several excellent races to choose from.

The highlight, on the running circuit, will be Born 2 Run’s Gosford 10k (and 5k).  There is also the NI Duathlon Kirkistown 10k & 5k, the latest East Antrim Marathon Series and North Velocity events, and two popular annual junior cross-country series’.

Our preview will focus on Born 2 Run’s Gosford 10k and NI Duathlon’s Kirkistown 10k & 5k; as always, we’ll provide details of all the other races taking place.

Born 2 Run ‘Run Forest Run’ Gosford 10k & 5k 2018:

Update:  12pm 19/01/2018 – The Born 2 Run Gosford 10k & 5k has been POSTPONED due to adverse weather conditions.

Over 700 runners are expected to take to the trails of Gosford Forest Park close to Armagh, as local events management company Born 2 Run host the sixth race of their ongoing Run Forest Run Series (Saturday 20th January 2018).

Gosford Forest Park comprises some 240 hectares of diverse woodland and open parkland and is set in gentle rolling drumlin countryside in Markethill, on the main road between Armagh and Newry.  The course is a mixture of road and forest track taking you through dense woodland and past Gosford Castle which has featured in Game of Thrones.

At the last event in the Series, in Tollymore, William McKee (Mourne Runners) and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) took their places on the top step of the podium.  William is unlikely to race in Gosford, but Gladys is due to start.

The Northern Ireland and Ireland international will prove hard to beat and will place well overall.  Former North Belfast Harriers club mate Cathy McCourt (Unattached) could also toe the line, while County Antrim Harriers’ ever improving Jana Ross should also challenge for a podium place.  Julie Murphy (Lagan Valley AC), Aisling Mone (Unattached), Catherine Roberts (North Down AC) and Joanne Graham (Mourne Runners) will all place well.

In the men’s race, Noel Kerr (Unattached), runner up at the Tollymore event, and QUB AC’s Vincent McKenna, winner of the Loughgall 10k, should battle it out at the head of the pack. The talented duo could be joined in the starting line up by PJ O’Neill (Unattached), Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners) and David Noble (Larne AC).

Kirkistown 10k & 5k Road Races (submitted by organisers):

On Sunday 21st January 2018, NI Duathlon will host another of their popular 5k and 10k race days in support of their Belfast Tandem Cycling Group.

Registration will be open from 1pm with both races starting at 2pm on Kirkistown Racing Circuit (130 Rubane Road, Kircubbin, Co. Down, BT22 1AU). On New Year’s Eve the same two races on this course produced several notable new PB’s for competitors – and yet again, some new course records! This event is suitable for both new and experienced runners.

The 5k and 10k are both officially measured road races around the flat, 1.5 mile Kirkistown Track with timing mats at the end of each lap and on the finish line. Entry is only £10 online HERE or you can pay and enter on the day. The 5k is open to ages 11+ whilst the 10k is open to ages 15+ (Under 16’s can enter with an adult on the day).

In the 5k race, Glen Taylor (Ballydrain Harriers) and Peter Gilmore (Narrows Triathlon Club) may retain their top spots, while Lauren Madine (East Down AC) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) may feature high up in the ladies race; both will place well overall should they run.

In the 10k race, Thomas Leitch (Victoria Park and Connswater AC) will be worth watching, while other possible runners include Eamon McCann (Murlough AC), Declan Leung (Termoneeny Running Club) and Mark Rushby (Peninsula Triathlon Club). The 10k may also tempt Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers) and Jenny Black (Victoria Park and Connswater AC).

Each race has prizes for the top three male and female finishers, prizes for first place in each age category, chip timing, bananas, water and 10% off at Athlos Triathlon store, sponsors of the prizes. Check HERE for race details.

Proceeds (plus any additional donations) will go towards growing the Belfast Tandem Cycling Group for blind and partially sighted cyclists. You may have seen the group on TV too and they are also seeking a few more sighted ‘pilots’.

Entries are available on the day (and online until midnight on Saturday) and it looks like there will be a good field in both distances, with runners of all levels keen to bag a PB on a totally flat course to start the year off with (it may also suit those interested in a qualification time for the Armagh International Road Races).  Registration opens at 1pm with parking and shower facilities inside the track. The races are becoming more popular!

Other events taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend…

Sunday 21st January 2018:

  • East Antrim Marathon Series Quadrathon – Carrickfergus Castle, Carrickfergus – 8am (Entries NOT available on race day!)
  • Northern Velocity Ballykelly Trail Race – Ballykelly Forest, Ballykelly – 10:30am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)
  • McGrady’s Financial Junior XC Series (Race 4 – Delamont) – Delamont Park, Killyleagh – 1pm (Entries NOT available on race day!)
  • East Coast AC Junior XC Series (Race 1 – Sandy Bay) – Sandy Bya Playing Fields, Larne – 11am (Entries AVAILABLE on race day!)


As always, Northern Ireland’s twenty five parkrun events will take place this weekend, for more information on these, or to locate your nearest event, please visit our dedicated ‘parkrun’ section within our fixtures page.