Thursday 18th November 2010

Newcastle AC
Unbeatable on Home Turf

26 Extreme Winter Race Series Round 3: Castlewellan

Over 70 competitors lined up last Thursday night at Castlewellan Lake shore for the 3rd instalment of the 26 Extreme Winter Race Series. Running in the dark, on off-road trails through forests whilst using a head torch to illuminate your path might sound mad to most of us, but these races in total darkness are part of a growing craze that is getting more and more popular in the area. This event saw competitors tackle two laps of a 5K route around Castlewellan Lake with a few hills, mud, puddles and the occasional badger thrown in for good measure.

Spurred on by the Rocky theme tune being blasted out by the PA system the race kicked off at 7:30pm. As the long snake of head lamps poured into the darkness, the race organisers where left wondering who would be the first round the initial 5k lap. No later than 18 minutes the first runner could be spotted rounding the lake with a clear lead on the rest, as the red jersey drew nearer it was clear that it was Deon McNeilly in 1st position with another two runners close behind him - also from Newcastle AC - Eamon McCrickard in 2nd and Brendan Quail in 3rd. The remainder of the runners followed behind with duels between runners happening all through the field.

The Newcastle AC trio, however, managed to hold their positions for the 2nd lap with Deon finishing 1st in an impressive 37:03, Eamon 2nd in 38:10 and Brendan 3rd in 38:18. In the ladies section the top three were made up by Hazel McLaughlin, Teresa Fearon and Susan Burnett.

The next instalment in the Winter Race Series is in Tollymore Forest Park on Thursday 25 November - Registration from 6:30pm with the race start at 7:30pm.

For more information of the series visit

For race blogs from Michael Regan visit