Castlewellan Forest Park was the setting for the final race in the Belfast Telegraph RUN FOREST RUN series organised by BORN2RUN Events on Saturday last.
Almost 700 runners from all over Ireland took part in the race with club and non-affiliated runners both represented in almost equal measure. The RUN FOREST RUN Series had a total of 8 races all of which took part over the winter months in scenic forest locations throughout Northern Ireland.
The first race in the series took place in Minnowburn back at Hallowe’en and since then runners enjoyed races in Gosford Forest Park, Loughgall Country Park, Tollymore forest Park, Kilbroney Forest Park, Antrim Castle Gardens, Mount Stewart and finally Castlewellan. The feedback from the runners on Saturday was extremely positive with many saying that the series kept them motivated to run throughout the winter months.
Conditions for Saturday’s race in Castlewellan were pretty close to perfect. The hundreds of runners lined up at the start enjoyed a verse of Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ before the claxon rang out and they were off. It was quite a sight to behold as the seemingly never ending stream of runners passed below the castle making their way toward the far side of the lake. The route took runners around the lake and the second half proved sufficiently challenging with a few hills thrown in for good measure.
William McKee of Mourne Runners competed in 7 of the 8 races and won 6 of those including a comfortable win again on Saturday in Castlewellan (finish time 33.29). Runner up was Jonny Steede of Glens Runners and in third place was Gerard Heaney of St. Peter’s AC in Lurgan.
Once again it was Laura Graham of Mourne Runners who won the women’s race. (Finish time 37.48) having won all the previous races in the series that she entered, only missing out on the first race in Minnowburn due to other commitments. Louise Smith of North Belfast Harriers was the runner up and in third place was Seapark AC’s Elisoa Crawford.
All of the podium finishers received a beautiful Herock jacket sponsored by Safety Solutions NI as well as a voucher for Pure Running and a BORN2RUN Buff. Category winners received trophies supplied by Commercial Spare Parts as well as Pure Running vouchers and free BORN2RUN race entries.
BORN2RUN hosted the Forest Finale Fling in Hugh McCann’s (Newcastle, Co. Down) on Saturday night to celebrate the end of the series and all those who took part were invited. The Series Winners and category prizes were all presented on the night.
Prizes were sponsored by Reach EPS, Pure Running, The Belfast Telegraph, Hugh McCann’s, My Sports Photo, Artie Quinn, The Physio Group, Championchip Ireland and Active Financial.
Series Category Winners:
Overall Series Winners: William McKee (Mourne Runners) and Laura Graham (Mourne Runners)
M35 - Patsy Hamill (Mallusk Harriers) F35 - Helen Byers (North Down AC), M40 - Philip Hunter F40 - Elisoa Crawford (Seapark AC), M45 - Camron Burns F45 - Louise Smith (North Belfast Harriers), M50 - John Nelson (Belfast Running Club) F50 - Mary Quinn (Banbridge AC), M55 - Reggie Campbell F55 - Patricia Brown (Newry City Runners), M60 - Brendan Connolly, M65 - Irvine Moorehead, F60 - Violet Davidson