2014 Race Report by Ryan Maxwell (www.nirunning.co.uk)
Paul Pollock and Heather Foley excel at wintry Greencastle 5
On Friday 26th December 2014 (Boxing Day), hundreds of athletes braved wintry conditions as they took on the 29th annual Greencastle 5 mile road race in Greencastle, County Tyrone.
Alongside the plethora of talent on the early start list, a host of late entries, including AAI National XC Champion Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) ensured that the race would be an exciting affair, and that did indeed prove to be the case. The aforementioned men, Paul and Martin could not be separated in the early stages and went through the 1, 2 and 3 mile markers side by side, with Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) and Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders) just behind..
As the snow began to fall heavily, the leading men encountered 'heartbreak hill', were the first major gaps began to appear. In the final mile, England based Paul Pollock made a surge, which Martin Fagan could not match; as the pair descended towards the finish, Paul Pollock increased his lead steadily before breaking the tape in a new course record of 24:07 (1st place). Martin followed in 24:28 (2nd place), before Conor Duffy, who had enjoyed an excellent race with Eddie McGinley, claimed the final podium place in 25:27 (3rd place).
While the men's field was filling with late entries, several of the high profile ladies who were due to race never started, this included current course record holder and Olympian, Maria McCambridge (DSD AC). In truth and despite the other talent in the field, this left Heather Foley (Unattached) as clear favourite, and the triathlon star delivered impressively. After the first mile, Heather had opened a thirty five second gap on the chasing ladies, which included Angeline McShane (City of Derry AC), Ursula Daly (Lagan Valley AC), Charlene Abraham (Unattached) and Claire Murphy (Club Unknown). As the race progressed, Heather continued to stamp her authority on the race and eventually ran out clear winner in 30:44 (1st place). Ursula Daly came through well to take 2nd place in 33:03, while Charlene Abraham just about held on to 3rd place, after a photo finish Angeline McShane; both ladies recorded 33:52, but after a review of the finish line camera, Charlene was awarded the podium place.
Top 3 Men:
1st Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders, Antrim) – 24:07, 2nd Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers, Westmeath) – 24:28, 3rd Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers, Monaghan) – 25:27
Top 3 Ladies:
1st Heather Foley (Co Down) – 30:44, 2nd Ursula Daly (Lagan Valley AC) – 33:03, 3rd Charlene Abraham (Unattached) – 33:52
Full 2014 Results Download
Press Release Monday, 24 November 2008
GREENCASTLE ANNUAL 5 MILE ROAD RUN GOES HI-TECH
Hail, rain nor snow will not prevent local runners of all abilities heading to the high Sperrins for the Greencastle “5” Road Race on St Stephen’s Day. Race Director Oliver McCullagh promises that the 23rd edition of the Boxing Day classic will be the best ever with the introduction of microchip training for all the competitors.
The tiny chip is attached to the runners’ shoes and their time is automatically logged as they cross the finish line guaranteeing 100% accuracy for all the participants And that is not the only innovation this year as the Tyrone race rapidly establishes itself as the top running event in the country during the festive season.
To avoid the rush of last minute entries, Oliver has stolen a lead over rival promotions by introducing online registration at the race website www.greencastle.com.
The Greencastle “5” was established in 1985 and started off as a small gathering for the local community. Now despite being well into its third decade, it continues to grow and regularly attracts the top runners from all over Ireland as well as abroad. Many past competitors have gone on to represent Ireland or Britain at World Championships and Olympic Games.Last year over 400 runners finished the race and almost the same number of walkers, joggers and fun runners participated, so this year over 1000 entries are expected.
The event has also raised tens of thousands of pounds for deserving local charities with Cystic Fibrosis being this the nominated recipient this year.
“This is a charity which does amazing work with all those affected by Cystic Fibrosis and I would call on everyone to be as generous as ever with their support,” said Oliver.
“We have made it even easier this year for everyone to enter, so why don’t you simply log onto the website, www.greencastle5.com where you can go to the links to enter on line which we are encouraging as many people as possible to do.“You will still also be able to enter in the usual ways by getting an entry form and participating yourself or simply make a difference by sponsoring someone who is doing the run.
“Of course, the success of this race over the years is not only down to all those who participate on the day but also the army of workers who give up their bank holiday each year to make the event the resounding success that it is.
“I am also indebted to all the sponsors who annually give so willingly to this event. I would encourage everyone to get on their running shoes for these last few weeks of training and come to Greencastle on Boxing Day for a 1:00pm start,” concluded the Race Director.
So if you want to burn off all those unwanted calories consumed in the run up to Christmas why not take up Oliver’s invitation and help a worthy charity at the same time. Full details including entry forms are available at the website www.greencastle5.com. See you all at the Start Line!
Press Release October 2004
GREENCASTLE TO REMAIN NUMBER 1
Gareth Turnbull is a surprise late addition to the line-up for Monday’s Greencastle “5” Mile Road Race sponsored by Rocwell Mineral Water.
The former World University Games 1500 metres silver –medallist will be making his first appearance in a local road race for some years and should find the roller-coaster course high in the Sperrins a tough test.
Turnbull who has his eyes on the World Indoor Championships in Moscow next March is still finding his feet in competitive terms after missing over a year through injury.
However, an excellent third place in last month’s National Inter-Counties’ Cross-Country in Sligo was enough to gain him a place on Ireland’s team at the Europeans two weeks ago.
Although the tricky course with lots of twists and turns did not suit him, he still performed well in Tilburg to be fourth Irish finisher in a respectable 60th spot.
With cold but dry weather predicted the green light is on for a major invasion of the quiet Tyrone hamlet which has become the running Mecca over the Christmas holidays.
Organiser Oliver McCullagh is expecting a record field of 250 runners for the race with as many taking to the roads to raise funds for the Foyle Hospice in Derry.
Main opposition to Turnbull should come from 2003 winner Paul Rowan and his Willowfield clubmate Alan McCullough, a bronze medallist in the Masters’ International Cross-Country in November.
City of Derry will field their top three distance runners, Diarmuid Grant, Allan Bogle and Gregory Roberts, in an attempt to keep the top men’ prize in the northwest.
However, a local victory in the women’s race looks unlikely with Ulster’s top female road runner, Jill Shannon from Belfast, looking a class apart.
Nevertheless, City of Derry’s Anne Paul and Omagh Harrier Julie Butler will not surrender without a fight in a race that they have both won in the past.
Race Organiser Oliver McCullagh promises that the twentieth edition of the Greencastle “5” on Boxing Day will maintain its reputation of being the top road race on the Ulster calendar over the Christmas period.
With Brian Quinn of the Rocwell Mineral Water Company providing the financial support, the Tyrone classic again enjoys a budget the envy of organisers of more prestigious national events.
And to keep the quality of the race up to its normal high standard McCullagh has been busy on the telephone for the past weeks signing up the best of the local running talent.
“Last year’s surprise winner Pat Cassidy has been quiet on the competitive scene of late but I’m expecting him to be on the line seeking a second victory,” said McCullagh.
However, the Glaslough Harrier can expect some hot opposition from crack Willowfield trio Paul Rowan, Alan McCullough and Deane Fisher.
Add Letterkenny’s Pauric McKinney and City of Derry’s Diarmuid Grant and Allan Bogle and the Sperrin roads should be sizzling on St. Stephen’s Day.
“The women’s race has all the signs of being every bit as exciting as the men’s contest with last year’s champion Jill Shannon already a confirmed starter,” continued the City of Derry veteran.
“Shannon has dominated female distance running in the province for the past two seasons and is determined to run despite a pressing engagement back in Belfast.
“An engagement is not exactly the correct description because immediately after the race she is dashing back to Belfast for the wedding reception of the well known athlete, Thomas Frazer,” revealed McCullagh.
Shannon is again pitted against last year’s runner-up and third-placer, Anne Paul and Julie, who are both former winners of the race.
However, the event also has a serious side with thousands of pounds being raised for charity each year as Oliver McCullagh explains;
“It not just about competition, we usually have over 200 local people who come out and walk around the course to raise money for a good cause, this year the nominated charity is the Foyle Hospice,” concluded Oliver.
The race starts again at 1:00 pm with entries taken in Greencastle Community Centre up to 15 minutes before the gun is due to fire. There are prizes in all categories and much needed refreshments will be provided afterwards.