2014 Post-Race Report by News Letter athletics correspondent: Dave McKibbin
Paul Pollock showed his international class as he broke one of the best records on the list at the 29th Greencastle 5 Miles Road Race in County Tyrone on Boxing Day.
Pollock the double inter-counties winner clocked twenty four minutes seven seconds to knock seven seconds off the outstanding record held by Gareth Turnbull.
From the start as the 1,000 plus runners took off in sleet and snow it was Pollock from Annadale and former Irish champion Martin Fagan from Mullingar who hit the front chased by Eddie McGinley also Annadale.
The pace was furious with eight minutes fifty five at two miles and thirteen minutes fifty six at three as Pollock and Fagan went through side by side with McGinley holding third ahead of Conor Duffy and Scott Rankin.
The decisive move came on the sharp climb in the fourth mile as Pollock opened up to come down to the finish on his own with a twenty one seconds cushion over Fagan to a tremendous ovation from the big crowd.
Duffy caught McGinley in the closing stages to claim third with Rankin, Brendan Murphy, Andrew Annett, Paul Barbour, Shane Kerr and Desi Foley making up the top ten.
Five times winner Maria McCambridge was a late withdrawal from the Ladies race where Heather Foley was in a total class of her own.
Tri-athlon star Heather, the winner of half marathons at Cookstown and Groomsport led for every step of the way and was over two minutes in front of Ursula Daly at the end. Ursula had improved from sixth place last year. Charlene Abraham, Angeline McShane and Claire Murphy were next.
2014 Post-Race Report by Irish News athletics correspondent: Malcolm McCausland
L-R: Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) 1st, Oliver McCullagh (Race Director) & Martin Fagan (Mulllingar Harriers) 2nd place.
POLLOCK OVERCOMES WEATHER TO BREAK RECORD AT GREENCASTLE
A steady fall of snow and arctic conditions did not prevent Paul Pollock from breaking the course record at the Greencastle “5” Miles Road Race in Tyrone. Pollock destroyed Olympic marathon runner Martin Fagan on the killer hill around the four mile mark to cross the line in 24 minutes and seven seconds. That was a seven seconds improvement on Gareth Turnbull’s previous time set six years earlier.
Pollock and Fagan were at the front of the pack from the gun with Conor Duffy, Scott Rankin and Eddie McGinley also prominent. The two protagonists were shoulder to shoulder as they passed through the mile mark (4:27) and entering the main road at two miles (8:55). There was still nothing it in as the pair continued their battle through Greencastle hamlet and the Mullingar Harrier matched his northern rival up until just before the four mile mark after the start of the long 800m hill.
However, the Hollywood doctor seemed to sprout wings at this point and moved away from the Beijing Olympian in impressive fashion. After that it was just a question of how much the Annadale Strider was going to put between himself and his rival by the finish line. In the end the gap had grown to 21 seconds thanks to a last mile of 4:31.
Conor Duffy, who had represented Ireland in the U23 race at the recent European Cross Country, also finished strongly to pip Eddie McGinley for third by four seconds. It was the Annadale man’s first race since the Dublin Marathon and he was happy with his 25:31 clocking on possibly the toughest five-miler in the country. Scott Rankin capped a solid year with a fifth place in 25:40.
Pre-race favourite and six-time winner Maria McCambridge failed to make the start line for the women’s race meaning that a new name was added to the list of winners. Heather Foley took advantage of the Dubliner’s absence to score a comfortable win in 30:44. Ursula Daly was a somewhat distant second in 33:03 with Charlene Abraham filling the final podium place in 33:52.
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
2014 Post Race Report by
31st December 2014
Pollock is in Pole Again
Paul Pollock of Annadale continued his successful return after a long period of injury when he beat Mullingar's Martin Fagan to win the Greencastle 5-Mile road race in Omagh Co Tyrone on St Stephen's Day.
Pollock, who won the national intercounty cross-country title in Dundalk before Christmas after just six weeks training, looked close to his best when crossing the finish line in 24 minutes seven seconds. Fagan was 21 seconds behind for second with these two a minute clear of the chasers, led by Glaslough's Conor Duffy in 25 mins 27 secs.
2014 Pre-Race Report by Irish News athletics correspondent: Malcolm McCausland
EDDIE READY FOR STEADY RETURN AFTER POST MARATHON BLUES
24 December 2014
Eddie McGinley has laughed off suggestions that he has retired and is set to return to competition at the Greencastle 5 Miles road race on Boxing Day. It was widely reported recently that he had quit the sport after what he considered a disappointing 12th place at the Dublin Marathon at the end of October. It was his second attempt at the distance and the 2:25:04 timing was slower than his debut 12 months earlier.
EDDIE McGINLEY (Photo: Keith McClure)
Greencastle race organizer Oliver McCullagh is being flooded with entries day and daily but he is pleased to have McGinley aboard to boost the elite entry. The Tyrone race has firmly established itself as the premier event of the festive season and McCullagh and his team are anxious to retain that status.
Olympian Maria McCambridge already heads the women’s entry while there is still the prospect of a top Southern athlete yet being added to the men’s field.
“Dublin was a real head blow,” said McGinley. “I was in my best shape ever and I was totally devastated. I could blame the conditions or whatever but it was the same for everyone. It was tough the week for me after the race, I was totally deflated. I had said it was going to be my last marathon but my wife Elaine saw the state that I was in and suggested I should have one more go at running the time that I know I’m capable of doing.”
McGinley took a few weeks off after Dublin and has only recently started running again and then only every other day. He has returned to sessions with Mark Kirk’s training group but has had to change his domestic routine. With training after work, he was not getting home until seven or later. That meant that some nights he did not see his young son Luca before he went to bed. That has now changed in that he goes home directly from work and runs on his own later in the evening after Luca is in his cot.
The 31-year-old Annadale Strider sees the race on Boxing Day as the start of his preparation for a Spring marathon, most likely in Hamburg. He has no other races planned in the New Year but hopes to run the Armagh 5K and a good half marathon. Although he is a former national senior champion, he has no desire to run cross country.
“It’s a whole new routine for me and it’s not easy training on my own in the cold and wet. I got a niggle when I started back but I was running well when I started training again with the group last week. Oliver [McCullagh] has always been supportive of me in my career and I’m pleased to be able to repay him in some way by running the race. Besides the thought of a race on Boxing Day will keep me honest over the Christmas,’’ concluded McGinley.
Maria McCambridge also eased back in training after her runner-up spot in the Dublin Marathon. The DSD athlete only just failed to pull off a victory, finishing a mere four seconds behind Kenyan Esther Macharia. Nevertheless the 39-year-old Dundrum South Dublin athlete was pleased with a personal best 2:34:19 in far from ideal conditions. That was also vindication for deciding not to compete in the European Championships marathon earlier in the year. McCambridge now goes for a record seventh win at Greencastle next Friday.
Entries are currently being taken on-line for the Greencastle 5 Miles at www.greencastle5.com. For anyone requiring further information the contact numbers are 07767 718029.
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.