ATHLETICS: Bumper entry for Boxing Day showpiece in Greencastle

Stephen Scullion
Stephen Scullion

Almost 1,000 runners will hit the roads of County Tyrone for the biggest event of the holiday season the Greencastle Boxing Day 5 Miles Road Race.

The event, superbly organised by Oliver McCullagh and his committee, is sponsored by Omagh District Council and local businesses with a huge prize list in all categories plus bonuses for new course records.

The men’s race, won for the last two years by Stephen Scullion, is expected to attract the top Annadale pairing of Paul Pollock and Eddie McGinley.

Pollock, the world and European marathon star, recently retained his Inter Counties title before going on to lead the Irish team in the European Cross Country. He clocked a blistering 28 minutes 32.18 for 10,000 metres on the track in the summer.

McGinley, the former All Ireland Cross Country champion, came first in the Omagh Half Marathon and last year’s Armagh 10. He struck gold on the track in the senior 5,000.

Conan McGaughey, Jon Lenihan and Paul Barbour - third, fourth and fifth last time - can challenge again along with Desi Foley, who won the Banbridge 10K before placing second at Cookstown.

World and Olympic competitor Maria McCambridge has dominated the Greencastle race winning on five of the last six occasions including setting the course record of 28 minutes 18s in 2012.

The organisers hope to have Springwell’s triathlon star Eimear Mullan on the line. She came first over the country at Springwell, Ballyclare and Derry.

The walk will start at 11am, the wheelchairs go at 12.50 with the main event underway at 1pm.

Cathy McCourt, second last time, ran well in the Masters International while Heather Foley, who was third in that Greencastle race, was the winner at Dungannon.

Also on Boxing Day, the Rotary Club of Limavady promote the Downhill Mile.

The object will be to run personal bests for the mile distance. The race starts at 12 noon at Downhill Castle and finishes on Benone Beach.

Entries will be taken from 11.30. All proceeds will go to Rotary International Charities in Kenya and spot prizes will be up for grabs.