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Castlewellan Christmas Cracker race draws hundreds of runners

Competitors at the annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan dress up as Sinn Feins's Michelle O'Neill and DUP leader Arlene Foster. Picture Mal McCann.

Not even the December weather could deter festive runners taking part in the annual Co Down Christmas Cracker.

A total of 648 teams took part in Saturday's Castlewellan pairs race, in what was the biggest turn out for the eight mile run to date.

In wintry weather, pairs of runners lined up in Main Street of the Co Down market town, before taking off across fields and over rough terrine.

Seamus Lynch and Ian Bailey of Newcastle Athletics Club were first across the line in the men's race with William McKee and Laura Graham of the Mourne Runners winning the mixed team race.

The first pair of female runners across the line were Gerrie Short and Catherine Diver of the Beechmount Harriers.

Many of those taking part showed up in fancy dress with runners adopting a festive theme to their running costumes.

There was a political theme to one couple's outfit who crossed the line hand in hand dressed as DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin's Northern leader Michelle O'Neill.

The race, organised by the Newcastle Athletics Club, started in 2004 with just 50 pairs of runners and has grown in popularity since.

Super heroes at the annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle Athletics Club. Picture by Mal McCann

The annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

Runners dressed as Mimes take part in the annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

The annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

The annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

Runners take on a European theme at the annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

Leaders of the pack Ian Bailey and Seamus Lynch. The annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

The annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

The annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

A runner dressed up as British Primister Theresa May at the annual Christmas Cracker Pairs race in Castlewellan organised by the Newcastle AC. Picture Mal McCann.

 

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