Home News Bobby Rea Memorial XC Races 25 October at University of Ulster

Bobby Rea Memorial XC Races 25 October at University of Ulster


From Athletic Northern Ireland The second annual Bobby Rea Memorial Cross Country Races are set for Saturday 25 October at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. The events, including men’s and women’s senior races and the Northern Ireland & Ulster Even Age Group Cross Country Championships, commemorate Rea’s contribution to athletics in Northern Ireland. Fifty per cent of the proceeds from the races will benefit Macmillan Cancer Support. The races were a smashing success last year, with hundreds of athletes from Northern Ireland’s top clubs out on the day. Abbey stormed to victories in the men’s and women’s senior races and had the first man and woman across the line in Paul Pollock and Judi Graham.

Pollock and Graham will be back to defend their titles. Pollock has had a string of victories this autumn in the Bangor Classic 10k, Laganside 10k, and Crawfordsburn 5k. Graham also is running well, posting the fastest time at the Wallace Park Relays and finishing third in the Bangor Classic 10k. Abbey’s men’s and women’s teams both won the recent Wallace Park Relays and will be looking to build on that achievement.

The Age Group races begin at noon with the girls’ under-10 race and feature boys’ and girls’ events in the under 10, under 12, under 14, under 16, and under 18 divisions. The senior races begin at 2.50 p.m. with a combined 3-mile race for the women and the over 60 veteran men. The five-mile senior men’s race is set for 3.15 p.m. and includes under 20 and veteran’s awards. More than £400 in prize money is up for grabs in the senior races, including team and individual age group awards.

Entries for the senior races will be taken on the day from 1 p.m. and are £5 for registered and £6 for non-registered athletes. Entries for the Age Group Championships must be sent to Athletics Northern Ireland by 10 October.

Rea died suddenly in November 2006 after a short illness. He was well-known in Northern Ireland for his enthusiasm and support for the sport at all levels, and worked tirelessly as a coach, competitor, and administrator. He was secretary of the Northern Ireland Athletic Federation’s Cross Country Committee for nearly 20 years and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Athletic Federation 2002-2006. He helped to organise high-profile events such as the Belfast Marathon and the 1999 World Cross Country Championships in Belfast; and served as the manager for numerous Northern Ireland Cross Country and Track & Field teams, including the team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Rea was a founding member, chair and coach of Abbey Athletics Club. Since its inception in 2000, Abbey has won three Women’s Athletics Association of Ireland National League Track & Field Championships and a Northern Ireland Junior Men’s Cross Country Championship.

At the conclusion of last year’s races, the University of Ulster Provost planted a tree in Rea’s memory at the High Performance Sports Centre. A plaque also was placed at the site.
The Bobby Rea Memorial Races are organised by Abbey Athletics Club and Northern Ireland Athletics and with support from the University of Ulster and the Newtownabbey Council.

For more information, please contact Simon Taylor on 079 50010461 or visit