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Castle Gardens Primary School, Newtownards
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Castle Gardens House Cross Country Championships- Thursday 25th January 2024

January is always a tricky month to host any kind of sporting event; the weather is typically unpredictable outside of the strong chance of rain. Fortunately, the weather forecast was wrong and the rain held off to allow our 2nd House Cross Country Championships to take place in very reasonable temperatures and conditions all things considered.

The children gathered in our courtyard for their briefing, many faces full of anticipation, excitement and maybe even a few full of trepidation too. What transpired was yet another successful event with all participants conducting themselves superbly well and pushing themselves to earn that extra point for their House Team that could make the difference between placings come the final tally. 

First off were the Primary 3 and 4 boys with the pace at a furious speed from the off up the hill and round the front of school. Onto the second lap there was no let up and so it was that last year's champion, Alex H (won as a Primary 3 pupil) retained his title with another impressive front running display. Behind him, a group of 3 runners were packed closely together with Shea McT and Jay McA managing to ensure there were two Mount Stewart representatives on the podium with a very brave Benjamin S just missing out on a medal after runnign a fantastic race for 4th place. Well done to all the competing boys who represented their houses with great determination.  

The Primary 3 and 4 girls were next with last year's bronze medallist, Elsie G, taking on the pace from the off as she ran an aggressive race in her bid for gold. As with the boys race, a pack of 4 soon emerged with Olivia J, Emme G and Silvana K pushing each other in their bids to be on the podium. Onto the playground for the final time, the medals were still up for grabs and it was here that Olivia J made her break coming home to an impressive victory with Elsie G just behind her. Emme G remained strong to just hold off Silvana for the final podium place in what was a thrilling race- well done to all the girls who made their teachers so very proud. 

Our senior boys race was next with last year's runner-up looking to keep the title within the family. A number of the boys in this race have represented the school in competitive competition this year and so we were expecting yet another closely contested race. Yet again, it did not disappoint. As the race entered the middle part of the race, Lukas K was moving away to a comfortable victory. Behind him, however, there was a proper scrap for the other medals with 4 boys in contention. Zac B, just back from illness, was leading the charge with Seth H, Danny W and Logan A all in very close contention. Entering the final lap, you could have covered the four boys with a blanket and it really was nail-biting waiting to see who would emerge first down the hill. As it turned out, Seth and Danny had just managed to edge away from Zac who in turn had put some distance between himself and Logan. A strong finishing Aaron finished in an excellent 6th place. Well done to all the boys who started and completed the course. We were very impressed by the determination shown by everyone to complete the course. 

Arguably the most anticipated race of the day was the Primary 5, 6 and 7 girls race. Our girls have been in good form this year and all taken turns being the most 'in-form' runner so we knew this would be an eye-watering contest. From the off, a quartet of runners (Sophie, Charlotte K, Sofia B and Logan R) formed at the head of the race- three of the girls very highly experienced runners who've trained well this year. Behind them, a pack of 5 girls gave chase including Clara R, Lily M and Lexi B. As the girls entered into the final lap, Charlotte had carved out a small lead of about 5 seconds which she would maintain to the finish to become this year's champion. Behind her, Sofia and Logan had been joined by Lily M who was absolutely charging. Just behind, Sophie and Lexi remained locked in a private battle for 5th and 6th place that would continue right to the final metres. What was once again very obvious was the incredible effort, tenacity and courage shown by all the competing girls. A special mention must also be made to a number of girls who very kindly hindered their own race in support of friends who were finding the course difficult- we were so very proud to see the amazing spirit on display. Well done to all the girls who saw out the distance to earn house points for their team. 

Our final two races of the day were our Foundation Stage Races. Primary 1 and 2 pupils were led round the course by some our older pupils who acted as hares and encouragers. Despite the tender ages of these children, the pace was frantic and what above all else was noteworthy were the mainly smiles on their faces. When they had finished, many of the pupils asked if they could have another race. Perhaps next year's event will have to be a longer course than the 300-400m pupils ran. The boys race was won by Reece B, showing that the entire family are incredibly talented runners. Behind him, Matthew C and Adam L led the charge for the line in what was a very closely packed race. Well done to all the smiling boys who completed the course successfully.

The Primary 1 and 2 Girls Race completed the programme in what was yet another closely contested race. Haley T led the pack home with Poppy K and Meadow McA taking the silver and bronze medal placings. Yet again, the smiling, determined faces proved a real winner with the spectators from older classes with large ripples of applause filling the playground as runners charged home. Well done to all the Primary 1 and 2 girls.

A final word of thanks is extended to all the teaching staff, classroom assistants and our Principal who made sure everything was in place to allow the event to run so smoothly. Our future cross country stars were on display today and the future looks very bright indeed. Well done to everyone. #TeamCastleGardens


Flahavan's Cross Country League 2023/2024 Round 3- Monday 15th January 2024

We awoke to a sprinkling of snow and frost covering the crowd and couldn't be certain that the third qualifying round of the Flahavan's Cross Country Series at Dunleath Playing Fields was going to proceed. The uncertainty was only heightened by the news that three of our team members had fallen ill over the weekend and we wish Zac, Lily M and Aaron speedy recoveries. After our morning team meeting, we set off for Downpatrick, taking the longer route via Crossgar with diversions in place. The series this year has featured some very 'interesting' courses and today was no different with a little bit of uncertainty until shortly before the start of where the course actually went. The car park at Dunleath Playing Fields was completely full by the time we had arrived but fortunately the leisure centre car park had the sanctuary of both car parking spaces and some very handy permanently installed brushes for cleaning football boots and cross country spikes- a real result! Braving the elements, we wrapped up in our layers and met to warm up. Once more, the races had been split in two with both our boys and girls part of the second series of races. 

Our five intrepid girls lined up at the start, each of them looking relaxed and fiercely determined. The course was remarkable in many ways, chief among them being the length of the grass- perhaps some local cows can be drafted in to remedy this for next year- it certainly was friesian enough (sorry!). As the runners rounded the first bend after the long opening straight, it was our very own Charlotte who was in the lead- an astonishingly bold tactic in the conditions and over the longer course. Behind her, Sofia and Logan were both moving well inside the top 25 places with Ella and Faye slightly further behind having made steadier starts. Half way through the first lap, Charlotte had now been joined by both Sofia and Logan with all three girls around 15th place. Faye meanwhile had moved steadily through the field picking up place after place with Ella doing her best to follow her. On the final lap, our trio of girls continued to trade places with Logan storming away at one point, striking out for home. As the girls turned for the final time, Sofia (19th) found a second wind and charged past Logan (20th) with only 50m to go. Hot on their heels, Charlotte unfortunately began to vomit but was quickly spurred on by both Mum and her Aunt and, being the unbelievable trooper that she is, Charlotte obliged with a final charge to the finish line in 31st place. Faye (56th) was our fourth runner to cross the line today- her progress this year has been remarkable and her fitness has steadily improved with every race. Our fifth runner crossing the line was Ella; another remarkable transformation this year, Ella (63rd) overtook two girls in the final two hundred metres despite being very tired herself- I couldn't possibly have been any prouder of her and the other girls. The girls team finished in 9th place.  

In the boys race, the pace was frantic from the start with the lead runner giving himself quite the motivational speech as he passed Mr Graham for the first time. Lukas and new signing Zac had been superb starts positioned inside the top 10 places and were looking comfortable. Our third runner, Danny, was nestled nicely inside the top 30 places and moving equally well with our final runner, Logan, not far behind. As we'd only four boys running today, each of them knew the importance of ensuring they finished the race strongly with four runners to count towards the team total. At the end of the first lap, Lukas had started to ease away from Zac who was still moving well. Behind him, Danny had continued to carve his way through the field and was on the fringes of the top 20 places. Logan too had responded to the challenge and had followed Danny's path through those in front of him. With only 400m left to run, Zac had managed to keep Lukas in his sights with both boys gaining ground on those in front of them. Rounding the final bend, Lukas stretched away once more nipping in front of a competitor just on the line to finish an excellent 7th place. Zac also held on for a top 10 finish- an excellent Castle Gardens debut. Danny maintained a very strong pace to the finish for an excellent run that saw him finish in 22nd place and only 15 seconds away from a top ten finish; a superb run. Logan's strong final lap saw him maintain a top 50 placing , finishing in a very pleasing 47th place. Thanks to the efforts of the four boys, the team finished in an excellent 4th place. 

Girls Race:
Sofia- 19th
Logan- 20th
Charlotte- 31st
Faye- 56th
Ella- 63rd

Boys Race
Lukas- 7th
Zac- 9th
Danny- 22nd
Logan- 47th


Flahavan's Cross Country League 2023/2024 Round 2- Monday 4th December 2023

It would be fair to say it was a cold and fairly bleak morning as our cross country team made the journey to Donard Park, Newcastle, for the second round of the Flahavan's Cross Country League. The temperature was significantly cooler than the previous round and it was most unusual course that greeted our runners as we arrived- the entire race being held around 1 football pitch! This meant that children would run 2 and 3/4 laps of the circuit to complete the 1km race distance. If that wasn't unusual enough, the nature of the course meant that the field would split and there would be 2 separate girls races followed by 2 separate boys races! We can only assume that, with finals positions up for grabs, the runners' times will then determine their final finishing positions when the results are combined. 

In the girls race, our 6 competing runners toed the line not disheartened by the cold weather. Our early morning weekend sessions have seen us training in all conditions and on all terrains so it was business as usual for our intrepid girls. Quickly at the front, Sofia appeared just on the fringes of the top 10. Behind her, Charlotte and Lily M were very well packed on the finges of the top 20 and 30 respectively, both girls having great runs. Logan was running her typically well-paced effort, eating up the ground and cutting through the pack with every stride as the race progressed. Our final two runners, Faye and Ella, were encouraging each other on the way round, taking turns to pass one another. Entering the final half lap, Sofia completed the course as the first Castle Gardens runner, looking to just about be inside the top 20- a cracking run from a P5 pupil! Behind her, Charlotte held strong and looked to be just inside the top 30 with Lily M charging home in what looked again like a personal best performance inside the top 40. Logan continued picking up further places all the way to the line with a fantastic late charge that saw her nip past two further girls on the final 100m. Meanwhile Ella, despite visibly suffering with cramp and from cold, gave her all to chase Faye all the way home and round up a great morning's work from the girls team. Well done to all our girls.

As the whistle sounded in the boys race, it was no surprise to find Lukas close to the front, moving well and looking very comfortable. Behind him, Zak had made an excellent start and looked to be just inside the top 20 with Danny closely behind. Slightly further back, Logan, Jaiden and Joel were locked in a three way tussle that was to continue for the vast majority of the race, the boys taking it in turns to push the pace and challenge each other. On the final lap of the race, Lukas was sitting in 8th position, tantalisingly close to 5th place but with a large group of about 6 runners very close behind. Danny had moved through the field superbly well and was now just ahead of Zac who was showing greate determination to be our second runner across the line. Logan, meanwhile, had just broken away from Jaiden and Joel who were straining to get back on level terms as the entered the final 200m of the race. Finishing under the inflatable banner, Lukas held strong for yet another top ten finish with Zac having enough strength to fight back and pass Danny before the finish- the boys looking to both be in the top 30 places. Logan produced an spirited finish, grabbing a further place right on the line under the banner as Jaiden put a small amount of daylight between himself and Joel to claim our 5th runner spot. Well done to all our boys racing in the very cold weather. 

Our thanks are extended to our families who made the long trip to Newcastle and back in support of their children and school. We cannot say loudly enough how proud we are of how our children conduct themselves on these occasions, how pleased we are with the brilliant effort they always make, and how grateful we are for the parental support. Thank you and well done to everyone. 


Girls 1Km race
18th Sofia B
29th Charlotte K
38th Lily M
48th Logan R
66th Faye F
70th Ella D

Boys 1Km Race:
8th Lukas K
28th Zac B
30th Danny W
56th Logan A
58th Jaiden P
59th Joel B


Comber Cup Cross Country 2023- Sunday 19th November 2023

We had a team of 10 runners assemble for the Comber Cup Cross Country hosted by Ballydrain Harriers at Billy Neil Playing Fields, Dundonald. The course, a tough 1km out and back route, was almost swamp-like in places with children slipping, sliding and sinking into the mud going both up and downhill. In such conditions, it is imperative that laces are fastened well and this is something we made sure to do before the race set off at twelve noon. Inspecting the course with the children is always fun but never more so than today; the giggles and squeals of delight as the children realised they were inevitably going to be caked in mud was hilarious! Soon enough after our warm up and stretching, however, it was time for the main event!

From the viewpoint at the top of the hill at the far end of the course, the start was at an absolutely incredible pace, children almost dive-bombing down the hill from the start line and slip-sliding around the corner to set themselves up for the first climb of the day. At the front of the race, Lukas had settled in very well as always, looking very comfortable inside the top 10 places. Behind him, Zac led the way from the trip of younger sister Sofia, Charlotte and Lily M. The girls were closely followed by team-mate Logan and Danny who was looking very focused as he climbed the hill. Our next runner was the ever-smiling Faye (making her cross country debut), with Ella and Leo not too far behind as the runners made their way up the hill through the mud and down the other side to the turning point at half way.

Rounding the turn, the runners were faced with a stiff headwind and another hill climb in swamp-like conditions. By this point, almost all the runners were facially showing signs of exertion, their breathing heavy with legs full of lactic acid as they made their way to the finish. Lukas had consolidated his position, closed the gap on the leaders, and actually moved into 6th position as he entered the final downhill stretch. Behind him, Danny had overtaken 4 Castle Gardens runners to become our second runner- a position he maintained to the finish line. Zac was our next runner to crest the hill into the headwind, looking somewhat weary by now but still moving with determination and purpose on the stretch for home. Our fourth runner was our first girl, Sofia, who was closely followed by our next three runners who were all girls; Charlotte had moved some 10 metres clear of Lily with Logan charging in the second half of the race as she always does. Behind them, debutant Faye rallied valiantly up the final climb desperate to hold off the advances of Ella and Leo who were locked in battle with runners from Comber High School and each other. 

On a day like today, every single runner deserves credit for battling through a very challenging route in very challenging conditions. All of our runners conducted themselves superbly and tried their very best. They were cheered on at various points on the course by staff and parents, some of whom were moving very spritely indeed and were actually warming up for their own races later! As always, our thanks is extended to our families for their unwavering support for their children; we are humbled and very grateful for your encouragement and help (taking photos too!) to make our attendance at these events as possible. But the biggest thanks today is for our runners themselves- an amazing effort as always and, as was pointed out by several extended family members today, it was so lovely to see smiles amongst the grimaces as you did battle. You should all be very proud of yourselves today. A special mention also for Faye- what a tough race to make your debut!

Photos and video (at the very bottom of the page) are below. 

Mr Graham & Mr Gray. 


Comber Cup Cross Country Highlights 2023


Flahavan's Cross Country League 2023/2024 Round 1- Monday 23 October 2023

We were fortunate that the rain forecast last week didn't arrive this morning as we made our way to Londonderry Park for the opening round of the Flahavan's Cross Country League. A cool wind whipped across the park as runners gathered to inspect the course and think carefully about footwear choices. Runners faced a 1km run with a large outer and smaller inner loop that would test them with the wind impeding their progress on several parts of the course. Underfoot, ground conditions were reasonably firm with just a couple of softer areas that seemed likely to cut up as the morning races went on.

In the opening 'Fun Run' race of the day, Castle Gardens had five pupils toeing the line, each of them making their Castle Gardens debuts. At they reached the far end of the park, Aaron was in a commanding 4th place having made a blistering start. Behind him, Caitlin hugged the fence tightly trying to get shelter from the headwind. Slightly further back in the field, Emily, Abby and Leo were all packed closely together. Coming back into view on the inner loop, Aaron had fought bravely to maintain a place inside the top 15 but was now beginning to tire. Further back, Caitlin was wrestling with a group of runners from schools around the county, constantly trading places. Emily, Leo and Abby came next, all passing one another before spurring on their teammates to challenge them once more. At the finish, all looked tested by the course and distance but had very much to be proud of; there were even some smiles! A fantastic effort from each and every one of our runners on their debut performances. Well done, Team Castle Gardens.

Next up was the girls race. After a ferocious start, the Castle Gardens team packed well together in the middle third of the race. Sofia, Charlotte, Lily B and Lily M were all close together with Logan (another debutant) just behind. Ella, also making her debut, had made a cautious start but was beginning to move through the field and looking very comfortable. As the legs began to burn with lactic acid, Charlotte made her move in the middle part of the race; passing Sofia, she also moved clear of Lily B and Lily M. Running a very strong final third of the race, Charlotte continued to pick up places and did indeed finish as the first Castle Gardens runner. A resurgent Sofia finished strongly as our second counter battling the wind all the way down the finishing straight, fending off the chasing pack. Behind her, Lily M made a storming finish, desperate to try to catch Logan who had run a sensational middle section of the race to move ahead of her. Lily B, meanwhile, had unfortunately suffered a nasty fall which required medical attention; thankfully she was alright. Our final runner, Ella, made a strong finish to the race; powering home she managed to take an extra place on the final straight. Congratulations to all our girls on their very promising season debuts. We look forward to seeing you all race again shortly.

The final race of the day saw the turn of the boys to take on the 1km circuit. From the off, the pace was frantic with lots of shoving and pushing seeing some runners lucky to keep their feet. As the runners entered the far end of the park, Lukas was right in contention with the leading pack and looking very comfortable. Behind him, the experienced Zac was followed closely by debutants, Danny, Seth, Jaiden and Logan. As the runners emerged from the treeline at the far end of the park, Lukas had now taken up 5th position and was hot on the heels of 4th place, only a small handful of seconds behind the leading trio who were working equally as hard. Danny had now passed Zac and was making a charge for him. Logan and Jaiden had now traded places with Logan running a very mature race. Seth, meanwhile, had unfortunately taken a nasty fall as the course narrowed significantly, bringing his race to a very unlucky end. Rounding the final corner and heading for the finish, Lukas was in a battle for 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places- a battle that continued all the way to the line. Danny held off a resurgent Zac for an excellent second place finish for the Castle Gardens Team. Logan and Jaiden had equally strong finishing fending off runners behind them with Logan managing to grab an extra place on the line. Congratulations to all our boys for their fantastic efforts on their season debuts.

A final word of thanks is extended to our families who attended and supported all our runners. Your time, energy and enthusiasm was very greatly appreciated by the children, Mr Gray and Mr Graham.

Castle Gardens Results:

Fun Run:

21st Aaron

76th Caitlin

82nd Emily

83rd Leo

84th Abby

Girls Race:

47th Charlotte

64th Sofia

88th Lily MC

92nd Logan

135th Ella

Boys Race:

7th Lukas

74th Danny

88th Zac

93rd Logan

117th Jaiden


Flahavan's Cross Country Final 2023- Friday 3rd March 2023

The Northern Ireland Final of the Flahavan's Cross Country League took place this morning (Friday 3rd March 2023) at Mallusk Playing Fields, Belfast. To reach the final is a tough task with runners competing over a series of three races with their best two results counting. Only five individual athletes and the top three teams from each region qualify leading to a very high calibre field for the finals. Castle Gardens were very proudly and ably represented by Calvin & Lukas Kennedy in the boys' race with the brothers having qualified as individuals with consistently strong performances in each of the qualifying rounds. In the final, runners race one lap of the 1400m circuit following the treeline at the perimeter of the fields and up the bank onto the higher playing fields. This morning, a cool breeze greeted runners as they entered their start pens. The ground underfoot was very firm and after a good warm up and some stretching, Calvin and Lukas were ready to go. 

From the moment the starter's whistle sounded, the runners streamed down the opening straight at speed. Very quickly the group of some 200 hundred runners were whittled down to single file at the front. After some 400m, the leaders came into view with Calvin nestled well inside the top 10; a fantastic start. Further back, Lukas had started a little more conservatively but looked very comfortable as he began to work his way through the large pack.

Reaching the halfway point, Calvin was still looking very strong and in a tussle for 10th, 11th and 12th place as runners settled into their races. Passing the same point moments later, Lukas had continued to pick up places, weaving his way through the runners who had started too quickly. As the runners climbed the bank onto the upper fields, the gaps were beginning to grow. Turning back into the wind, Calvin sped down the embankment and turned the final corner heading for home with the positions from 8th to 20th very closely packed together. With 150m to run, Calvin looked to be in about 14th or 15th position and we await the final positions with anticipation as the top 20 runners are invited to join a Northern Ireland development squad for the remainder of the year. Having finished 75th last year, Calvin has made excellent progress and this could mark the start of a promising post-primary running journey for him. Not far behind him, Lukas had continued to make great progress through the field and was still passing runners into the final 100m; a fantastically mature run for a P6 pupil with much to look forward to next year.

At the finish line, the ground was strewn with runners who'd given their all in the race for the finish line. School is remarkably proud of Calvin & Lukas for reaching the final; both boys have worked consistently hard to prepare and displayed a fantastic attitude throughout. Congratulations to them both and to all the other runners who reached the final alongside them. Both boys received a Flahavan's goodie bag to conclude their cross country season.


Flahavan's Cross Country League Final 2023 Photographs

Flahavan's Cross Country Round 3- Monday 16th February 2023

The final Flahavan's Cross Country League race took place at Londonderry Park, Newtownards this morning and, as usual, the Castle Gardens team were out in force, determined to perform their best on home soil. An unusual two lap course awaited the children, snaking in, out and around the many football pitches at the park. Despite the ground being pretty firm and the course appearing at first glance appearing to be on the short side, it quickly proved to be very testing for the runners. 

First up were our girls team. A very fast start saw many runners over-commit but our girls paced it well with Lily B, Iris and Lily M being the first to come into view having settled well in the pack. Behind them, Alisa, Addyson and Victoria were having their own private battle with the girls exchanging places throughout the entire race. Onto the second lap and Lily B had moved clear of her two team mates, picking up some places of fast-starting runners in front of her- she finished our first counter today. Behind her, Lily M had moved ahead of Iris with a look of determination in her eyes but as they approached the finish line, Iris rallied and the girls finished absolutely level with one another- it will be very interesting to see who the chip timer has clocked as finishing first! In the latter part of the race, Addyson began to pull ahead of her two team mates with Alisa and Victoria pushing each other to the finish. Well done to the girls for their fantastic effort today- as evidenced by all the finishers, the course was much tougher than it had appeared at first glance.

Our boys were the final competitors of the day and the ground had been cut up a little by the previous two races. Nonetheless, the boys made excellent starts with Calvin appearing hot on the heels of the race leader and winner of the previous two rounds. Behind him, brother Lukas and class mate Daniel had started quickly also but both looked very comfortable and were starting to move through the pack. Oliver too had made the best start of any of his races this season and was looked incredibly focused as he made his way out on the first of the two lap circuit. Our final team member, Mason, despite his young age had made a fast but sistainable and sensible start, using Oliver as his pace guide. As the runners headed out on their final circuit, Calvin was still in a medal position and incredibly close to the race lead. On the latter part of the final lap, the gap to the leader opened only slightly as Calvin showed fabulous speed endurance and strength to maintain a medal position, finishing in third place. Lukas had continued to move through the field and was now inside the top 10 with Daniel following his lead and moving into the top 15 places. On the final bend, both Lukas and Daniel made their moves with Lukas finishing an excellent eighth place and very close to the sixth placed runner. Daniel made a similar charge and may have just sneaked into the top ten with a tenth or possibly eleventh placed finish. Very pleasingly, Oliver continued his strong start with an excellent fight on the final circuit and a very strong determined finish- an excellent way to finish the cross country series. Mason too finished strongly, chargring past two runners in the final 200m to see out the race- he has a bright future being only a Primary Five pupil and conceding two years to the majority of the runners lining up alongside him.

As always, Mr Gray and Mr Graham were delighted to be able to support the team to their excellent performances. The children behaved impeccably and gave it their best. Our thanks, as ever, are extended to our children and their families for their support in preparing for the races, with transport and for their encouragement on the day. Well done to all our runners; you should be very proud.

We will now wait to hear if any of our athletes have qualified for the Flahavan's Cross Country Final on Friday 3rd March 2023 at Mallusk Playing Fields. 


Castle Gardens House Cross Country Championships 2023

We were delighted to host our inaugural House Cross Country Championships on Thursday 9th February 2023. Key Stage 1 children competed over a distance of 800m while Key Stage 2 runners raced over a 1200m distance. Children earned house points for completing the course and also an individual certificate to acknowledge their achievement. There were also individual medals for the first 3 finishers in each of the four races.

All four races were keenly contested and we were specifically delighted with the enthusiasm, determination and camaraderie that was evident among the children. Well done to everyone for representing your houses so well and congratulation to those who finished the course and also experienced individual success.


P3 and P4 Boys

1st- Alex H - P3 - Strangford

2nd- Joel B - P4 - Mount Stewart

3rd- Jordy B – P4 - Castle

P3 and P4 Girls

1st- Sofia B – P4 - Castle

2nd- Logan R – P4 - Scrabo

3rd- Elsie G – P3- Scrabo

P5, P6 & P7 Boys

1st- Calvin K- P7 - Strangford

2nd- Lukas K – P6 - Strangford

3rd- Daniel F – P7 – Mount Stewart

P5, P6 & P7 Girls

1st- Lily B – P6 - Castle

2nd- Iris K – P7 – Mount Stewart

3rd- Lily M – P6 – Mount Stewart

House Team Competition Results

1st-  Mount Stewart - 557 points

2nd-  Castle – 602 points

3rd-  Strangford – 627 points

4th-  Scrabo – 631 points


Castle Garden's House Cross Country Championships 2023- Video Highlights


Flahavan's Cross Country Round 2: Monday 16th January 2023

After the December postponement of Round 2 of the Flahavan's Cross Cross Country Series, we were delighted to be back racing today with a squad of 11 runners making the trip to Delamont Country Park.

The 1.2km route involved children completing a short loop followed by a longer loop into the finish line. The varying underfoot conditions made for a very testing course with runners having to negotiate patches of frozen grass, marshy muddy sections, hills, and some long grass! 

First up were our girls team at 11:15am. Right from the off, Iris and Lily B made strong starts, followed by Lily M not too far behind. AlisaAddyson and Victoria packed well in the middle of the sizeable field. At the end of the short loop, all the runners could be seen to be working hard- the undulating and uneven surface taking its toll on everyone alike. Back into the sunshine and along the perimeter of the park, Iris led the way home for the Castle Gardens team with Lily B finishing at speed closely behind. Lily M was our third counter today with another strong run which showed her application. Our fourth runner, having her strongest run to date, was Victoria; a great performance after training with the squad last week. Alisa and Addyson completed our team, both girls racing one another all the way to the finish line which saw them pass a number of other competitors in the run in to the finish. Well done to all our girls for the grit and determination they showed in testing conditions. 

Next up were the boys. At 11:30am the whistle blew to send the large field on their way. At the front, there was a strong Castle Gardens presence with CalvinLukas and Daniel all appearing in the first twenty places with the former very much in the mix for the lead. Oliver and Zac made determined but sensible starts in the middle of the pack, looking to push on strongly in the latter half of the race. Finishing the first loop, Calvin was looking focused in second place at the the head of a pack of five runners. Lukas was also running very strongly on the fringes of the top ten places with Daniel on the fringe of the top twenty. Oliver and Zac looked comfortable and were beginning to pick up places. With the finish approaching, the runners came into view at the top of the hill on the horizon. Calvin was one of four boys in a line- each in contention for second place. Lukas had maintained his position well in the middle of the race while Daniel had made a fantastic surge taking him from the edges of the top twenty almost onto Lukas' shoulder. Behind him, Oliver made a stunning charge down the hill and onto the home straight helping him to pick up five extra places on the run in. Zac, following Oliver's lead, also made a very strong finish picking up several places in the last hundred metres. Well done to our boys team for another fabulous effort on a tough course. 

Our thanks are offered to our fabulous parents who both helped transport runners to and from the race and were a brilliant source of support before, during and after the race. Well done to all our runners who, as always, made Mr Gray and Mr Graham very proud with how they conducted themselves and the effort they made. 


Comber Cup Cross Country: Sunday 20th November 2022

We'd a fantastic turn out for the Primary School race at the Comber Cup today with thirteen runners toeing the line in very cold conditions. The course was just under 1Km but featured a tough, leg sapping climb as the ground underneath was very heavy indeed from recent rain. 

Right from the starter's whistle, there was a strong Castle Gardens presence with 3 runners in the top five and Calvin leading the pack out of the starting field followed closely by Daniel and Lukas. In behind, the remaining Castle Gardens runners packed tightly together as they headed for the hill with Lily B and Lily M leading the way for the girls.

Following the climb, runners continued over the far side of the hill before turning around and retracing their steps back to the finish. Coming back into view, Calvin was still leading the way with Daniel and Lukas remaining in contention as other runners began to bunch for the finish. Oliver had made his way through the pack with a strong middle section of the race, followed by Lily B  who had also picked up places. Sofia, making her debut, stormed through the latter part of the race picking up place after place in the run in to the finish. Lily M appeared next with a late charge that saw her claw back several places as she entered the finishing field while close behind were Mason and Kyler, the latter making his debut, as both boys pushed hard to finish ahead of one another. Another stirring finish was produced by Addyson who is reaping the benefits of recent training and looking fitter as weeks go by. Alisa came through next, ensuring she defended her place all the way to the line- a typically gutsy performance as always. Very well done to Victoria who sustained an ankle injury as a result of a push at the start but still managed to make it to the finish- we are very proud that she was able to finish the course.

At the finish, Calvin ran out a worthy winner holding off all challengers in the finishing field for a fantastic victory.  Both Lukas (4th) and Daniel (5th) also finished in the top 5 places- absolutely outstanding performances. As always, we were very proud of all our children who represented us in very challenging conditions on a tough course. There is a lovely team spirit to match the talent within our squad and it is such a pleasure to see our children flourish. Full results will be published on the Athletics Northern Ireland website at a later date.

Thank you to our parents and staff for supporting our runners this morning and to Ballydrain Harriers for hosting the races. 


Flahavan's Cross Country league Round 1: Monday 10th October 2022

We'd a fantastic morning at the opening round of the Flahavan's Primary Schools' Cross Country League, held in the glorious autumnal sunshine at Henry Jones Playing Fields, Castlereagh. The course covered a very undulating 1km which took the children around the outside of the football pitches and through several pieces of woodland with the organisers saving a very challenging climb for just before the finish.

First up were the girls. The pace was frantic at the start and while she lost a shoe early in the race, Iris recovered well to finish strongly as our second runner behind Lily B who ran a very strong and determined race throughout to be our first runner home. A very strong finish from Alisa saw her surge right alongside Lily M right on the finish line, both girls running great races in their first outing this year. Our team was completed by Victoria who after powering up the final hill held off a very fast finishing Addyson. Our congratulations are extended to all our girls who represented themselves and school so very admirably. 

The boys followed the same route as the girls race, the ground a little heavier following the earlier fun runs and girls' event. Right from the start, there was a strong Castle Gardens presence near the front with Calvin, Lukas and Daniel all featuring inside the top 20 places. At the finish, Calvin came through for an outstanding 4th place, a whisker away from a medal. Younger brother Lukas was also inside the top 10 with a great performance and a lightning quick finish. Daniel was next across the line with another excellent performance to finish in the front section of the race. Oliver ran a strong race to finish as our fourth counter, holding off the extremely spirited performances of our two youngest team members, Zac and Mason. Both Zac and Mason were determined to chase Oliver all the way home and this helped all three runners to finish the race very strongly. A very big congratulations to all our boys who put on a great display.

Our final thanks are reserved for our support team- thank you to Glen Johnston for his generosity of time in transporting the children to and from the races; it is very greatly appreciated. Thank you also to our parents who were able to make themselves available to come and support their children and the wider school team- your presence and energy undoubtedly helped spur all our runners on.

Results should be published soon and we await confirmation of the location of round two which is due to take place on 12th December.