Killyleagh Half Marathon & Relay


Please note that if you’re thinking of running the Killyleagh Half on Saturday that online entries closes at midnight on Wednesday 24th August and that this is the last chance to enter at the lower price.  Entries will be taken on Saturday morning in the Bridge Centre, at increased price, so to save yourself money and to reduce concerns which might arise if you’re delayed in getting there on Saturday morning – there is a small Black Mens parade out of the village, towards Comber, at 9.15 am which might delay runners arriving from Comber or from Saintfield through Shrigley, – please enter online now.

Also if you’re not running could you please lend a hand at marshalling?  If so, please contact Joe on 07933214894 and/or go to the Briefing session in the Bridge centre on Thursday night (25th) at 7.00pm .

Thank you.


This Week’s News

To most of us keeping up with the variety and scale of the events on offer at the Rio Olympics over the past 2 weeks was a marathon undertaking, if you’ll pardon the pun  However it was nothing in comparison with trying to keep tabs on the involvement of East Down runners in all the running events which were taking place on the roads, paths, trails and mountains in that same period.  I counted 26 since 5th August but there were several more which have not been included in that total.  However the fact that many of these races did not attract any East Down runners can only be discovered by perusing the subsequent results, a task made more difficult by the failure of the race organisers to publish the club names of the participants.  Anyway suffice to say that the first reference to EDAC that I came across was Megan Wilson’s impressive 5th place overall and 2nd Female finisher in the gruelling Seven Sevens Mountain race which she completed in 4 hours and 33 minutes, with Davy Foster in 31st place in a time of 5 hours 42 minutes.  I don’t know why it’s called the Seven Sevens either but it involves visiting 8 of the Mourne’s highest mountain tops. 


The next one I came across was Andrew Telford and Ciaran Denvir’s 3rd  and 4th places respectively in the Darragh Cross 10K last Sunday, highly respectable efforts on a tough course with both of them breaking the 40 minute barrier. It was good to see the return of Catherine O’Connor to competitive running and her 40.50 was good enough to give her victory in the Women’s race. Ian McCracken and Robert Miskelly kept up their recent good form with times of 52.10 and 62. 54 respectively.

However it must be said that East Down runners totally dominated the Fun Run, with its athletes taking the first 6 places, led by Matthew McGrattan 23.12 with Kirsti Foster 23.58 in 2nd  Mackenzie Murray 24.19 in 3rd,  Lucy Foster 24.34 in 4th , Jodi Foster 25.04 in 5th and Aoife Cochrane 26.05 in 6th.


On to Friday night and another new event, the Lecale Way 10K, which began and ended outside the Cable Bar in Ballyhornan.  Those of you with any sort of memory will recall that the weather forecast for Friday was horrendous, or at least it predicted horrendous weather, I suppose the forecast was fine, but which in the event proved less than accurate.  Admittedly the wind along the wild, rocky cliff tops was strong, but thankfully onshore for what turned out to be a challenging run, including stretches of sandy beach, rough, uneven trails and sharp, jagged rocks underfoot.  That’s not to mention the thorny whin bushes which were less than welcoming to at least one visit from my posterior. Another reason I suppose to carry a bum bag? Bet Usain and Mo never have problems like that!

The race was deservedly won by Ballydrain’s Richard Coey, just reward for his persistence following 3 runners – up places in recent weeks and the degree of difficulty of the course should be judged by his time of 42.01, which is at least 5 minutes slower than his normal 19K time. 


A special word has to be recorded on the performance of Matthew McGrattan, one of East Down’s top junior sprinters, who, fresh from his success in Darragh Cross, finished 6th overall in a time of 47.23.  Given the aforementioned nature of the course, this was a tremendous run by any standard and probably made all the sweeter by the fact that he was 9 places and 7 minutes ahead of his father Simon.  Young people are no respecters of age any more!! Matthew’s Mum Eithne and Bernice McCann have never given a thought to their times anyway and continue to inspire just by taking part with enthusiasm and great joy. I too have long since ceased to be concerned about finishing times either, and had a lovely run in with Murlough’s Paula McKibbin, but just wonder if my Garmin needs its batteries replaced as it indicated a 2 minute faster time than the official chip time. 


Then on Saturday Megan Wilson was at it again, her 58.44 and overall14th place enabled her to finish in top Woman in the Slieve Bernagh race, while in the same location though a little closer to sea level, Sean Sealey  was East Down’s sole representative in the Dambusters half marathon, which is based mainly in the beautiful Silent Valley, and he could be well pleased with a time of 2.07.03. 


Quadrathon is perhaps a new word in the runners vocabulary but one which will I believe achieve much more common usage in the years ahead. There wasn’t a Tripathon, not that I’m aware of anyway, so we have jumped from Duathlon, though that involves a bike ride so may not count, but whatever the terminology used, the Quadrathon is described as

“a 4 day festival of running that goes way beyond the race itself where runners & walkers get to experience up to 100 mile of amazing coastal scenery and the sound of lapping waves that form the northerly start of the now world renowned Wild Atlantic Way.” So it is no picnic.

Where else then would you expect to find our own ultra endurance maestro, (sorry I don’t know whether there is a female version of “maestro”) Linda Cunningham? This most modest and under stated of our members, Linda decided that she wanted to take part.  Reasoning that it was only 26.2 miles on each of 4 consecutive days, beginning on Thursday 11 August, not unlike some of the training regimes she had endured in the past, she set out her stall and did it. Just to put that into perspective she ran for 22 hours 58 minutes and 20 seconds which is the equivalent to 1 day out of the 4!!  She finished 108th of 149 finishers. Olympians – Match that!!

Superb effort Linda – truly inspirational. Please take a few weeks, or even a few days, off.


Two big local events this weekend, beginning on Friday night with the Strangford Festival 10K which begins at 7.00pm.  Race HQ is in the Inverbrena Community Centre. Collection of Race Packsfor pre-entrants on Thursday 25th from 7 pm to 9pm and from 5pm on Race Day. Entries will also be taken on the evening of the race from the same time.


East Down Athletics Club is organising a Half Marathon and Relay race on Saturday 27 August in Killyleagh on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society Charity. 

Online entries are open until midnight tonight Wed 26 August at but the organisers stress that entries will be taken on the day from 9.00am onwards in the Bridge centre Killyleagh. A special commemorative medal will be given to the first 300 runners in the half marathon.

A 3 person Relay competition is also on offer as an alternative for those who do not yet feel up to the full 13.1 miles distance, with runners covering legs of approx 4 miles, 5 miles or 4.1 miles. So a big appeal is being made to runners everywhere to come and support this charity. 


Organisers are delighted to announce that the following local shops and businesses have come forward to sponsor the event:- T M Martin and Son, Garage and Car Sales, Cross St,  Lorraine Lawson of Kingfisher Craft Gallery, High St,  Alfie Murray, Butchers, Cross St, Brian O’Hare, the Central Bar, Cross St, Elvis Kirk, Skip Hire and Contractor, Shrigley, Killyleagh Box Company, Shrigley, the International Bar, Cross St, the Dufferin Arms in High St, Spar Supermarket and Filling Station, Catherine St, Campbell’s Shop and Garage, Downpatrick Rd, Serene Skincare, High St. and Wrap and Roll, Coffee and Sandwich Bar, Church St Downpatrick.

Further information can be obtained from by email from Joe Quinn or 07933214894.

Joe Quinn

22 August 2016

Killyleagh Half Marathon & Relay

Killyleagh Half Marathon

East Down Athletics Club is organising a new Half Marathon on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society (there are 20,000 people in Northern Ireland with Dementia) on Saturday 27 August 2016 in Killyleagh which also includes a 3 person relay event with runners completing approximately 4 mile, 6 mile and 3.1 mile legs. Bespoke event medals will be presented to all Half Marathon finishers. The race starts at 10:30 am and registration opens at 9:00 am. If you would like to take part on-line entry is open, though entries will also be taken on the morning of the race at Race HQ in the Bridge Centre, Killyleagh.

The race route can be viewed by following the link below:-


If you aren’t running that day and would be available to help with marshalling on the course or to assist with giving out drinks at the Water Stations along the route your help would be greatly appreciated.

If you can help please contact Joe Quinn on  or phone 07933214894

Thank you.

Thursday night senior training sessions

Departing EDAC Clubhouse at 7:15pm sharp:

11 August      1 mile – 2 mile – 1 mile (Tempo pace)

18 August      Intervals – 6 minute effort, then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (recovery is half of effort)

25 August      10min@10k pace + 15 min@5k pace

1 Sept            6 X 1km with 2 minute recovery

8 Sept            8 X 800m with 90 second recovery

15 Sept          5K Time Trial

Each training session will begin with a warm up of 15 mins slow jog and finish with a cool down of 15 mins slow jog back to the clubhouse and on the night we will divide into groups of runners of similar ability.

This Week’s News


Not to be outdone with the glamour of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, I too have been to two venues right here on our doorstep, in the past week, not normally mentioned when exotic hotspots are being discussed. Copa Crossgar and Rio De Delamont may not have the same ring to them as their more illustrious cousins but believe me they’re every bit as scenic and attractive not to mention much more tolerant of our thermal needs as anything Brazil can offer.


The 5th running of the Kilmore Rec and Crossgar Community Association 5 Miles Road Race on Monday night showed that with a little TLC everything will grow. With the race organisation now in the very capable hands of Crossgar Harriers it has grown into a 10K, and a very well presented event it was too. The race itself was a ding dong battle all the way between Newcastle ACs Colum Campbell and Ballydrain’s Richard Coey with the seasider just holding on by one second at the line to leave Richard the runner up for the second year in a row.  The Ladies winner, also in a closely contested battle, was Amy Bulman by just 2 seconds from North Belfast’s Mary Margaret Meade with Newcastle’s Sinead Murtagh in third.


On to Saturday and up (or down, depending on where you live) the road a few miles to Delamont Country Park where another very different 10K was waiting.  This one around the trails, roads and leafy glades of this beautiful settings, with the sun shining and the sea glistening.  Could anything top this?  I sometimes think we are blessed to live in such a stunning area of natural beauty.  Perhaps we don’t always appreciate it but everyone who was there on Saturday for what was a very tough race, I believe, certainly did.

This one was won by East Down’s Martin Willcox with Ballydrain’s Richard Coey again in second place, while Mary Margaret Meade won the Ladies contest from East Down’s Joanne Foster, who is making a fine recovery from injury. I had the good fortune not only to get to run there but to have the excellent company of Robert Miskellly throughout, and met many more folks who all appreciated the excellent refreshments afterwards.  The next one in this triple bill organised by the Daye brothers and Atlas Running is the Lecale Way 10K on Friday 19th August  and I’m looking forward to this multi terrain race, I should add, much more than my legs are!


Simon and Eithne McGrattan spent the day out together on the North Antrim coast, enjoying the scenery and completing the 26.39 miles that makes up this ultra event between Portrush and Ballycastle. Their finishing time, though in this type of event largely irrelevant, was an impressive 6.32 and indicative of the degree of difficulty of the race. The other East Down representative was Sean Sealey, who should be more than happy with a time of 2.33 in the half marathon.


Monday noon and still I am unable to find official results from the weekend races.  This is a common occurrence which quite honestly is unsatisfactory.  With the present technology in use and for which runners pay as part of their race entry fee, there is really no excuse for not having results available at this time. Also in spite of the amount of information asked for by organisers, which in some cases falls just short of asking what you’ve had for your breakfast, the names of the clubs to which runners belong are not included.  It is not long ago that the officials used to take pride in getting the results published by the end of race day – using the old manual system of pencils paper and stopwatches!  Sometimes progress is a backward step!  So come on you techies, get your acts together – us ordinary mortals who are trying to pull together reports such are you are hopefully now reading, need this information.


On Sunday next 14th August the annual Darragh Cross Charity 10K race and 4 mile Fun Run take place with registration from 11.00am in the GAC Club. The race begins at 12.30pm and it is hoped that the new day and start time will prove popular.  The proceeds will be donated this year to Bloodwise. After the Darragh Cross race the next local race is the Strangford Festival 10K on Friday 26th August.


All energies have been focussing on the inaugural Half Marathon in Killyleagh on Saturday 27th August, which promises to be a top class exciting event which has caught the imagination of many local businessmen and traders who have come on board with a variety of sponsorships.

Online entry is open at and a link to the route map is also available.  If anyone needs any further information about this event please contact me on 07933214894 or by email on

Joe Quinn

8 August 2016Delamont 10K

This Week’s News


In the absence of all previous winners there was always going to be a new name on the roll of honour of this year’s  RGU 10K Road Race, held in ideal conditions on last Wednesday night. Newcastle AC fielded the nucleus of their Rockets squad from last weekend in Castleblaney and swept the board by winning all the Male categories except for the Over 55’s and also won the Ladies race. Host club East Down had to settle for 2nd overall, with another fine run from Barrie Atkinson, while Ed Dunbar from Moray Road Runners took third place.   Newcastle extended their domination by taking the Man’s Over 35 and Over 45 prizes, through Paul Byrne and John Kelly respectively


The Ladies race saw last year’s runner up  Newcastle’s Sinead Murtagh claim the winner’s accolade this time, Diane Watson from City of Lisburn improving last years third place by one and Patricia McKibben Murlough AC, taking the third podium position. The Over 35, over 45 and Over 55 prizes went to Susan Smyth, Dromore AC, Alison Carroll, East Down, and Anne McCormick Murlough respectively


The relay was won by the East Down pairing of Daniel Atkinson and Andrew Telford while last year’s winners of the Female category East Down’s Hannah Gilliland and Edie Carroll held onto their title. 


Gareth Fegan and Davy Foster made the long journey to Cookstown for the annual Half Marathon on Sunday in which James Magennis was more than happy to clock 1.41


This “quaintly” named event was always likely to catch the attention of some of East Down’s “seekers of the different” races.  And so it proved on Sunday past when a combined East Down/Murlough AC squad made their way to the less quaintly named Gortrush Industrial Estate to take on the delights of the Omagh countryside over Marathon and Half Marathon distances, for the very worthy Cash for Kids charity.  Pre race publicity stated “This is an all road run up through Omagh town and then a scenic route to pigeon top”.  In my experience pigeons are not lowland, earthbound creatures so it was no great surprise to have it later described as “very hilly” by ultimate endurance man Simon McGrattan. I think we get the picture.

Anyway in the absence of the official results the performance of the day award goes to Mickey Cunningham who clocked an incredible 4 hours and ten minutes despite having taken a turn for the worse in the final 10K.  It also marked the return to the running scene of Frank McCann, who took on the half marathon together with Bernice, what a truly inspiring couple. The understated but utterly determined Eithne McGrattan also deserves a mention as she eyes up next weeks Ballycastle to Portrush ultra marathon, posting 5.42.

On Friday night Michael McKeown took part in the Giants Trail 10K and was first Male O/50 in 45.55. 


East Down was honoured on Thursday night to welcome Gerry Duffy to its Clubrooms where the champion Ironman athlete and well known endurance runner gave an inspirational talk to a good crowd.  The Club is extremely grateful to Gerry, who has delivered motivational presentations to multi national companies, for giving up his valuable time to be with them.


The Darragh Cross 10K and 5K Fun Run has moved to a new day and time, scheduled this year for Sunday 14th August at 1.00pm. This year’s charity is Bloodwise, so please give it your support.


Plans are well advanced in the organisation of the Killyleagh Half Marathon and 3 person Relay which is taking place on Saturday 27 August – please note revised start time of 10.30 am –  in aid of the Alzheimers Society. Local traders and businesses have proved supportive with sponsorship and a great day is in prospect. This will be the first ever half marathon in Killyleagh and it is hoped that all local runners will come and be part of this historic event.

Joe Quinn