The Weekly News – 16/04/2018


Thursday night saw the start of another Hill and Dale Series – something which I never miss. Well I did on Thursday, as having spent the best part of the day in Crumlin Road Prison, I’m  innocent by the way, I was exhausted  ( a sort off lag lag?) and by the time I’d had a quick forty winks the almost 300 runners were lining upon the start line in Castlewellan Park. Not that it made any difference to me as I had totally forgotten about the race anyway.


However there was a good turnout from EDAC, proving that not everyone from the Club “slept in” and Deirdre Weatherall, inspired by her experiences in the Cross Country League recently, set out her marker for the Series ahead by clocking 42.26 in her first ever H&D race, finishing in 63rd place overall, and 2nd in her category, despite having to contend with a broken finger nail!!

Next in was another Club New Boy, Niall Gibney who ran impressively to finish in 43.39 just ahead of fellow clubman, Michael Cultra  43.54.

Then it was Jonny Kelly 46.50, a second “debutant” John Taylor, 49.32, who was actually taking part in his first cross country in 10 years, remarking on the near 300 strong entry, that in those days they were lucky to get 80 runners,  Paddy McDonald 50.02,  Cheryl Denvir 50.28, which gave her 3rd place in the FV/Over 40 category.

Cheryl Denvir and Deidre Weatherall compare notes after Deidre’s first attempt at Hill and Dale event

Cheryl Denvir and Deidre Weatherall compare notes after Deidre’s first attempt at Hill and Dale event


However pride of place this week, goes to Brian Hamilton, who not only remembered the date and time of the race but also what to do with his feet when he got there, by fairly scampering round the route to claim victory in the MV70 category in 50.36. Excellent running Brian.


Completing the East Down contingent were Janine Murray 57.23 and Oonagh Breteche 57.24, though it goes without saying that the East Down numbers will be considerably increased when next weekend’s London Marathon and the Belfast City Marathon 2 week’s later are over.

On the subject of which East Down sends its best wishes to all its members and to all others from the Newry Mourne and Down District Council area who are taking part in either of these events but adds a few words of warning to make sure to hydrate well beforehand, don’t go too fast if you discover that it’s several degrees warmer than it has been for months and take water on board at every opportunity. It is better to keep in mind what happened to Callum Hawkins in the Commonwealth Games marathon on Sunday, whose retirement from the race he was about to win, was in my view, due to dehydration caused by the strong sun and heat, which he was totally unaccustomed to.


On Saturday the NIMRA Mourne Highline Mountain race saw the local challenge almost obliterated by the invasion of high quality athletes from across England, Scotland and Wales in what was the first round of the 2018 British Championships. Neil Andrews was again prominent finishing in 53rd place in 1.53.18, while Niall Gibney, having tasted the action on Thursday came back for more and was rewarded with a 2.37.36 time. Well done to him – that’s what I’d call going in at the deep end!


After the taster at Bangor Track last week some of the junior athletes returned for a second go at stadium racing. It was an equally chilly night but at least the rain stayed away. The event run by Lagan Valley was well drilled and a full range of events was rattled off in quick succession with all on the road home by 9.30pm. Oliver Robinson was the sole male EDAC Junior and took on 3 events with a satisfying rack of results – 4/31 in U13 100m,  6th/20 in U13 800m and 6th/16 in long jump. Job well done!

Lauren Madine took a confident 1st/20 in U13 100m and then took to the track for a second time in the U13 800m. She came 3rd with 4th place going to Lucy Foster. Ella Telford came 12th out of 18 in the same event. In U11 600m we had 3 juniors on the start line and Jodi Foster in a superb finish came 2nd with Kari Foster 6th and Emily Burns 13th out of 20. Iona Bunbury ran doggedly to take 13/25 in a packed field in the U15 100m and also gave the long Jump a rattle. Kirsti Foster ran a controlled 800m to come 3rd/16 in the U15 age group. The last race of the night saw Edie Carroll in the mix and a well judged pace saw her work her way up to 4/12 in U17 1500m. All in all a good night out with the next one due in 2 weeks’ time.


On Saturday 21 April the Ballynahinch Lions are hosting their annual 10K race at 1.30pm in aid of Lions Charities.  The 5K race, which begins later at 2.30pm is an ideal test for the many Couch to 5K runners in the district who have recently “qualified” A Team trophy is also on offer in the 10K for mixed teams of men and women, the first 3 of each from a club to count for team scores. There are plenty of places still available with online entry at .  So if you’re contemplating watching the London marathon, here’s your conscience easer for sitting in on Sunday morning. Please give this event your full support.


The now well established and increasingly popular 3 Lakes Challenge goes ahead this year on Saturday 12 May with 2 options for runners of all abilities, a 7K and 15k.  Both races begin at 11.00am at the picturesque Lakeside Inn, on the Drumcullen Rd, near the Ballydugan Mill, just outside Downpatrick. Online registration is open at and will save time on the day if you can do so in advance. Medals and refreshments to all competitors and refreshments available to purchase for supporters and friends at the Lakeside Inn.

The proceeds are donated by the hard working Lions to charities and in addition to the nominated Downs Syndrome Association it is intended that a donation will also be made to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust this year. I will be opening a Just Giving page soon for those who may wish to support this particular charity but who are unable or unavailable to run.

Joe Quinn & Alison Carroll


16 April 2018

The Weekly News – 09/04/2018


At the first North Down AC track meeting of the year held at the Bangor Sportsplex, last Thursday night, a few EDAC junior athletes put their toe to the line. As the races are run as time trials and athletes enter in mixed age categories, the results are not easily reported but suffice to say it was a useful exercise for those who attended in terms of trying various distances and getting the feel of the track. The following took part; Iona Bunbury and Lauren Madine both did long jump and 150m. Lauren also ran the 600m as did Kirsti Foster, Lucy Foster and Edie Carroll. Laura Gardiner on a visit home from university gave the 3k a go. It was a cold night and breezy to boot so here’s hoping that the temperatures rise a bit before the first of the series at Mary Peter’s Track next Thursday.


Dermot Cahill returned to Omagh last Saturday the scene of his previous pb for the Half Marathon distance and despite it not being the most user friendly route in the calendar, he improved his pb by over one minute his 1.29.27 comparing very well the with his 2017 time of 1.30 28.

There was a new pb 1.55.01also for the only other East Down AC athlete to take part, Carmel Tumelty, who week in week out, continues to chisel away at those times and gets her just rewards for her relaxed, unflappable attitude to running. She always enjoys it and has a smile for everyone.  Well Done Carmel

Carmel Tumelty - Omagh half Marathon

Carmel Tumelty – Omagh Half Marathon

Pictured Dermot Cahill EDAC and Gerard McAuley, Newcastle & District after Saturday's Omagh Half Marathon showing how international peace is always possible.!!

Pictured Dermot Cahill EDAC and Gerard McAuley, Newcastle & District after Saturday’s Omagh Half Marathon showing how international peace is always possible.!!

Chris Smith also ran in this event clocking a respectable 1.45. This is an achievement after his recurrent niggles. His son Aaron who has recently rejoined EDAC ranks gave it a go too. Somewhat of a challenge with lack of preparation but it is obvious that he is going to throw himself into club membership with enthusiasm! Good to see.



Clare Carson, Kevin Kelly and Stephen Heasley all flew the EDAC flag in the Paris marathon this weekend. Clare discovered that the EDAC colours mimic the Spanish Flag and hence she got more support than she might expected which was a welcome surprise indeed. The route takes in many iconic sights and the atmosphere was uplifting according to the feedback. The warm weather that the rest of us are jealously craving was declared a little warm for running but they all finished in one piece albeit with slower recorded times than they might have initially targeted. However given that marathon training is a long and weary road and each in turn had time out with injury they did well to persevere and get the job done. It appears that they would all recommend this event to anyone thinking of an away marathon in the future.

Stephen Heasley, Clare Carson and Kevin Kelly - Paris Marathon April 8th

Stephen Heasley, Clare Carson and Kevin Kelly – Paris Marathon April 8th


At the Castlewellan Spring Lakes Challenge hosted by Castlewellan GAA on Sunday a couple of our younger members Matthew Taylor (30th out of 77) and William Taylor (57th) romped round the 5k loop in perfect Spring like conditions. Mum and dad, John and Nuala did the 10k and declared it a pleasant route. Well done the Family Taylor!


Sunday morning was a beautiful one for running and almost 1000 men and women gathered in the Titanic Quarter for the annual 10K road race.  Stephen Scullion, representing Clonliffe Harriers, was undoubtedly the class act in the race and by the time he passed my marshalling point at around 7K he was well clear of the field, led by Chris Madden, City of Lisburn with Mark Long City of Derry Spartans in third. This order was maintained until the end, with Scullion  crossing the finish line in 30.29, almost one minute ahead of Madden.


The Ladies race was more competitive, for the minor placings as no one could hold a candle to Mourne Runners Laura Graham who won in 35.27, with North Belfast’s Gladys Ganiel 36.50 holding onto second place by  a mere 7 seconds from North Down’s fast finishing Rachel Gibson.


The first of the East Down vests to cross the line was worn by Mark Milligan, who clocked 35.51 to claim 25th place overall.

The next East Down runner to appear was Davy Foster 38.24 in 56th  place followed by Paul Burns 39.06 in 66th place and Joanne Foster 41.41 looking in great shape and taking an excellent 125th place overall.

Mark O’Connor 44.13 and 156th went past complaining about someone having forced him to eat too many chocolate Easter eggs, a complaint too many of us seem to suffer from at this time of year, and Tracey McCaughey 54.24 timed her run to perfection to claim 500th place.

Well Done to all who took part in any of the venues mentioned.


The Downpatrick Lions Club annual 3 Lakes races take place this year on Saturday 12th  May beginning at 11.00am to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association but additionally is hoping to help promote the needs of another charity, the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. It is aiming to attract a good turnout from local clubs. The races are promoted strongly by East Down Athletics Club and organised by Atlas Running. For more information please contact Adrian Daye on 07876560015, or alternatively via email:


I have a particular interest in any attempts to raise funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) and its primary aim of finding a cure for this particular illness so by way of me taking a greater interest in the Charity’s operations, I have agreed to become a sort of unofficial ambassador for the Trust in NI.  As the 3 Lakes event this year will be my first official duty in this capacity, though whether “official” and “duty” are appropriate words to use in the context of  the  “unofficial, ambassadorial” nature of the role I don’t know. Anyway be that as it may, I am opening a Just Giving page for any of my friends in the running fraternity, who may wish to support the races but are unable to get to them and indeed for anyone who wants to wish me well in this position or who has a soft spot for this particular charity.


Joe Quinn & Alison Carroll

9 April 2018

The Weekly News 02/04/18

Larne took place on the eve of Jimmy’s 10 and as such was overshadowed in the aftermath but on the day itself it was a Red Letter Day for many club members who had been training hard. The course is one of the tough ones with a heartbreak hill which strikes at 8/9 miles just as fatigue kicks in. The subsequent sharp downhill ensures that the legs are left in a jelly like state to ensure that the last 3 miles are a challenging slog. Dee Murray ran a great race coming in at the front of the EDAC troop in 1 hour 24. Deidre Weatherall who hasn’t yet decided if she likes half marathons managed 1.34. Gavin Hynds wasn’t far behind. Liz O’Hagan, Catherine Gilchrist, Gareth Amos and Janine Murray  completed the travelling party and finished in that order. Janine has yet to get back to full strength and suffered badly with blisters as well so is unlikely to retain this as a good memory but the rest were satisfied with their labours. It is worth noting that all apart from Gavin (who had marshalling duties to keep him busy)  managed to give the 10k a whirl the next day so plenty of miles clocked up.

After the excitement of the re-organised Jimmy’s Ten last weekend, it was almost as though Easter took over the running fraternity’s thinking this weekend, as thoughts of unseasonal weather and being indoors with an unhealthy supply of chocolate eggs seemed to dominate even the hardiest of outdoor pursuits devotees.

Nevertheless , Mark O’Connor took advantage of the sun on Sunday to travel to Ballygalget for the Annual Community 10K and 5K Fun Run and Walk. I had intended to go myself but seemed to have picked up the same bug as last year so stayed at home to avoid infecting the peninsula. Mark in fact was the only East Down runner there, on what turned out to be a lovely day, and he finished in 43.02, 1st Over 50 Male and overall 15th place in a field of 122 runners.


On the same day, Easter Sunday 1st  April, also known as April Fool’s Day, almost 100 turned up at 8.00am at Greenisland Golf Club for the Knockathon, another in the EAMS Series of Ultra marathons, this one involving 3  x 10 mile laps up to Knockagh Monument and back. Quite why I referred to Fool’s Day in the opening lines of this I don’t know, but again East Down had one runner in the 30 mile race, Declan Teague, who reported that they got 4 seasons weather in the course of his 4 hours 37 minutes stay in it, starting off sunny but chilly, turning to snow on he way up the hill on the second lap, incidentally his fastest of the three, to positively Spring like on the third. though with present climactic changes I’m not too sure exactly what that means!

And at the finish he was a secure 4th place finisher, 12 minutes behind the 3rd placed man and 15 ahead of the 5th  So we wish him Bon Voyage as he heads off for a well earned break and some weather watching in the South Atlantic.

Barrie Atkinson invited  Sinead Hanna away for the Easter Weekend and managed not only to clock 28.55 in the Beragh 5 Mile which gave him 8th place but also to encourage Sinead to complete her first official Parkrun choosing Derry as the venue. She was delighted to record this milestone but may watch herself as she may find herself recruited to take part in the XC next year if the EDAC ladies get to hear about it

Last week’s report inadvertently missed out on some very important performances by Junior club members with the hurly burly of finalising things afterwards. Hopefully what follows will put the record straight and allocate honour where it is due.

The winning Mixed team in the Relay comprised Oliver Robinson and Emily Burns, who combined tremendously well to cross the line in 44.23, 90th place overall. That was a superb bit of running as they are both still at Primary School and augurs well for the future. Also to be commended are Aoife Burke and Jack Carson 49.08, Rian McShane and Ben Carson in 53.44, Cormac and Shane O’Hare, 54.05 and a special word of Congratulations to Tia Baniff, a former junior, who completed her first ever 10K in 71.58

And there were several others who I have been unable to identify who also ran, so Well Done to all of them too.


On Saturday it’s the turn of Omagh to host its annual Half Marathon and on Sunday it’s back to Belfast for the Titanic Quarter 10K.

Joe Quinn

Finally – don’t forget that MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL  is in full swing. Well done to those of you who have completed the paperwork and paid. Your ANI number will no longer be valid if you have not so call down to the club asap or contact Gareth at


The Weekly News – 26/03/2018


What a difference a week makes!! Just 7 days after the gloom that had descended on East Down AC following the postponement of Jimmy’s Ten last Sunday, came the joy at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Relief as well was another palpable emotion felt by everyone involved at the actual staging the race. A week’s intensive work by East Down members and the good offices of a wide range of outside bodies led to the event taking place just one week late.  The advent of a beautiful Spring morning greeted the organisers as they took advantage of the extra hour’s sunlight to stage what was described by some as a “miraculous turnaround”.


Of course putting on an event like Jimmy’s Ten can cause inconvenience at the best of times and even more so when it has to be rearranged at short notice. East Down AC wish it to be known that they apologise to anyone who did not hear of the re-arranged details or was affected in any way by the road closures and hold ups brought about by Sunday’s race. Every effort was made by the Club and other bodies to highlight the new arrangements but we acknowledge that not everyone heard. We sincerely hope that you were not delayed in either reaching your place of worship, the horse racing at Downpatrick Racecourse or indeed any other destination on Sunday morning.

IN the absence of any of the previous winners in either the Men’s or Women’s races there was always going to be new names to be inscribed on the winners Shield. In the event, despite the difficulties caused by last week’s postponement, the delay enabled several runners who were not due to take part , because of other commitments, to enter and to contribute to the contest at the front. Although Mark McKinstry, North Belfast Harriers, eventually ran out the clear winner, his time of 31.45 giving him a 68 second advantage  over Willowfield’s Neil Weir, less than 24 hours since he took 3rd place in the Larne Half Marathon, with another 5 second gap between him and 3rd placed Gerard Heaney unattached. Emmett McGinty 4th from City of  Derry Spartans just held off the challenge of East Down’s Aaron McGrady, a runner who has improved out of all recognition this year and who is targeting Jimmy’s Ten next year as his No. 1 priority. I wouldn’t bet against him achieving his goal.

Jimmy's 10K Men's Podium

Jimmy’s 10K Men’s Podium

Not all that far behind Aaron came the tough as teak and ever dependable Martin Willcox 36.07, in 9th place and 1st Male Over 45, followed by another to look out for in the coming months Ciaran Denvir 37.04 in 15th place.


The next East Down vest to appear was worn by Catherine O’Connor 38.15, in overall 19th place, who thanks to last week’s postponement was prevailed on to run this time and set her place in the history of the race by becoming the first East Down AC member to win the Ladies race.


Out of the 596 finishers there were 36 runners under the 40 minute barrier, a pretty good percentage by today’s standard.

And continuing the good cross country form he has shown all year Dee Murray 39.24 was comfortably inside that number claiming 25th place, while young Callum Kent 39.33 was right behind, as the second leg runner in the winning Relay duo formed with another East Down man James Savage. Tracey Atkinson Albertville  39.37  and Susan Smyth Dromore AC 39.43 won the 2nd and 3rd Ladies prizes in 29th and 30th places respectively while Dermot Cahill 39.48 was the last EDAC man to cross the line in sub 40 minutes, setting a new pb in the process, having taken his lead from the 40 minute pacer, East Down’s Paul Burns, an excellent spot on run in 39.53. Perhaps he’ll get it spot on next year!!

Liam Keenan was not particularly pleased with posting 42.18, just behind clubmates Colin Shields and Deirdre Weatherall, though he should be pleased as punch given his lack of proper training I recent months. The first All Female Relay Team, East Down’s Lauren Madine and Anna Gardiner 41.24 finished just ahead of this group, which also comprised the second all Female Relay team of Lucy and Kirsti Foster 41.58.

My postman, Neil Young, did extremely well to finish in 42.55, so customers on his round can expect a first class delivery tomorrow – but no bills for me please! East Down debutant Niall Gibney looked comfortable with his 43.34, while Edie Carroll simply cruised in at 43.37, to claim the Female Junior prize followed by Aoife Cochrane in 44.16. Another debutant in Club colours was Garry Walsh in 44.31, with Cheryl Denvir, Paddy McDonald, Michael Morrissey, Michael Robinson, Conor Findlay another promising Junior making his debut at the distance and John Manley all in close proximity. Conor’s Mum Wendy made it into the top 200 finishers taking 197th place . Marguerite Robinson led the next squad of EDAC men and women comprising Seaus Savage, Liz O’Hagen, Tracey McCaughey, Roisin Gaffney, Ian McCracken, Alison Graham, Cathy Burke, Gavin McConvey, Joanne Carson, Catherine Gilchrist, Janine Murray, Cathy Flinn and Laura Smith who all crept in under the 60 minute mark while Sean Sealey and Mags Flynn were only slightly beyond it.

However the prize for he most appropriate placing goes to Karen McFall, running number 541, who finished in 541st place. She’s gong looking for number 1 next year!


East Down athletes were also busy at two other venues during the week, with several doubling up with 2 races including Jimmy’s Ten on Sunday. Half Marathon performances as shown in attached spreadsheet. Details of Queen’s & Larne performances to follow next week.


Joe Quinn

26 March 2018

The Weekly News – 19/03/2018


Last year my opening line of my Jimmy’s Ten report read
“A dull, damp start gave way to dry, even sunny and mild conditions as Jimmy’s Ten hit the road again on Sunday with a record breaking 908 finishers runners enjoying the early Spring warmth….” and then followed details of how the race proceeded and who won etc. etc.
This year I just wish I had something to write about other than the weather.


For as most of you know the snow, YES the SNOW, in mid-March caused the postponement of this year’s race, early on Sunday morning , a mere 3 hours before the runners were due to hit the roads. To describe the mood of those assembled in the Clubrooms at around 7.30am on Sunday morning as “deeply disappointed” would be an understatement of epic proportions but the reality was that there was no way in which the organisers could permit the race to take place, purely and simply because it would have been dangerous to have done so. Car parks, streets and roads were all covered with a generous coating of snow, from overnight showers.

Course Inspection - Quay Bay Junction

Course Inspection – Quay Bay Junction

Course Inspection - English Street

Course Inspection – English Street

In “normal circumstances” a new date would have been set by the organisers and conveyed to the runners within hours of the postponement. Unfortunately these are not “normal circumstances” as recent legislation means that the organisers of events occurring on public roads must request a Licence from NM&DC, at a cost of £600, and bring in a traffic management company to implement the road closures authorised on the Licence, even in situations where no road closures are sought or needed. (approx cost for Jimmy’s Ten 2018 is £1,200).

Clearly this will affect most of the road races organised in and around Downpatrick, as they tend to be small, low key events which struggle to get over 100 runners taking part, as the potential income from the event will be consumed by the cost of organising it. Hence local clubs and some charitable organisations will struggle to survive in the absence of these small though vital sources of income.

While I am advised by the NM&DDC that consultation did take place prior to the introduction of this latest procedure, there was no approach made to my club East Down AC or to any of the potential victims of the legislation, certainly no one from any of the running clubs locally or throughout NI, that I have spoken to, recalls any such action. I am also led to believe that there was a strong lobby from the film industry for this type of legislation, though how road running came to be caught up in it baffles me.

Basically what happened was that The Roads (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 amended the Road Traffic Regulation (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, by inserting clauses to provide powers, delegated to the local councils, to prohibit or restrict the use of public roads for the purpose of holding special events on them ….”
Schedule 3A to the Regulation requires an organiser of a “Special Event” defined as (a) “Any sporting event, social event or entertainment which is held on a public road, or The making of a film on a public road” to apply for a Licence to hold the event. There is no right of appeal against the Council’s decision, though the fee payable will not be reimbursed if the application is refused.
Examples of possible “special events” could include: Fun runs/marathons etc
(Excluded are public processions and motor road races etc.)

In my view the whole legislative procedures fall down because they do not provide exemption for the small, local events, say a Fun Run, where the number of runners has not and never will exceed 150, where road closures are not necessary or asked for by the organisers, which have been taking place for years without complaint from anyone and have never caused any restriction to the use of roads.
Because of the terms of the licence awarded for Jimmy’s Ten on Sunday 18 March it was not possible for race organisers to decide on a date to re-schedule the race without consulting with NM&DDC officials, a situation exacerbated by the public holiday on Monday which meant contact was impossible until Tuesday everyone is in a state of limbo as I write.

On what with hindsight will become known as mild and balmy Saturday, a few of our intrepid distance runners took part in the EAMS 6 Hour St. Patrick’s Day Challenge, which meant running as many times around a 4.2 mile circuit from Gideons Green to Loughshore Bandstand as they could in 6 hours.
Describing conditions as the toughest, most unpleasant they had ever encountered, with chilling winds, whipping up the waves and showering them in icy sea water across the sea wall, Declan Tague and Phillip Vint nevertheless persevered for 5 minutes over 4 hours to complete 7 laps, claiming 7th and 8th places in the 29 mile category before heading off to watch the rugby. Clare Carson contented herself with 3 laps to complete the half marathon in 1hour 56 minutes , the first of the 3 lappers, well done to you Clare!
Davy Foster completed 4 laps in 2.07 to take 7th place while Linda Cunningham was the sole EDAC representative on Saturday morning’s Craic 10K in Belfast, clocking 56.50.

Matthew McGrattan raced at the All Ireland Indoor T&F Championships in the U19 400m. There was a good number of entrants after a disappointing turn out at Ulster level and consequently a tough field but it is very good to see an EDAC vest in the mix at this level. Well done Matthew.

Philip Vint 141 and Declan Teague on Saturday during the EAMS 6 Hour Challenge

Philip Vint 141 and Declan Teague on Saturday during the EAMS 6 Hour Challenge

Joe Quinn
19 March 2018

The Weekly News – 12/03/2018


The weather was specially ordered, sunny and calm, with a chance of cloud around midday, to keep the runners cool. And not only that but the whole meeting had been pushed back by outside events until the 2nd week in March, a full 4 weeks later than in 2017. However, on the day the weather was wild with heavy rain from early in the morning and a cold, strong wind doing its best to knock the runners off their feet. Nevertheless the racing was equally exhilarating – a full card comprsing 10 races on the ambulance track – great spectating for the onlookers. Hilly finish was a tough challenge. I never cease to be amazed by the courage of the kids in this particular event, who turn up every year in record numbers, ignore the conditions, run their races, get their medals and refreshments and head off to some other sporting event. Well Done everyone.


The support of Phoenix Natural Gas added “a glow” to the proceedings – all children racing or not, got a treat bag and bottles of water to keep them fuelled. The team from the company were here, there and everywhere with flags and cheers and their photographer captured the atmosphere with Podium pictures. Loughview Integrated Primary School Girls retained their schools team title, with a superb effort, placing 2nd, 4th 5th and 6th for a total of 17 points to hold onto the John McKeag Shield and to ice the cake the Loughview Boys also won their team event, the first time such a double has been completed, placing 2nd 3rd 5th and7th to match the girls score.
The remarkable nonagenarian John McKeag was present to watch the racing and to hand out the Shield named in his honour and the East Down AC Shield to the Boys, together with the trophies to the winning team members, even if by then most of the children and teachers had departed for warmer climes, reportedly in Pyeongchang, South Korea?

The Fancy Fox Coffee trailer did a roaring trade. Parents, spectators and helpers alike enjoyed the hot drinks and the home baked goodies on offer.

Roisin Gaffney (EDAC) John McKeag and Geri Wright - Communications Manager (Phoenix Natural Gas)

Roisin Gaffney (EDAC) John McKeag and Geri Wright – Communications Manager (Phoenix Natural Gas)

U15 Girls Podium (1st) Libby Maloney, Megan Briggs (2nd), Eve

U15 Girls Podium (1st) Libby Maloney, Megan Briggs (2nd), Eve Kennelly (3rd)

u15 Boys Podium Jakob Swann (1st), Kyle Ross (2nd), Niall McKnight (3rd)

u15 Boys Podium Jakob Swann (1st), Kyle Ross (2nd), Niall McKnight (3rd)

The adults got the worst of the weather if that was possible and Orangegrove AC who had made it their 5K club race fielding 20 runners in the process, slugged it out in the grim conditions, taking 1st and 3rd places through Michael Broadhead 18.28 and David Montgomery 18.58, divided only by the unattached Gareth Kelly 18.57. The evergreen Cathy McCourt 19.18 was first Woman, in 4th place overall. Prizes were given out to much applause and everyone went home slightly thawed by the soup and the banter, some also en route to the Korean peninsula, or more likely to watch Ireland win the 6 Nations trophy.


A huge debt of thanks is owed to all who braved the elements on Saturday, to staff from the sponsors Phoenix Natural Gas, whose first association with the Rollercoaster Event and East Down AC this was, the registrars, the marshals and officials, Ambutran staff for First Aid cover, volunteer club members, parents, teachers, to Wrap’N’Roll to everyone connected with the event and to the Down Race Club for the use of their premises.


Carmel Tumelty - Bohermeen Half Marathon

Carmel Tumelty – Bohermeen Half Marathon

Carmel Tumelty was the only East Down runner in the Bohermeen Half Marathon, also called the Meath Spring Half Marathon, on Sunday but was undaunted by the absence of familiar faces, not counting Francis of course who finished ahead of her, as she rung in another pb 1.56.28 for the distance, knocking over 2 minutes of her previous best and taking 631st place in a field of over 900 runners. Obviously her cross country training is paying dividends now that she’s back on the roads.


On Saturday past Declan Teague 3.38.46 took 4th place in what he described as horrible weather at Shane’s Castle where the latest mileage junkies were out in force in the Atlas Running crew had laid on a Half, Full and Ultra Marathon course in the Castle grounds, one that by all accounts was very good and provided some shelter from the elements. Declan said he “only did the marathon” but seeing that his negative split for the 2 halves was over 6 and a half minutes I reckon he could have stayed out another lap! Linda Cunningham East Down and Jacqui Moore Murlough both 5.55, also confined their efforts to the marathon, but there was no such dilemma for Michael Cultra who was impressive in the Ultra (39.6 miles), coming home in 6th place in 6.35.


A little further up the road in Derry/L/Derry to be precise Barrie Atkinson made a welcome return to racing when he competed in the SSE Airtricity 10 Mile Road Race on Sunday and travelled the distance in just 27 seconds over the hour, which gave him 12th place overall and 5th in his category M45. An excellent time given his lack of hard training in recent months. Well done Barrie.
Clare Carson also ran in the same race, postponed from the previous Sunday due to weather conditions, clocking an eyecatching 80.51 which made her 28th overall Female finisher and 4th in the F45 category. Well done Clare.

One of our sponsors, Darren Brown, owner of Soaring Productions, has promised some ground breaking footage of this year’s Jimmy’s Ten Road Race, next Sunday the 18th March morning.

Darren is a qualified and licensed drone cameraman who works regularly for local TV stations and who has been producing high quality film footage across NI for several years now. He has been a very proud Sponsor of Jimmy’s 10K for many years and he is looking forward to capturing some spectacular aerial video footage and photographs of the 2018 Run.
This Year is even more special as Jimmy’s 10K celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary and to add to the occasion Darren is wanting to film a human JIMMY’S TEN using the drone from on high but he needs as many runners as possible to make themselves available no later than 10.30am on race day, next Sunday, at East Down’s Clubrooms on Ballydugan road Downpatrick.

Everyone will be welcome to assist with this enterprise which will simply involve the runners standing still one behind the other with hands resting on the shoulders of the one in front in a pre-ordained spot.

Please don’t be shy, this will be an historic moment for all concerned! AND Darren will be streaming Jimmy’s 10K Start & Finish line LIVE from the Drone. Just “Like” ‘’ on facebook and on the day search, or get your friends to search, on facebook for: Soaring Productions Jimmy’s 10K Live ”

Joe Quinn from East Down Athletics Club and Darren Brown from Soaring Productions putting the Drone through it's paces before Jimmy’s 10K Run on Sunday 18th March.

Joe Quinn from East Down Athletics Club and Darren Brown from Soaring Productions putting the Drone through it’s paces before Jimmy’s 10K Run on Sunday 18th March.

Joe Quinn & Alison Carroll

12 March 2018

The Weekly News – 05/03/2018


For those of you not familiar with road racing there is an excellent opportunity to come and experience this type of running on Saturday, whether as a participant or as a spectator in spectacular surroundings. Over the past 6/7 years East Down has hosted a series of races, now referred to the Rollercoaster Races around the local horse racing circuit,  which over the years has built up a reputation as one of the best venues for such an activity anywhere in the country. The beauty of it is that, because it is run on the tarmac access road around the horse racing track, it is best described as “on the roads but off the road” and being traffic free is extremely safe, something which makes it a perfect environment for children. Additionally the fact that children can run without getting their feet wet or dirty has made it more attractive  than many of the cross country venues which are the norm at this time of year. The children have responded in record numbers, with local schools sending dozens of children every year and many parents bringing their children individually when the schools have not been able to get involved.

This year’s event this coming Saturday is much later in the calendar than usual but promises to be the best yet. Brand new sponsors in the shape of Phoenix Natural Gas have been signed up and are promising a range of healthy goodies from their Fuelling Station afterwards, and a medal for every child competitor, So make sure your child doesn’t miss this one. Races begin at 11.00am which is an hour earlier than in previous years and Registration for all junior races begins at 9.00am.

Rollercoaster Preview

Back Row L to R:- Tom McClean (Chairman EDAC) Jonathan Martindale (Phoenix natural Gas) Joe Quinn (Race Director)
Front Row L to R:- Alex Robinson, Mia Proctor- Amos, Oliver Robinson, Lena Proctor- Amos at Downpatrick Racecourse


And of course there will be a full programme of races culminating with the Open 5K race over a 5K distance. This one, though described by some as the toughest 5K in Co. Down, isn’t really, it’s more like the toughest in the country!


Be that as it may, it’s actually ideal for everyone, whether beginner or experienced veteran.  As most runners will know Downpatrick doesn’t have a Parkrun, probably because it doesn’t have a park, but most tend to be along flat paths or woodland trails where literally hundreds of runners of every shape and size and every level of ability come together every Saturday morning to run 5K.


So the challenge this week is to come and try your hand (and feet?) at something more testing than your normal, in your comfort zone, type of run. This race is for anyone who wants to try something a little different. And there are plenty of EDAC members in that category, not to mention all the “eccentrics” in other clubs locally and further afield.

The added advantage of running the Rollercoaster is that you get a lie in on Saturday morning as the 5K race doesn’t begin until 1.15pm, as opposed o 9.30am start for your normal parkrun, which means that you’ll be well rested before you take on the ups and downs that makes this race what it is. Incidentally there are no jumps or hurdles in the race, though it’s not exactly “flat racing” either.


East Down runners will use the race this year as a “time trial” where each one predicts their finishing time and then runs without a watch or any other timing device to see who can run closest to their predicted time. Anyone found to be contravening this rule will be severely dealt with!


Refreshments will also be available for all spectators courtesy of the Fancy Fox, a mobile coffee bar in the shape of a horse box which will dispense tea, coffee, hot chocolate and light snacks at reasonable prices.


With less than 2 weeks remaining until Jimmy’s Ten takes to the streets and roads again, on Sunday 18 March to be exact, almost all the places have been sold. There are around 50 still up for grabs at and when they’re gone they’re gone. No entries will be taken on the day so if you want to run what could well be the last Jimmy’s Ten, given the recent introduction of new legislation governing the use of the roads for running. More on this next week.


Joe Quinn

5 March 2018