EAMS VALENTINE’S DAY 6 HOUR CHALLENGE
Linda Cunningham and Jacqueline Moore and Paula McKibbin all completed the Lusk Marathon on Saturday the latest in the East of Ireland Marathon Series, finishing in close proximity to each other in 5.33.
ARMAGH INTERNATIONAL STREET RACES
On a bitterly cold night East Down’s Robinson brothers certainly warmed up the spectators with 2 red hot displays in the Primary School races at the Armagh International events on Tuesday. Alex won a prize for his top ten placing in a field of almost 200 children, while Olly just missed out on a similar placing, finishing 12th in another huge field. Both boys were representing St Mary’s Primary School, Newcastle so well done to them.
CATHERINE GIVES IT A WHIRL AT ARMAGH INTERNATIONAL
The only EDAC senior to attend was Catherine O’Connor. She is to be commended for putting herself on the line in this high profile event as it is not for the faint hearted due to the standard of the field and the resultant hair raising pace. She acquitted herself admirably coming 48/132 in a sprightly time of 10.24 for the 3k event.
JUNIORS GIRLS FLYING THE FLAG IN SCOTLAND
Lara and Keira Proctor-Amos were racing in Scotland this weekend representing their Cadet Wing – Lara’s team have qualified as a result for next stage and while Keira’s team did not qualify she was pleased to be the first NI cadet across the line in her Age
Group. Well Done girls.
LAST ONE STANDING (LOS)
The 2018 edition of Last One Standing was a very different proposition than last year what with a totally new 4.2 miles route and the now much more experienced attitude of virtually all the participants. For the most part, all of the runners showed a quietly confident demeanour, as indeed well they might, given that most of them were by now hardened participants having taken part in at least one of the many ultra type runs which have begun to dominate the fixtures.
Basically the format is that everyone starts at 12 noon and runs or walks or both a 4.2 miles circuit in and around the beautiful surroundings of the Castleward Estate. Then everyone has to be on the start line again at 1.00pm to repeat the route again, and every hour thereafter. It is not a distance race. It is purely and simply a test of endurance stamina, bloody mindedness and an ability to tell the time! No exceptions would be made for anyone who did not cross the finish line within 60 minutes or who failed to cross the start line again at the beginning of the next hour. And so on while there was still more than one runner who met the criteria.
EAST DOWN AC RUNNERS HAVE MIXED FORTUNES
I started with all the other hopefuls, intending to do 1 lap or 2 at most, whether I was timed out or not. In fact I managed the first one in 53.30, I wasn’t last and had actually overtaken Ballydrain’s Richard Coey who went on to complete 16 laps, halfway round. He was walking and deep in conversation with a fellow competitor at the time, though that’s irrelevant. He eventually overtook me again and posted his opening round at 51.35 against mine of 53.30. Fellow club men who also started , Michael Cultra recorded 51.19 his slowest lap apart from his last one out of the 15 (63 miles) he completed before simply opting out and going home and Keith Reilly 47.35, his fastest lap out of the 9 (37.8 miles) he completed before stomach pains forced him to retire. He said he was “hugely disappointed as the 12 hour mark was my minimum target and that this event continues to toy with me” However Keith, don’t worry about it 9 laps is still a tremendous achievement and there will be plenty more opportunities to slay your demons, in the future.
To put things in perspective I only managed another lap, as despite my best efforts I could only manage to finish it in 62 minutes and was timed out. However as I had decided that 2 would be my absolute maximum anyway I was happy to pack it in and head for the food tent. In the course of that second lap, poor deluded fool that I was I actually got to thinking that as I was the last one out there and was still standing (or standing still I suppose would be a better description) I could conceivably lay claim to the title of Last One. Standing. But that would require a lot of persuasion and the insertion of a strategic full stop or comma in the wording on the trophy! No chance.
LOS vs 24 HOUR
I believe it is much more difficult to undertake this type of event than a 24 hour race which challenges participants to run as far as they can in a 24 hour period. In that contest runners have control of when and how far and at what pace they run, when and for how long they rest, when they eat etc. whereas in the LOS challenge the necessity is to maintain a pace, which enables the runner to complete the 4.2 miles lap inside 60 minutes and then to get back onto the start line on the next hour and repeat that every hour for as long as it takes until you’re the only one left – and then if you are that person you have to complete 1 lap alone and finish inside the 60 minutes to claim your trophy. It also goes without saying that it is more difficult to train for the LOS type of event.
Pre – race favourite and 2016 winner Bobbie Irvine (Seapark AC) was the epitome of cool beforehand, relaxed and at ease, while chatting with all and sundry, others just sat and relaxed, partaking of all sorts of energy enhancing foodstuffs and washing them down with copious amounts of water as staying hydrated is the most important part of the preparations.
And what a battle he put up for the title once again, keeping going for 34 laps (142.8 miles) before being timed out, leaving the tough as nails Peter Cromie Roe Valley Cycles to complete lap 35 (147 miles) alone and in a speedy 42 minutes, nearly his fastest time time of all he had done before.
Louise Smart Co Antrim Harriers was the Last Lady Standing, completing 25 laps (105 Miles) before she was timed out.
LAST ONE STANDING OTHER RACES
Saturday morning brought near perfect conditions which augured well for the near 100 strong field competing for the title Last one Standing (LOS). Meantime Matthew McGrattan, fresh from his success last weekend in Athlone were he was crowned NI and Ulster Indoor 400 metres Champion upped his distance though clearly not his tempo, this time to take second place over the 1 lap opening race in 29.32 while his Mum Eithne and Bernice McCann also tested out the underfoot conditions but were glad they hadn’t entered the 2 lap option or the LOS itself. Gavin McConvey also ran the 1 lap, finishing in 42.56 after taking part in the Tollymore Night Run on Friday night, completing the 10K in just over 60 minutes.
NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND
Next Saturday in Lurgan Park the Cross Country season reaches its climax with the Senior Mens and Womens Championships to be decided. As an additional incentive there are double points on offer for the final round of the League and East Down Ladies’ team are determined to battle all the way for enough points for a podium place. They are set to make history by fielding a full team of 16 all being well. Good luck to them and to their Male counterparts who can only look back ruefully on what might have been. Next Year??
Last Monday saw the launch of the Rollercoaster Races (10 March) which this year is being supported by Phoenix Natural Gas. The day for the photo shoot showed the superb venue off in all its glory and some of our young athletes got a chance to test the route. Read all about the event http://www.eastdownac.co.uk/?page_id=568 to see what is in store – the fuelling station set up by Phoenix is sure to be a big hit! Entries can be made on the day but schools can enter in advance as in previous years.
Also time is ticking if you are planning to take part in Jimmy’s Ten on 18 March. Entries are flying in. Every year in the week before the race we are inundated with desperate pleas and it is hard to say no but we have to stick with our quota so – get on to the entry portal at ANI http://athleticsni.org/Fixtures/Jimmys-Ten before it’s too late!
19 February 2018