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

The Weekly News – 12/02/2018


It seems as if the young guns of East Down are hardier than their more senior counterparts, if weekend events are anything to go by.
On Saturday, for instance, at the second running of the North Down Cross Country Festival in Castle Park Bangor, only the juniors turned out. Admittedly they performed well enough to outshine anything that the seniors might have done anyway, with Jodi Foster winning the primary school race AND sister Kari in 7th place and Kieran Trainor claiming 11th in the Boys Primary School race. Inspired no doubt by these performances, two of the older Foster girls, Kirsti and Lucy then went out to take 2nd and 3rd in the Under 14 Girls race.

Jodi Foster (left) Zophia Quigley and Chloe Kenny (both Ballyholme Primary)

Jodi Foster (left) Zophia Quigley and Chloe Kenny (both Ballyholme Primary)

Kieran Trainor - Festival of XC Bangor

Kieran Trainor – Festival of XC Bangor

Lucy Foster, Kirsti Foster (left) Tara McDonough (North Down AC)

Lucy Foster, Kirsti Foster (left) Tara McDonough (North Down AC)

If they think things are tough in South Korea, battling with sub zero temperatures, gale force winds and falling snow, (though it is after all the Winter Olympics which tends to need at least 2 out of these 3 conditions as a prerequisite anyway) then they should have been in Mallusk on Sunday morning.
It’s a long time since I was at the Belfast Playing fields at Mallusk, probably more than 20years, but my memories of it as open, mucky, cold and windy proved a little wide of the mark. It was worse than that, as there was snow and frozen ice to contend with on Sunday as well.
The occasion was Mallusk Harriers staging of the Mathieson Cup and Shield team cross country races, in honour of the lovely Mags Mathieson, who supports every event in the running calendar and is an inspiration to everyone connected with running.

Joe Quinn and Mags Mathieson

Joe Quinn and Mags Mathieson

Again it was the Juniors who braved the elements, all girls this time, with Anna Kearney 4th, Erin Moore 5th and Caragh Moore 8th in the Primary School race which got proceedings under way, into what were described as really tough conditions, as the falling snow was driven into the faces of the runners. And to their credit everyone finished, 17 Boys and 12 Girls.

Things got even better when Lauren Madine followed up with victory in the Under 13 Girls race, finishing ahead of the only boy runner into the bargain.

Lauren Madine, Erin Moore, Anna Kearney, Caragh Moore

Lauren Madine, Erin Moore, Anna Kearney, Caragh Moore

Edie Carrol continued her recent good form, with victory in the Under 17 Girls Race which was run in Arctic conditions, only slightly better than the younger girls had experienced.

 Edie Carroll - U17

Edie Carroll – U17

I have to pay special tribute to all the girls who took part on Sunday and finished their races. I gave it a go too but didn’t quite make it to the finish line. Quite frankly conditions were the worst I ever experienced during a race. I opted for a warm woollen hat instead of the usual peaked baseball type and as the snow thickened and the wind rose how I regretted that decision. I was practically blinded as the freezing flakes hit my eyes. Amazingly there were marshals standing at remote points of the course, only known to me because I heard their shouts of encouragement to me and all the runners as we staggered past. My thanks to them. I decided that I would pack it in when I reached the end of lap one of the scheduled three, if I could find out where that was? Then out of the whirling blizzard I heard voices saying “you’ve done enough, come and have some tea or soup, we’re not letting you go any further” Were these angels from heaven coming to my rescue or was I simply hallucinating? The former is the answer as the voices belonged to Mags and Alison, two ladies not to be argued with. And so, faced with a choice between clambering up the steep, slippery bank leading to the higher level of pitches and off on a second lap and the steely determination in the angels voices, it took me almost half a second to surrender to their “advice” If truth was told I actually believe I was standing in the refreshment tent, halfway through my first cup of soup, before I realised the decision had been made, by which time the thought of carrying on was long since buried.

In case you think that all the seniors had a day off at the weekend I discovered that at least 3 of them took part in the Dune half marathon on Sunday. Gavin Hynds was more than pleased with 123rd place in 1.36 while Clare Carson was delighted with her 1.51 on what she described as a challenging course, due to the weather and the hills and Kevin Kelly 1.59 even more so, to duck under the 2 hour mark considering he has just recovered from a bout of flu. Well done everyone.

Gavin Hynds - Dune Half Marathon

Gavin Hynds – Dune Half Marathon

The races will start this year at the earlier time of 11.00am and with an exciting new sponsor on board all the school kids are in for a special treat. Don’t miss this one. More details next week.

A huge entry has already been received for this year’s event on 18 March and anyone intending to run is encouraged to enter now at as there will be a limit on the number and it is unlikely that entries will be taken on the day.

Joe Quinn
12 February 2018

The Weekly News – 05/02/18

On Saturday both East Down seniors and Juniors were in action at Stormont, one of the most popular venues in the cross country season and happily reinstated as a Cross Country League fixture.

East Down juniors contributed significantly to the huge numbers in the primary school races which set the programme of races in motion. With 106 boys in the Boys race Ollie Robinson did well to take 19th place, while still recovering from a bout of flu, with younger brother Alex and Kieran Trainor providing excellent support in 28th and 36th places respectively.


Erin Moore, Kari Foster and Jodi Foster - Primary Girls’ Team - (missing Emily Burns)

Erin Moore, Kari Foster and Jodi Foster – Primary Girls’ Team – (missing Emily Burns)

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EDAC Membership Registration

Membership renewal fee is now due. The membership year runs from 1st April 2016 – 31st March 2017. You can renew at any of the club sessions or by posting the forms (details on form).

To simplify the process I have pre-filled your new Registration Form with your 2015/16 details. You can collect the forms at the club from Mark McDowell or Frank Cunningham, check all the details and update were needed prior to paying the fee.

The following blank forms can be used by new members.
Click here for Senior Membership Form
Click here for Junior Membership Form

Membership fees 2016/17:

JUNIORS (under 18yrs old) £20
Family (Option 1) For 2 x ADULTs £45
Family (Option 2) For 1 x ADULTs + 1 x JUNIOR £35
Family (Option 3) For 1 x ADULTs + 2 x JUNIORs £45
Family (Option 4) For any larger family group than above £55 max

Junior Membership:

The Thursday night sessions at Ballymote are at capacity and new members can register for the waiting list at any of the Thursday night sessions at Ballymote 6-7pm. I would remind all renewing members to complete the forms and pay the fee ASAP to secure your place.

Club rooms
You can renew at any of the club sessions or by posting the forms (details on form).
To simplify the process I have pre-filled your new Registration Form with your 2015/16 details. You can collect the forms at the club from Mark McDowell or Frank Cunningham, check all the details and update were needed prior to paying the fee.

All new members are very welcome and can register at any of the club sessions. You can come along and try out a couple of sessions before committing to membership…. Just bring your gear along.

Please read the East Down Athletics Club Child Protection Policy Statement, Junior Club Membership Rules contained within our Handbook at ( and relay the contents to your children.

McGrady Presentation Photo

Could all EDAC Juniors who took part in the McGrady Series XC (both Primary and post Primary) please be at the Club Rooms tomorrow Thurs 21st April at 7pm sharp in EDAC KIT where possible. Please also bring trophies if 1/2 or 3 in age groups. We want to get this done as quickly as possible so that normal training can still take place.



Juniors at Ballymote / EDAC Club rooms start back Thursday 7th

All junior members attending the training sessions at Ballymote for the 2016/17 registration year should meet this Thursday 7th April at 6 – 7pm. All those that registered at the registration evening have secured a place.

All those members that have graduated from the Ballymote will be able to attend our junior club sessions from this Thursday 7th April at 7:15 – 8:15pm at the EDAC Club Rooms (Ballydugan Industrial Est)

Can you please remember to bring a water bottle and £1.

McGrady X-Country Prize Giving

All juniors that competed in the McGrady series, you are invited to attend a prize giving event at “The Lodge”, Castlewellan.


  • Club Team Shields for boys and girls teams
  • 4 out of 5 races to complete Series
  • Age group races with various distances
  • 1st, 2nd , 3rd boy and girl Series prizes
  • Prizes for all who complete Series

Date: Monday 11th April
Time: 7:30pm
Location: The Lodge, Castlewellan
1 Dublin Road,
County Down.
BT31 9AQ

Location Map: