The Weekly News – 28/08/17



A special word of congratulations to Carmel Tumelty who set a new PB of 42.38 when completing the 5 Miles in Portrush on Friday night, and followed up with an excellent 5K run on Rathlin Island on Sturday, her 26.35 time placing her 12th overall and first in the Over 45 Category. A great example of what perseverance and hard work can achieve.


Another ideal running evening was presented to the Strangford Festival organisers on Friday past and they were rewarded with record numbers in both races.  Having again secured the use of the trails and paths through the Castleward Estate, runners were assured of a scenic route. And so it proved though the price was the long climb from the back gates to the entrance to the big house.


The 10K race was won by Ballydrain’s Darrell Cooper 35.52, comfortably holding off the challenge of Barrie Atkinson 37.03 and Murlough’s Alan Johnston 37.16. James Savage 37.52 East Down was 4th overall and won the Over 40 prize. Dermot Cahill was pleased to claim a top 10 placing, over what was indeed a challenging course, taking 9th place in 41.38, a full 34 seconds better than last year, and Paul Burns, in comeback mode, cruised round in 44.01 and placed 16th overall. Gary Cull’s 48.42 would not normally be cause for great celebration for him but nevertheless represents a significant milestone on his way back to peak fitness.  I too, felt like a real runner as I kept pace with Barrie and Dermot for over a kilometre towards the end of the 10K. Admittedly they were doing their warm down , having already crossed the finish line some 25/26 minutes ahead of my 63.53, but just to have them alongside me while inwardly over the moon about “having a good one” myself, was a boost to morale. I wasn’t quite TEC on Friday night but MTEC (M for Male) was a decent substitute!


First Female home was a resurgent Karen Wilton 39.53, well ahead of Claire Ingram 44.20 Ballydrain Harriers and Louise McCourt 47.33, Ballygalget AC.

Patricia Galloway, there to guide and support her sister in her first crack at he distance, was happy with 58.53, and to have avoided injury before tackling the Great East Run on Saturday. Eithne McGrattan and Bernice McCann continue to run for the fun of it – an excellent outlook which inspires all of us young and old(er) alike.


There was excellent East Down representation in the 5K race, led by James Smyth, who has been conspicuous by his absence in recent months, possibly influenced by the demands of academia. It was good to find he has not lost any of his undoubted ability as proven by his 19.23 time and 3rd place overall. Daniel Atkinson was also making a rare appearance and his 21.00 time gave him 5th place which with Gavin Hynds   21.29 in 7th, Lauren Madine 21.49 in 8th and Callum Kent 22.34 in 9th, gave the promoting club 5 out of the first 10 finishers.  Not only that but Lauren Madine was the first female finisher overall, a remarkable feat in view of her tender years. Adam Morgan 25.22 was 18th and Erin Moore  29.22 was in 38th place.  These placings are all out of 145 finishers so tremendous achievements all round for the juniors. Matthew McGrattan, one of the fancied competitors, felt a twinge in his hamstring and with a date in Loughborough on Thursday for the school games he wisely pulled out to avoid the risk of injury.


Last year after he finished in 3rd place in the Killyleagh Half Marathon (now the Great East Run), Aaron McGrady promised to come back and win it this year.  And sure enough 12 months (and a lot of hard work) later he was true to his word, taking the lead from the gun and running strongly all the way to the finish line.

Not only was his winning time 1.17.50, just under 3 minutes faster than last year’s winning effort,  but was almost 5 minutes better than his own previous PB. And victory was all the sweeter in that Aaron was running in the East Down colours once again. Well Done and Welcome back.

Jonathan Scott ran 1.19.57 about 2 minutes quicker than last year but had to be satisfied with 2nd place for the second year in a ow with the podium being completed by Roger Pannell who just pipped his Ballydrain Hariers team mate  Gareth Lyons, for 3rd place. However Gareth gained some consolation by claiming 1st Over 35 prize.


Last year’s winner, Neil Carty, gave a good account of himself and defended his title with honour, only conceding defeat in the last few miles but finishing 5th and winning the Over 45 category prize.

Barrie Atkinson, despite his efforts the night before in Strangford, turned out again to avoid having to do a 16 mile training run! – and finished 6th in 1.21.38, two places ahead of Martin Willcox 1.23.49, who in turn was 2 places in front of Dee Murray 1.26.39, who completed the top 10.


The first Lady home was Amanda Perry Ballydrain Harriers in 1.30 43, who prevailed after a race long battle with East Down’s Joanne Foster 1.31.33 with Saintfield Striders Lisa Corry 1.37.48 in third place.

East Down’s Cheryl Denvir 1.45.13 was the first Over 35  Female and Letitia Fitzsimmons 1.47.01 Ballygalget AC took the Over 45 prize.


The entry in the Relay category was disappointing but nevertheless the youthful trio from East Down who took the honours Kirsti Foster, Mackenzie Murray and Lucy Foster made short work of the course, flashing across the line in 1.32.11. Well done to them.


The following local shops and businesses sponsored the event:-

Spar Supermarket and Filling Station, Downpatrick Rd, Killyleagh, Alfie Murray, Butchers,  Brian O’Hare the Central Bar, Jodie Kelly, the International Bar, and Roskyle Construction.  Our thanks to them and also to everyone who  helped out in any way before and on the day, especially the marshals, the sandwich makers and servers and to the PSNI.


Gareth Amos took his family to Carrickfergus on Sunday for the Storming the Castle 10K and posted 51.36 for the distance while the children enjoyed the Fun Run.


This time last year I congratulated Linda Cunningham on having completed her 50th marathon in Armagh and said not entirely tongue in cheek “Here’s to the next 50”.  Well on Sunday she completed her 75th also in Armagh – 25 marathons in a year!! Fantastic stuff Linda, you’ll hit the century in another 12 months.

Another distance man, presently chasing down the half century, is Phillip Vint who completed number 43 in Armagh on Saturday, taking what was for him, a somewhat leisurely 3.32.59 to complete, due to the payback from his 31 miles ultra last weekend. His wife Helen, clearly the sensible one in the family, completed the half marathon in 2.07 while Stevie McCartan  completed the same  distance in 1.38.

At this stage the mind just boggles as to what they’ll be up to next.


Next Sunday the Ballykinlar 5 and 10K races in aid of Motor Neurone Disease Research are scheduled for a 10.00am start from the Gaelic Club grounds.  This year it’s an all road out and back route to Minerstown.

Joe Quinn

28 August 2017