A WET WEDNESDAY IN ARMAGH
It rained last Wednesday, all day long, so I stayed at home and enjoyed the warmth and comfort, interrupted only by the occasional physical burst of frantic activity which preceded the arrival of a mug of coffee. Well someone’s gotta do it!
It rained in Armagh too, all day long, but far from succumbing to my idea of how to spend a wet day, East Down’s Declan Teague went for a run. Actually he went for a marathon run in the form of the JFK Memorial Marathon which began at 8.00am in the Mall in Armagh. And as he hadn’t run that distance for 4 days he was looking for a nice easy work out.
However, it proved much easier to contemplate than to do and after negotiating the first mile or two with dry feet an inconsiderate lorry driver dumped the entire contents of a huge puddle all over him. Not only did this soaking change his physical state but also resulted in a serious change in the colour of the surrounding air. I don’t really understand all these chemical processes. The outcome was that he quickened his step and eventually crossed the line in 3.40.35 in 7th place. A highly commendable effort as much in terms of mental as physical toughness. The last finisher in the marathon was out there for 6 hours and 41 minutes, so well done to everyone who took part.
A DRY SATURDAY AROUND THE LOUGH
It did not rain on Saturday but it was dry but frosty and it was a struggle to get out of my snug bed to make my way to Castle Espie, near Comber for 9.00am, to help marshal the runners in the Loop of the Lough. I was busy working my way through a hot cup of coffee when the first of the runners arrived at my point. It was just around 9.20am and it was only when I was back in the comfort of my car again that it struck me that he’s been on the road since 6.00am when the ultra marathoners left Portaferry, over 25 miles away!! And even more sobering was that he hadn’t yet reached half way, en route to the finish line in Strangford! He eventually crossed the finish line in 7.24, a remarkable achievement, given that the side roads on which most of the second half was run were liberally coated with frost and were treacerous underfoot. Richard Coey from Ballydrain Harriers was second past me and he too made it to the finish in 8.25, just 5 minutes ahead of 3rd placed Cooper McClure. Fiona Prue 9.18 made up considerable ground in the 2nd half to take Ballydrain’s second Silver place of the day, later made up to 3 by Norman Mawhinney’s second place in the Marathon which egan at Castle Espie at 12.00 noon.
East Down was represented in the Marathon too, with Barry Milligan taking 6th place in 4.05 while Linda Cunningham 5.34 and Jackie Moore Murlough AC timed their run perfectly to link up with the intrepid Ultra duo of Michael Cultra and Oonagh Breteche 11.34. Remarkably Catherine Miskelly 3.59 put the icing on Ballydrain’s cake by finishing first Female in the marathon breaking 4 hours in the process. Well Done to you all!! Total respect. By the time they had all finished in Strangford I had been to the Ormeau Park for the Seeley Cup 10K and back home again – I didn’t notice any of the early morning starters from Portaferry in the field there by the way – probably 55 miles in one day was enough for them?
SEELEY CUP HEROICS
Probably the best all round performances by East Down AC runners in both the Male and Female team competitions, ever. There was a little bit of expectation in the ranks of EDAC officials that if they could get their best runners out and everyone ran to their current form then both the Men and Women could make an impression in this year’s team competition.
With Neil McCartan returning after recovery from a strength sapping illness and Brendan Teer hard on the comeback trail and Aaron McGrady travelling over from London to “have a crack at the Seeley” after an absence of 10 years and with Paul Burns and Dee Murray on the top of their games the Men’s team did not disappoint. Neil it was who set of with the leading bunch trying to close the gap on the early leaders Kipseng and Rankin but he may have paid the penalty for that very fast start, though he hung on well to take 20th place, breaking the 33 minute barrier with a splendid 32.57 with McGrady, positively flying at the finish 23rd in 32.59 and Teer 25th in 33.06.
Ciaran Denvir played his dark horse role to perfection, posting yet another pb 35.19 in 68th place and with Paul Burns 36.27 another pb in 100th and James Smyth, 37.19 a revelation in 136th place, completing the scorers, the team total of 372 gave it 6th place overall.
Just behind these and providing superb back up came Dee Murray in 37.45, Gavin Hynds 42.02 and Kieran McMahon, 43.32 and Gareth Amos 49.09. PBs every one!
LADIES OUTDO THE MEN
It was the Ladies who provided the most eyecatching spectacle of the day however as Caroline O’Hare set out her intentions early in the race and was well placed in 5th place in the ladies’ race behind the pre race favourites Emma Mitchell, Laura Graham, Gladys Ganiel and Kelly Neely. This was indeed exalted company and she maintained her form and pace to the end taking 6th place in the super time of 37.21. The other team scorers were Niamh Kellett 40.21, Deirdre Weatherall 41.10 and Janine Muray 49.01, absolutely ecstatic at having broken 50 minutes and grateful to the pacing skill of Gareth Amos and the unsung hero Carmel Tumelty 52.00 another pb.
These placings gave the Ladies 5th possibly 4th place, subject to a recount, in the Female Team competition.
HOMESTART SANTA RUNS
On Sunday morning the Homestart Santa 2K, 5K and 10K took place from the EDAC clubrooms. Erin Moore was the first to complete the 2K with club mates Mia Proctor -Amos and Joscelyn Wright in 2nd and 3rd places. Mark King was the first male finisher.
The 5K was won by Matthew McGrattan in 20 minutes dead with Mackenzie Murray 2nd in 20.18 and CallumKent 3rd in 21.28.
Ella Carroll won the Ladies race for the second year in a row with Lara Proctor – Amos running in style behind her.
Dee Murray followed up his heroics in the Seeley Cup the day before by cruising home in 39.04 to win the 10K distance from Simon McCartan while Dromore’s Susan Smyth won the Ladies race from Albertville’s Beverley Mitchell. Edie Carroll was the first Junior finisher in the 10K and it was good to see Tracy McCaughey and Roisin Gaffney contest the Over 50 category.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
I would like to thank everyone who helped in any way, especially those who saved the event by turning out at short notice to marshal a route with numerous twists and turns but which found considerable favour with those who took part. It is in fact the fall back route for Jimmy’s Ten, without the pleasure of the Cathedral Loop!
JUNIORS AT ALL IRELAND EVEN AGE GROUP C/HIPS
Anna Gardiner was the star of the Under 12 Girls team which travelled to Abbotstown for the Even Age Group Championships on Sunday, claiming a magnificent 13th place out of 177 finishers and leading the EDAC Team to 6th place out of 20. Other team members were Lucy Foster 51st, Jodi Foster 59th, Emily Burns 106th and Kara Trainor 123rd. Kirsti Foster was 72nd out of 160 in the Under 14 Girls race and the only boy to travel didn’t let the club down by taking 81st out of 167 in the boys Under 12 race.
NEXT WEEK – GRASS and SON of the GRIDDLE?
It’s back to the grass again next Saturday when Cross Country League action resumes at the Malcolm Cup fixture in Ballyclare.
And then on Sunday the challenge is to try out Son of the Griddle! There’s a little surprise feature in the middle of this one so why don’t you come along and find out what it is? This race is a late replacement for the cancelled (for this year) Griddle Challenge and is a fund raiser for two of our junior members Owen Edwards who travels to India in June next year with the Saphara organisation and Laura Green, who is also heading to India with the Habitat for Humanity organisation with some other pupils from her school and other youth groups to help in teaching and building projects. Habitat’s main goal is to provide a safe and warm place for people the world over to call home. So please come along and support these young people in their endeavour to experience life in the sub-continent and to gain valuable experience for their futures.
The organisers say if you’re intending to run please enter online at www.athleticsni.org although entries will be taken on the day
27 November 2017