The Weekly News – 11/12/17


Conditions were good at Henry Jones Pitches in the Castlereagh Hills on Tuesday morning for Round 2 of the  Flahavan’s Porridge Primary School Cross Country League but the course was tricky – with lots of twists and turns and a narrow, root strewn stretch through the forest that was technically very challenging and a short finishing straight. However East Down’s Jodi Foster ran a very mature race sitting in the bunch before making her bid for

the winner’s spot as the line approached. She only just failed to catch Moneyrea’s Lauren Ramsay but finished clear of Lough View Integrated’s Erin Cross.  Jodi’s younger sister Kari, who is still under aged in this level of competition, more than held her own and could be more than pleased with her 16th place out of 127 finishers.

In the Boys race Ollie Robinson survived a home straight buffeting to claim 5 th  place having contested the lead with a group of 5/6 others most of the way. His younger brother Alex, like Kari still under age, also ran really well to claim 67th place out of a strong field of 130 finishers. Both boys were representing their  school St Mary’s PS, Newcastle and it’s a pity they couldn’t find another 4 boys to make up a team in this very important stage of their sporting development.


It’s not often that you write a report about something that doesn’t happen but in this case it is worth a mention as the cancellation of one competitive event led to the inauguration of another! The Ladies’ XC Team and Dee (think Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs in reverse) was due to make the trip to Cookstown for the Mighty Oaks XC but due to inclement weather this was called off. This news was a relief for those concerned about travelling in the snow but a blow to those with a competitive nature. Within hours of the cancellation a EDAC Christmas Tree Decorating Contest was swiftly arranged and the house bound crew set to work. One unnamed member tried to pull off a win by submitting this as their handiwork


It was later found to be the Christmas Tree situated at a posh hotel in Warrenpoint!  By the deadline there were 7 entrants to be considered. One was ruled out as not quite finished…

and the rest were judged by an independent panel of 3. By majority vote the winner is…

If you recognise this tree please come forward to collect your prize – a free entry to a XC of your choice in the remaining league dates in January and February 2018. What a prize!!  Well done to all who took part – Happy Christmas to you all!


It was only due to the Herculean efforts of the Crossgar Harriers club and the Daye brothers on Sunday morning that the Santa 10K and 5K races went ahead  in Crossgar on Sunday afternoon. A squad of the club members and race organisers spent 4 hours clearing ice and snow from the route, which had to be drastically modified because some of the roads were impossible to make safe in time. And their efforts were rewarded with a total of over 130 runners across both categories. While this total was considerably down on last year’s entry it was nevertheless an excellent turnout given the weather and a vindication of all the hard work which went into staging the event. So Well Done all you guys and gals for your efforts and thanks to the PSNI who played a significant role in  agreeing the revised route and instructing the runners on where to run to get the best underfoot conditions. And of course a big thank you to all the marshals who stood their ground for hours, possibly in some cases frozen to it, to give slow old codgers like me, friendly encouragement all the way round and to the very end.


The runners all set off together, possibly hoping to benefit from the heat and shelter afforded by belonging to the group, but this notion quickly dissipated as the field strung out through the beautiful surroundings of Tobar Mhuire monastery grounds, with everyone trying to get warm in the sub zero temperatures. Those who managed it better than the others included  East Down’s Callum Kent, who as usual, ran very well to take 4th place in 23.22 in the 5K, with Gavin McConvey 11th in 28.49 the only other EDAC representative in the shorter distance.


The longer distance event was better supported by East Down runners, with 7 runners, and it was good to see the Findlays out and about again, with Conor taking the honours by not only finishing as the leading East Down runner in 24th place but also finishing ahead of Dad John and Mum Wendy in 27th and 28th places respectively. Our honorary member Michael Kelly, was 32nd in a very respectable 56.19 while Sinead Kinsella, presently on maternity leave, made a welcome re- appearance and finished just one place further back.


Best run of the day has to be Roisin Gaffney’s 43rd place finish in 59.36 completed in BARE ARMS. Brrrrr!! I don’t know whether Roisin supports the American constitution or not but if she does I think I’d leave their right to bare arms to them or at least until the Summer months. Nicole Laverty ran well to make up ground after her usual slow start and eventually finished 45th but is well capable of breaking the 60 minutes when she gets her mojo working again.


Karen McFall in her Help the Aged role was 52nd but like Nicole has much more to give. I was officially TEC again but 46 places ahead of last year’s placing so what more would have made it a perfect day out? Only a cup of hot soup and a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese, or Pasta or Paella perhaps? Well all four and more were supplied in more than ample quantities, courtesy of the Catering Class Project Team from SERC. Superb food folks, Well done to all concerned.


Linda Cunningham and sister Jackie Moore from Murlough completed yet another marathon in Clonakilty on Sunday, and No I still haven’t found out where it is!


It’s a long way to Derry for the 6K combined men and women cross country league fixture on Saturday while nearer home there’s the Kilmood Santa Dash at 2.00pm from Kilmood Church Hall and the ever supportive Ballygalget  AC are promoting a 5 and 10K Santa Run beginning at 11.30am from Mitchell Park. If you’re really keen and have a helicopter handy you could do both?

Meanwhile a contingent of junior girls  are heading for Waterford for the All Ireland Uneven Age Group Championships on Sunday.

Unfortunately I won’t be at any of these venues as I have been “asked” to come and see Santa on Sunday afternoon. Come to think of it, speaking of helicopters, Santa sounds like just the boy to sort that one out – though probably only in time for the 2018 fixtures!!

Joe Quinn (and a little elf)

11 December 2017