The Weekly News – 15/01/18


The Mighty Oaks Cross Country League fixture, postponed from early December, allegedly because the course was not soft enough, finally took place on Saturday at the Mid – Ulster Sports Arena Playing Fields in Cookstown. There were certainly no complaints about the hardness of the conditions on this occasion, for although it didn’t rain while the races were taking place, the course was practically waterlogged from the overnight rain, which had in fact lasted for several days.

Evidence of the conditions!

However ten of East Down’s Ladies  made the journey and were rewarded with a superb 2nd place in the Team event. Determined to make an impressive start under new captain Janine Murray, everyone put in all they had and certainly no one let her down. She must have been very happy with the performances.

Evidence of the happiness – (except for Catherine Gilchrist but that may have been to do with  then comments on her driving on the way to the event!)


Led by Catherine O’Connor, who is really warming to the task now, in 6th overall, Deirdre Weatherall, though probably not at her best following a bout of flu over the holiday period, took 14th and Aoife Cochrane, 21st  another tremendous run following her heroics at Greenmount last week, while Cheryl Denvir clinched the team’s position by taking 33rd  place.  This gave the East Down team a total of 74 points, and 2nd place overall.  However League success is all about gathering as many points as possible and with 1 point on offer for every finisher, up to a maximum of 16 then it was important that the remaining 6 also crossed the line. And they responded magnificently to the challenge, coming home tightly bunched within the space of 90 seconds, with Clare Carson 55th, Alison Carroll 58th, Ella Carroll 62nd , Janine Murray 63rd, Catherine Gilchrist 71st and Lisa Milligan 73rd. So Ten bonus points to add to the 14 awarded for their 2nd place was a highly satisfactory outcome.


The bare minimum of four men necessary to count as a team travelled on  Saturday and  should be well satisfied with their 7th place finish. Paul Burns was first man home in 60th place just ahead of incoming captain Dee Murray 62nd and Gavin Hynds in 65th, while Gareth Amos ensured not only the 4 appearance points but also that they took an additional 4 points for the team’s hard earned 7th place.

All in all an excellent day’s work from both women and men, for which not only do they all deserve to take a bow but also a shower too.


On Friday night  the 26 Extreme promoted Night Edition of the Castlewellan 10K attracted almost 250 runners to the Park among them being Michael Cultra who finished 20th in 47.45 in an event in which the winner Gordon Graham recorded a time of 38.23, which was over 4 minutes ahead of the runner up, an excellent result by any standards.


On Saturday Linda Cunningham celebrated World Half Marathon Day by running 2 of them in 5.11 in and around Carrickfergus.


Junior members Lara and Keira Amos ran in a XC event which qualified them for the Northern Ireland Air Cadet Cross Country team to compete in the Regional event across the water next month. Keira also came a fantastic second in her age group.


And now for something completely different.

Mary Nolan Hickey at the age of 65 is a running legend who is currently running the 5000km (3100 miles) coast line around Ireland to bring awareness and raise much needed funds for the RNLI. Linda Cunningham and I had the privilege of meeting her for an all too brief time on the windswept coast road between Ardglass and Strangford as she completed the Newcastle to Portaferry leg of her journey on Monday afternoon. A more down to earth, charming and modest person you could not wish to meet. She was striding along confidently, having re-fuelled in Ardglass and gives every indication that she will complete her challenge.


After a brief chat she was on her way, unfortunately time did not permit us to accompany her for any part of the way though she did manage to give a fine demonstration of Paul Daniels by miraculously finding the keys of Linda’s car from the depths of her back pack –  but that’s another story!! And a word of thanks to Brian and Denise Higgins who came to our rescue when it looked like  we were going to be frozen. They too are part of that other story!

Mary has run all 38 Dublin Marathons (2:57pb), she has won the Wicklow Way Ultra, competed in the Marathon des Sables 156 mile desert Ultra, run city marathons such as London and Boston and used to be a solid track runner at most distances from 400m up to 3000m.

Her back up team are asking for everyone who can support her on route, e.g. by coming out to support her by running a few miles with her, give her a bed for the night, join her for a coffee when her lively character and legendary running stories won’t disappoint, and most of all to donate to her cause, the RNLI.

Joe Quinn

PS Juniors – don’t forget it is the McGrady Financial Services Junior XC this Sunday. EDAC are hosting this at Delamont and we want a big turnout. Thanks to parents and coaches who have committed to set up and timing etc. Anyone else free to help out please get in touch.

15 January 2018