CROSS COUNTRY RACES
MUDDY FUN IN BANGOR
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.
MALLUSK ON A WINTER’S DAY
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.
GIRLS THE BRAVEST
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.
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.
NO FOOL LIKE A COLD FOOL
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.
DUNE HALF MARATHON
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.
ROLLERCOASTER RACES ON 10 MARCH
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.
JIMMY’S TEN on 18 MARCH
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 www.athleticsni.org as there will be a limit on the number and it is unlikely that entries will be taken on the day.
12 February 2018