The Weekly News – 05/03/2018


For those of you not familiar with road racing there is an excellent opportunity to come and experience this type of running on Saturday, whether as a participant or as a spectator in spectacular surroundings. Over the past 6/7 years East Down has hosted a series of races, now referred to the Rollercoaster Races around the local horse racing circuit,  which over the years has built up a reputation as one of the best venues for such an activity anywhere in the country. The beauty of it is that, because it is run on the tarmac access road around the horse racing track, it is best described as “on the roads but off the road” and being traffic free is extremely safe, something which makes it a perfect environment for children. Additionally the fact that children can run without getting their feet wet or dirty has made it more attractive  than many of the cross country venues which are the norm at this time of year. The children have responded in record numbers, with local schools sending dozens of children every year and many parents bringing their children individually when the schools have not been able to get involved.

This year’s event this coming Saturday is much later in the calendar than usual but promises to be the best yet. Brand new sponsors in the shape of Phoenix Natural Gas have been signed up and are promising a range of healthy goodies from their Fuelling Station afterwards, and a medal for every child competitor, So make sure your child doesn’t miss this one. Races begin at 11.00am which is an hour earlier than in previous years and Registration for all junior races begins at 9.00am.

Rollercoaster Preview

Back Row L to R:- Tom McClean (Chairman EDAC) Jonathan Martindale (Phoenix natural Gas) Joe Quinn (Race Director)
Front Row L to R:- Alex Robinson, Mia Proctor- Amos, Oliver Robinson, Lena Proctor- Amos at Downpatrick Racecourse


And of course there will be a full programme of races culminating with the Open 5K race over a 5K distance. This one, though described by some as the toughest 5K in Co. Down, isn’t really, it’s more like the toughest in the country!


Be that as it may, it’s actually ideal for everyone, whether beginner or experienced veteran.  As most runners will know Downpatrick doesn’t have a Parkrun, probably because it doesn’t have a park, but most tend to be along flat paths or woodland trails where literally hundreds of runners of every shape and size and every level of ability come together every Saturday morning to run 5K.


So the challenge this week is to come and try your hand (and feet?) at something more testing than your normal, in your comfort zone, type of run. This race is for anyone who wants to try something a little different. And there are plenty of EDAC members in that category, not to mention all the “eccentrics” in other clubs locally and further afield.

The added advantage of running the Rollercoaster is that you get a lie in on Saturday morning as the 5K race doesn’t begin until 1.15pm, as opposed o 9.30am start for your normal parkrun, which means that you’ll be well rested before you take on the ups and downs that makes this race what it is. Incidentally there are no jumps or hurdles in the race, though it’s not exactly “flat racing” either.


East Down runners will use the race this year as a “time trial” where each one predicts their finishing time and then runs without a watch or any other timing device to see who can run closest to their predicted time. Anyone found to be contravening this rule will be severely dealt with!


Refreshments will also be available for all spectators courtesy of the Fancy Fox, a mobile coffee bar in the shape of a horse box which will dispense tea, coffee, hot chocolate and light snacks at reasonable prices.


With less than 2 weeks remaining until Jimmy’s Ten takes to the streets and roads again, on Sunday 18 March to be exact, almost all the places have been sold. There are around 50 still up for grabs at and when they’re gone they’re gone. No entries will be taken on the day so if you want to run what could well be the last Jimmy’s Ten, given the recent introduction of new legislation governing the use of the roads for running. More on this next week.


Joe Quinn

5 March 2018