The Weekly News – 26/03/2018


What a difference a week makes!! Just 7 days after the gloom that had descended on East Down AC following the postponement of Jimmy’s Ten last Sunday, came the joy at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Relief as well was another palpable emotion felt by everyone involved at the actual staging the race. A week’s intensive work by East Down members and the good offices of a wide range of outside bodies led to the event taking place just one week late.  The advent of a beautiful Spring morning greeted the organisers as they took advantage of the extra hour’s sunlight to stage what was described by some as a “miraculous turnaround”.


Of course putting on an event like Jimmy’s Ten can cause inconvenience at the best of times and even more so when it has to be rearranged at short notice. East Down AC wish it to be known that they apologise to anyone who did not hear of the re-arranged details or was affected in any way by the road closures and hold ups brought about by Sunday’s race. Every effort was made by the Club and other bodies to highlight the new arrangements but we acknowledge that not everyone heard. We sincerely hope that you were not delayed in either reaching your place of worship, the horse racing at Downpatrick Racecourse or indeed any other destination on Sunday morning.

IN the absence of any of the previous winners in either the Men’s or Women’s races there was always going to be new names to be inscribed on the winners Shield. In the event, despite the difficulties caused by last week’s postponement, the delay enabled several runners who were not due to take part , because of other commitments, to enter and to contribute to the contest at the front. Although Mark McKinstry, North Belfast Harriers, eventually ran out the clear winner, his time of 31.45 giving him a 68 second advantage  over Willowfield’s Neil Weir, less than 24 hours since he took 3rd place in the Larne Half Marathon, with another 5 second gap between him and 3rd placed Gerard Heaney unattached. Emmett McGinty 4th from City of  Derry Spartans just held off the challenge of East Down’s Aaron McGrady, a runner who has improved out of all recognition this year and who is targeting Jimmy’s Ten next year as his No. 1 priority. I wouldn’t bet against him achieving his goal.

Jimmy's 10K Men's Podium

Jimmy’s 10K Men’s Podium

Not all that far behind Aaron came the tough as teak and ever dependable Martin Willcox 36.07, in 9th place and 1st Male Over 45, followed by another to look out for in the coming months Ciaran Denvir 37.04 in 15th place.


The next East Down vest to appear was worn by Catherine O’Connor 38.15, in overall 19th place, who thanks to last week’s postponement was prevailed on to run this time and set her place in the history of the race by becoming the first East Down AC member to win the Ladies race.


Out of the 596 finishers there were 36 runners under the 40 minute barrier, a pretty good percentage by today’s standard.

And continuing the good cross country form he has shown all year Dee Murray 39.24 was comfortably inside that number claiming 25th place, while young Callum Kent 39.33 was right behind, as the second leg runner in the winning Relay duo formed with another East Down man James Savage. Tracey Atkinson Albertville  39.37  and Susan Smyth Dromore AC 39.43 won the 2nd and 3rd Ladies prizes in 29th and 30th places respectively while Dermot Cahill 39.48 was the last EDAC man to cross the line in sub 40 minutes, setting a new pb in the process, having taken his lead from the 40 minute pacer, East Down’s Paul Burns, an excellent spot on run in 39.53. Perhaps he’ll get it spot on next year!!

Liam Keenan was not particularly pleased with posting 42.18, just behind clubmates Colin Shields and Deirdre Weatherall, though he should be pleased as punch given his lack of proper training I recent months. The first All Female Relay Team, East Down’s Lauren Madine and Anna Gardiner 41.24 finished just ahead of this group, which also comprised the second all Female Relay team of Lucy and Kirsti Foster 41.58.

My postman, Neil Young, did extremely well to finish in 42.55, so customers on his round can expect a first class delivery tomorrow – but no bills for me please! East Down debutant Niall Gibney looked comfortable with his 43.34, while Edie Carroll simply cruised in at 43.37, to claim the Female Junior prize followed by Aoife Cochrane in 44.16. Another debutant in Club colours was Garry Walsh in 44.31, with Cheryl Denvir, Paddy McDonald, Michael Morrissey, Michael Robinson, Conor Findlay another promising Junior making his debut at the distance and John Manley all in close proximity. Conor’s Mum Wendy made it into the top 200 finishers taking 197th place . Marguerite Robinson led the next squad of EDAC men and women comprising Seaus Savage, Liz O’Hagen, Tracey McCaughey, Roisin Gaffney, Ian McCracken, Alison Graham, Cathy Burke, Gavin McConvey, Joanne Carson, Catherine Gilchrist, Janine Murray, Cathy Flinn and Laura Smith who all crept in under the 60 minute mark while Sean Sealey and Mags Flynn were only slightly beyond it.

However the prize for he most appropriate placing goes to Karen McFall, running number 541, who finished in 541st place. She’s gong looking for number 1 next year!


East Down athletes were also busy at two other venues during the week, with several doubling up with 2 races including Jimmy’s Ten on Sunday. Half Marathon performances as shown in attached spreadsheet. Details of Queen’s & Larne performances to follow next week.


Joe Quinn

26 March 2018