East Down AC Eager To Return To Running Once Again

A report from the East Down Athletic Club by Alison Carrol and Joe Quinn.

A report from the East Down Athletic Club by Alison Carrol and Joe Quinn.


With the eagerly awaited announcement by Athletics Northern Ireland that athletic clubs were moving into Step 2 of the return to sport, some members of EDAC made their way to the Downshire to complete a training session on Saturday morning past.

Mackenzie Murray who attended the session on Saturday (pictured at the NI&Ulster Indoor Championships Feb 2020- 3rd in the U15 1500m)

Groups of 10 are now permitted assuming that social distancing and hygiene measures are in place. Since lockdown in the last week of March, the club has been on hold with the premises locked up but with many members continuing to train solo or in family groups.

When groups of 6 were given the green light a few weeks past, some people started to link up with others informally and while a training schedule had been posted online, there have been no official coach led sessions.

One aspect of return to club training is the necessity to appoint a Covid Officer, who then has to do a check list including a risk assessment. It would then be his or her responsibility to do a trace and contact if the need arose.

Just as nipping into the local supermarket has become a complicated procedure with queues and spacing and cleansing of hands and trolleys etc so a training run is no longer a case of casually turning up at the clubrooms and seeing who is around.

Hallie Jennings and Martin Willcox – EDAC’s Ladies’ and Men’s Captains for 2020/21 at the first official EDAC session since lockdown.

It will be some time till we can use our premises but taking a positive slant, we can now go to wherever we want to exercise provided we travel alone, we can meet with 9 other people in one group and there is no limit to the time that we can spend in that place.

All things considered that is pretty good! We will soon adjust to the new norm as by nature we prefer company for our runs and the rules are there to protect us all.


It was definitely uplifting to see some familiar faces at the Downshire and the 5K time trial that took place will act as a bench mark for the runners to see where they are fitness wise at this time.

There were some who have obviously been training hard and others who were happy just to be out and cover the distance. Mackenzie Murray had recorded a PB of 17.27 at Waterworks Parkrun just before all events ceased due to the pandemic. He has clearly not been slacking in the meantime as he clocked 17.13 for the 5K on Saturday.

It will be interesting to see him in action when things resume. A few who have been nursing injuries were glad to report that the layoff had allowed for some rehab. Others in the club were off doing some long miles elsewhere as there are some virtual marathons coming up and they are signed up to complete those courses. It was not a normal Saturday by any means but the signs are there that running is very much on the agenda.


Lauren Madine, Lee Magennis and Sharon Madine keeping their distance
at the Maghery 5K.

On  Saturday 13th June, Lauren Madine and her mum Sharon travelled to Maghery GFC on the shores of Lough Neagh, for a “Socially Distanced Charity 5K” which was held to raise money for the Southern Area Hospice. Lauren completed in 19.49.  Lauren also featured in a recent edition of the “Irish Runner” in an article written by Lee Maginnis. It was a great resumé of her achievements and pointed out that she is “one to watch”. Well done Lauren!


It is hoped that step 3 of the Exit Plan is not too far away and that groups of up to 30 will allow us to get back in the swing more freely both in training and in competition. An in club series is in the offing to include a number of races from 1 mile to 10K with a handicap system applied to include points for completing the series as well as age graded performance points. This will be an incentive to keep training going with so few events on the horizon due to the widespread cancellations.


There is an event planned for July 4th at the Down Royal which has been set up with wave starts of 30 per group. There will be no spectators allowed, pre registration only and social distancing will be maintained.

Some of our members have already entered but with the event entry due to close on Tuesday 23rd June, anyone interested needs to get in. There is a 4 mile event and a 10k. A half marathon event will take place Sunday 5th July at the same venue. 

Details at:


Hopefully Club News can become a feature again as it has been missed. We love to report the successes of our members and encourage them to keep at it.

It has been a bleak period but the feeling is that better times are ahead provided we stick to the guidelines. Here’s to a Summer of running!

Alison and Joe.