East Down AC Enjoy Busy Agenda Of Summer Races

The East Down AC Weekly Report of Races

Lisburn 10k and Half Marathon.

Wednesday saw the annual Lisburn Vitality Half marathon and 10k road race. This is a very popular event and both races start and finish at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex taking in the town centre before covering the roads and  lanes of the local countryside writes Martin Willcox.

The Half Marathon was the first race off and East Downs Leanne Spick was the only representation from the club, with warm dry conditions 966 runners hit the roads.

Club Secretary Martin Willcox heading to the finish at Comber 10k. (Photos courtesy of East Down AC.)

Leanna was going well until 10 mile point when a bad cramp ambushed her making the last 3 miles very uncomfortable for her. Leanne dug deep and crossed the line in 2 hr 12 mins.

In the 10k Ashley McGrady was the only red and yellow vest on the start line with the other 1124 runners. And with the warm conditions Ashley will be happy with her time of 56 min 12 sec. Well done to both of the girls.

Final Hill & Dale race of the season Drinnahilly

On Friday evening the final race of this years Hill & Dale series was ran, starting in Donard Park the 6k route consisting of gravel trails and woodland paths leading up to the summit of Drinnahilly, around the Radio mast, from where the runners descend via the firebreak then onto the main forest path back down to Donard Park.

EDAC had the four musketeers in this last race, Kieran Keown has completed all the races this year and what a great first year, he will be pleased with his 103rd place coming in 32 min 27 sec.

Not too far behind was young Matthew Taylor, who will have bragging rights in the Taylor household, piping his dad in this race in a time of 32 min 51 sec 108th spot with dad John coming in 123rd position in 33 min 57 sec.

Lesley Keown again has completed all the races this year which is some achievement and finished the season with a great run crossing the line in 42 min 36 sec 229th position.

Well done to all the Hill & Dalers this year, if you have not tried this series of races you should try at least once to understand it is a different type of running and racing.

 Catherine PBs at The Long Womens 5k

Also on Friday evening in Omeath Co Louth the Long Women 5k run and Walk took place raising funds for extracurricular activities for pupils at Scoil Naomh Lorcan, Omeath.

The 5k route starts near the Long Woman’s Grave, from there the athletes will follow the local roads which take them along what is arguably the most scenic stretch of the Cooley Peninsula, with the route taking them down into Omeath village with a fast flat run to the finish line.

The race gets its name from the legend, the Long woman’s grave is the resting place of a 7ft tall Spanish beauty, of the line of Spain Royalty, who fell madly in love with Lorcan O Hanlon son of a Chieftain of Omeath.

When the Spanish Beauty first saw the mountains in Omeath she became so overwhelmed with the beauty of the place she sadly suffered a heart attack and died.

Dee Murray presents Caroline McNabb with flowers for her first place, with Clare Forester, Eamon Kelly and Sharon Madine.

And there endeth the History lesson, East Downs Catherine O Connor made the short trip to Omeath for this short fast race. Catherine from the gun hit the front of the 222 field and stayed with the front runners.

Catherine had an amazing run coming in 5th position and 1st Lady home in a PB of 15 min 54 secs. A great result for Catherine.

Comber 10k Road Race.

If Friday could not get any busier, Ballybrain Harriers organized the Comber 10k road race. This popular event takes in two big laps of the town and with a fairly flat course it attracts athletes from all the local clubs.

The conditions were wet and a little windy so PBs were few and far between, but not impossible.

Niall Gibney fueling up at Silent Valley half way round the Rankin round.

EDAC had 12 athletes on the packed start line joining the other 683 runners. From the gun it was a fast start with the race making its way through the backstreets of the town, before heading out onto the main roads and carriage ways around the town.

Gordy Graham said to me before the start he was going to have a good shake out and see if anything falls off, lucky for him nothing did fall off and was the first red and yellow vest home in 8th position in a great time of 34 min 17 sec. Neil Curran also had a great race winning his age group in a time of 35 min 29 sec 12th spot.

The first Lady home for East Down and first lady across the line was Caroline McNabb who from the start put her head down and attacked the race even in the wet conditions crossing the finish line in 37 min 29 sec and a great first place.

Caroline McNabb on the podium at Comber 10k.

Next in was Martin Willcox, after a break in racing he was glad to get back on the road and was happy with his efforts finishing in 42nd position in a time of 38 min 18 sec.

Not far behind Martin was Daniel Giles who has been in great form of late crossing the line in 38 min 39 sec. Dee Murray is one of the faces of the local running scene and always gives 100% and put in a strong performance coming home in 39 min 06 sec.

I said that there would not be many PBs but Eamon Kelly proved me wrong and had a great run coming home in 42 min 51 sec, a great run from Eamon. The second lady home was Sharon Madine who put in another strong run clocking 46 min 08 sec.

The ever steady Mark O Connor was next in 49 min 47 sec, not too far behind Mark was Clare Forester who worked hard in the wet and windy conditions to cross the line in 52 min 48 sec.

Wayne Giles who always gives any race a go will be happy with his 57 min 22 sec. The fourth lady home was Laura Hardy who enjoyed the whole race event from the warm up to the crac after the race and brought all the EDAC runners home with a time 58 min 50 sec. A great evening for the Club and a great event by Ballydrain Harriers.

Matthew Taylor having a drink after beating his dad John at the final Hill & Dale.

Niall Tackles the Rankin Round AGAIN

The Denis Rankin round is a circuit of all the peaks in the Mourne mountains over 400 m in height, covering 90km and 6500 m in ascent. The challenge is to complete this within 24 hrs.

Denis Rankin was a pioneer and leading light in fell running and mountain marathons in N Ireland  since the 1970s, who tragically died on the 16th May 2013 competing in a fell race on Slievemoughamore.

This is not an organised event but a challenge open to all who believe they can circumnavigate the beautiful, rugged and demanding mountains of Mourne within 24 hours. EDACs mountain man Niall Gibney has completed this challenge twice before but with wing man Gavin Hynds.

This time he was going solo and aiming for a better time, so very very early Saturday morning Niall left the start line which is under the white arch as you enter the Donard car park on an anti clockwise route of the Mournes.

The conditions were perfect,clear visibility, not too warm with a light breeze and with his back up team of Dermot Cahill, Steven Morgan, Helen Gibney and Rankin round legend Stephen Bickerstaff (9 rounds to his name) Niall was in a good position to beat his time.

So after 54.42 miles and 20 748 feet of elevation Niall entered the Donard car park 17 hrs 47 min later that day to set a new PB for this amazing challenge, knocking 2.5 hours off his previous attempt. An amazing effort from Niall and his team.

Moy Park Belfast Womens 10k

On Sunday morning the Moy Park Belfast womens 10k took place. With 1600 runners turning out to take on the flat 2 lap course around the Titanic Quarter.

The sun shone and there was a light breeze so it was perfect running conditions. Alison Carroll was the only EDAC representative but she reported back that it was a slick well organised event with good support around the route.

It has been well over a year since she had tackled a competitive road race and she was unsure what to expect but she enjoyed her run and set a steady pace that brought her home in 54 min 29 sec, 211th overall and 4th in the 60+ age group.