East Down AC Flat Out With Running Events

An East Down AC weekly report of events up to Sunday 8th October 2023

An East Down AC weekly report of events up to Sunday 8th October 2023

Great Dundrum Run.

What a difference a year makes on all fronts with the weather conditions perfect for the staging of the Dundrum Gr8 on Saturday. In fact it might have even been a little too warm for the runners writes Martin Wilcox.

Paul Burns (884) at the start of the GR8.

The sun shone and the breeze barely  rippled the water on the inner bay as 872 runners doing the 8.4 mile distance ran along side it.

East Down runners waiting for the start of the 10K GR8 in Dundrum.

The race started in the centre of the village before going along the Old Road towards Twelve Arches with the only real incline in this section.

It was then back toward Dundrum along the ‘Cut’, a gravel path, before heading into the National trust and towards the beach.

The beach is usually the toughest part of the course because of the headwinds and many were remembering the sand blasting they got from the gale force winds last year. Not this year.

Alex in action.

Apart from lower temperatures we could have been running along Caribbean sands with just a gentle breeze to cool the skin.

It meant that instead of hankering down like last year to endure the battering the full beauty of the scenery could be appreciated.   

EDAC had 8 runners taking part in the full distance.


Paul Burns led the charge and is obviously returning to form completing the course in a time of 52.04 minutes and placing 15th overall.

Declan Teague came in 1.02.15 with the first EDAC female Aoife Cochrane not far behind in 1.03.45 nearly 8 minutes faster than last year.

There was then a stead flow of the rest of the EDAC squad;  Patrick Smith (1.13.51), Wayne Giles (1.17.41), Aine Grant (1.20.38), nearly a minute faster than last year and Helen McGinley (1.26.27).

Taking a selfie on the Dundrum beach run. Marguerite Robinson and friends on the beach GR8.

Finally, but not least, returning to racing after a year of health issuses was Marguerite Robinson. Donning the EDAC vest for the first time in a year she decided from the beginning to assist with sweeping up runners with her Murlough friends Judith Robinson and Paula McKibben.

It was the best way to soak up the atmosphere and appreciate all the planning that went into hosting such a great event.

Murlough AC GR8, Dundrum 2023 and Marguerite Robinson crossed the line.

Thanks should be given to all the organisers, marshals, those manning the water station, those providing and serving the food and everyone along the way who couldn’t have been more encouraging.   Thank you all from the EDAC!

About 30 minutes after the longer race started the shorter 3.5 mile race began with 161 runners taking part. EDAC only had one runner, junior Alex Robinson, in this race and he represented the club well.

This race follows the first same initial route as the 8.4 mile race but at Twelve Arches turns back into Dundrum along the main road.

The pace was fast & furious. Alex led until the last ¾ of a mile when he was overtaken by Jonny Gregg of Newry City AC.

Alex held on until the end getting a second-place podium position and placing first junior overall in a time of 21.13.   

Run In Bournemouth

Run Bournemouth is a running festival which is a vision of running as it should be, next to the sea, sun and surf along Bournemouth’s promenade, award winning blue flag beaches and famous piers.

Over the weekend a host of distances is covered from Half Marathon,10k and 5k for the adults and a number of junior and kids races.

EDAC runner Roisin Gaffney in Bournemouth.

EDACs very own Roisin Gaffney took the long trip to the South coast of England for the festival, and started on the Saturday night with the Supernova 5k, this race starts at 0700pm as the sun starts going down over the sea.

The race starts on the promenade and finishes at the lower gardens, this coastal route takes in Bournemouth Pier and takes place at dusk with an emphasis on light around the route.

Roisin will be happy with her warm up event clocking 26 min 29 sec placing 143rd out of 749 runners.

Early next morning Roisin was back on the start line for the Supersonic 10k, this is a fantastic flat and fast course and with 1274 athletes and great conditions this was going to be a great race.

She had a great second race coming 3rd in her age group and 388th overall in a time of 55 min 18 sec, a great time and she enjoyed the route, scenery and atmosphere of the whole festival.

Newcastle Way Marathon

On Saturday morning saw the running of the Newcastle Way Marathon / Half Marathon organised by We Run Wild NI.

Philip Vint won second place in the Newcastle Wild Way Marathon.

The Marathon route follows the way marked Newcastle Way, starting at the visitors centre in Newcastle, the route continues to Tollymore Forest and on to Castlewellan Forest before winding its way back down to Murlough, where the runners continue along the beach to the finish in Newcastle.

This event is self-sufficient and all entrants follow provided GPX files, carry their own water and food along with a small mandatory kit. There are no marshals or course markings.

East Downs Philip Vint took on the full Marathon. He is a seasoned marathon and ultra runner and enjoyed the whole event, and said the whole event was well organised  with a great atmosphere. Philip paced an excellent race coming in second place overall in a time of 3 hrs 58 min 58 sec.

Armagh 10 mile Road Race

On Sunday saw local athletes descend  on Armagh for the popular 10 mile road race.

The conditions were warmer then previous years, the course which is fairly flat with a couple of cheeky hills along the way.

210 runners took to the start line and with them was EDACs Seamus Savage, he was slightly disappointed with his run, with the weather a little warmer than expected for this time of the year, Seamus came in a time of 1 hr 14 min 18 sec 65th position.

Still a great time with 7 min 23 sec mile pacing.

McGrady Event In Castlewellan 2023

The first McGrady race of the season happened on the 1st of October with Murlough hosting the event in Castlewellan.

It has been some years since Castlewellan Forest Park was the venue so the location was new to nearly everyone.

Alex, Jacob and Thomas in action.

The course was 250m loops which gave spectators a ring side view with the number of laps increasing with school age.

This required the runners not only to race but keep a tally of the lap they were on. Some were more successful than others at this and many had to be told to stop before they headed onto an extra lap.

For a change the older kids ran first. It is nice for them to get some support at these events and it also gives the younger juniors something to aspire to.

The first race had years 11,12,13 and 14 running 8 laps of the course together but results were split into year 11 & 12 and 13 & 14.

Jacob Crawford came 2nd in the Year 13 to 14 and was really only stretching his legs after a BP in Bangor 10k the day before.

He was followed by Alex Robinson and Thomas Magee who came 3rd and 4th overall even though they are only in year 11 and so were running against runners older than them. They placed 1st and 2nd in their age category (Years  11-12). 

Erin Moore and Kate Jackson came third and fifth in the Year 11-12 girl category. The number of laps decreased by one as the school years decreased.

Results are as follows -Year 9 (boys) -Jarlath Price 2nd, (girls)  Aoife Kellett 5th ,Caragh Moore 7th ;Year 8 (boys) – Dillion Hynds 2nd,  (girls) Annie Canavan 4th, Aoife Gilchrist 9th ; Primary 7 Maria Rooney 2nd, Isla Taylor 6th ;Primary 6 – Tarynn Smyth – 2nd ;Primary 5 – Faith Kellett 4th, Rosa Canavan 5th and Primary 4 and under – Coen Canavan 2nd.

Thanks to Murlough AC for hosting a great event.

The next race in the series will be hosted by Dromore AC on the 12th of November.