East Down AC Ladies Show Off Their Girl Power

The latest report on the running scene from East Down Athletic Club

The latest report on the running scene from East Down Athletic Club.


Belfast Half Marathon 2021 was always going to be a virtual affair due to Covid restrictions but that didn’t seem to put people off entering and setting their own route in order to chase a personal best for the distance or simply to claim their t-shirt writes Alison Carrol.

This event is normally well attended and attracts a raft of spectators which creates a great atmosphere but this year it was up to the runners to come up with a way of motivating themselves on the day.


East Down AC had several runners who have used this as their incentive to keep churning out the long runs and as the date approached they were well prepared to cover the 13.1 miles.

Cathy Burke, Mags Flynn, Helen Vint, Joanne Carson all EDAC joined by good friend Jo Magee who completed her first Half Marathon distance on Saturday.

It was a case of Girl Power as all the EDAC athletes who took part were female on this occasion. Joanne Carson is credited with coming up with a pleasing route for her buddies Helen Vint, Mags Flynn and Cathy Burke. These girls are to be seen most weekends, rain, hail or shine, chalking up miles in and around Downpatrick. Their dedication is most commendable. In their opinion, a half marathon is long enough to challenge the legs but not as draining as a full marathon so you could almost say that it is an enjoyable task.


Joanne got them off to a familiar start. They met outside Castlewellan Forest Park on Saturday Morning and ran in to the park to do 3 laps of Castlewellan Lake. Nicely warmed up they then headed out the main road to Newcastle and didn’t stop till they were in the grounds of the Slieve Donard Hotel. They fairly breezed along and were all within sight of each other as they came to a halt.

Cathy and Mags were at the head of the pack in 1 hour 56  minutes with Helen less than a minute behind. Joanne was just a few seconds over the 2 hours and more than happy with her run and they all agreed that it was a scenic route.

Being at the Percy French and the fact that outside hospitality had conveniently opened the night before, it would have been rude not to have an ice cold beverage to celebrate. Well deserved Ladies!


And so to Sunday. Suzy Smith often meets with friends and family including Kelly her niece for a long Sunday Run. They stay close to home in Ballykinlar where the terrain could be described as lumpy.

In fact whichever way they go, there are some challenging hills but these girls are well used to it and tough enough to persevere. Suzy had actually only planned to run a few miles with brother Patrick to encourage him on his way to the Half Marathon distance but she was enjoying it so much that she ran on – and on – until before she knew it she had covered the  entire 13.1 miles!

Despite this only being her second time to complete a Half Marathon, she finished in a very respectable time of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Who knows how well she could do if she was participating in an official race? Kelly meanwhile had struck a brisk pace from the off and followed her own rhythm easing ahead in the early stages.

She has been running very well in training and it was no surprise that despite the gradients involved, she ended up with a personal best time of 1 hour 48 minutes.

Again there is no doubt on a flatter course with other runners to chase, there will be improvement to come but for now both Smiths were content with their efforts and so they should be. Well done!