East Down AC Looks Forward To Busy Summer Season


The Larne Half Marathon saw an inspired performance from Barrie Atkinson when he finished  first Over 35 and overall sixth placed runner in a super best time of 1.14.56 and just 35 seconds off a podium place writes Joe Quinn.  The race was won by last week’s Jimmy’s Ten winner Joe McAllister in 1.09.44 and saw a morale boosting finish from Declan Teague1.26.49 in 63rd place and Michael McKeown, still recovering from injury but nevertheless posting a credible 1.41.5 as he sets out on his marathon series of half marathons!

dn_screenThe ladies were well represented by Cathy Burke, Aurla McLoughlin and Liz O’ Hagen who all finished within half a minute of each other  in the minute just after 1.57 though judging by the energy they reserved for Saturday night’s Awards Dinner they could easily have knocked a couple of minutes off that!  A little further back Carmel Tumelty also earned the right to party later with a 2.02 timing in her first ever attempt at the distance.  She will surely crack the 2 hour barrier before the year is out.


Saturday also saw Brendan Teer make his Northern Ireland debut in the Home Countries Cross Country International in Nottingham where the team was not disgraced in a very strong competitive event and he surely deserves further recognition at this level.

And not to be outdone 9 brave souls from East Down, a mixture of Male and Female just to prove that madness is not the preserve of any one gender, took part in the Fin Fun Mud Run which involves running over ploughed fields swimming through sheughs and rivers full of liquid mud, just for the fun of it!  All of course in the cause of raising money for a cancer charity.


Having had a chance to look through the results from last weekend it is gratifying to note the increased numbers taking part in the relay event, designed initially to enable juniors and novices to take part in the big day without having to complete a full 10K before their age or training  allowed.  A total of 54 teams registered and it may well be that next year a greater spread of prize categories, specifically targeted at the under 15s, will be on offer. Most of the teams finished well under the 50 minute mark which is excellent running by any standard.


It wasn’t a day for personal bests given the strong headwind on the return journey but nevertheless several East Down runners did post best times for the distance, and others had to because it was their first time to complete the distance.  Dermot Cahill 41.51 and Gareth Kelly 44.36 and the ever improving Mick McCresh were among the former category and Laura Gardiner 44.29, Patricia Galloway 51.47,  Donna Russell 56.44,  Nicola Rogan 57.29, Joanne Carson 58.33 and  Simone Prenter 65.13 were in the latter.

Well Done to all of them and to those I have omitted or overlooked, your efforts are nonetheless praiseworthy.

Without having time to draw breath Sunday past  was Sports Relief Day with 3 choices of distance on offer,1 mile, 3 miles and 6 miles, to walk/run from  Ballymote Sports and Well Being  Centre,.  In the event around 85 people took part, including children and parents and thanks to all who attended, helped to marshal or at registration.  A grand total of over £400 was raised.


Next Sunday sees the latest renewal of the Castlewellan Spring Lake 5 and 10K from the GAA club at 1.0pm and the following Saturday the Leitrim 5 Mile Race and 2 mile Fun Run from Fontenoy Park in the village.  Both of these events deserve the utmost support and offer the friendliest of receptions coupled with superb post event refreshments.  So be there.

On Easter Sunday 20 April there is the Ballygalget 10K to look forward to and with free  return transport from the ferry to the start on offer there is an added incentive for athletes from this side of the Lough to be there.


It is with great sadness and regret that for the third week running I am commenting on the premature death of the close relative of one of our Club members.  Margaret Gilchrist, sister of Colm McNeill,  passed away on St Patrick’s Day and her hugely attended funeral brought  home just how much entire communities are affected by such events. Another family have now to come to terms with their loss made more difficult by the apparently uncaring fact that life goes on. Many have found that at times like these participation in physical activity can bring an added level of comfort and support and it is hoped that such action will help Colm. The Club wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Colm,  his mother and brothers at this particularly sad time and assure them of a place in our thoughts and prayers.