East Down AC Notes For 1st November 2021

A report by Joe Quinn on the different events attended by the East Down AC members

A report by Joe Quinn on the different events attended by the East Down AC members

North Down Festival of Cross Country Running.

This highly popular event took place on the outskirts of Bangor on Saturday. We might get used to these dry cross country running days; although it was much colder than recent weeks the sun still shone. Perhaps there is something to this Global Warming melarkey after all writes Joe Quinn.

Ollie Robinson running in the U15 XC. (Photos courtesy of East Down AC) .

Heavy rain overnight and during the past week had soaked into the ground so the course was relatively firm, there were just a few muddy places to add variety.

The course was undulating with one longer climb mid-way through the lap with lots of turns.

EDAC had two juniors taking part. Both were using the course as practice for the more competitive All Ireland races coming up in the middle of November.

Alex Robinson ran in the U13 race which was 2 loops of the one-mile course. He ran very well and held onto 4th place for most of the race just dropping to 5th on the final turn.

The hills drained his legs so he couldn’t master a sprint so was disappointed. He finished the 2-mile course in a time of 12.16 which at just over 6 minutes per mile pace and is nothing to be disappointed with for cross country.

Oliver Robinson ran in the U15 race. The U15 and U17 boys & girls ran together for 3 miles, 3 loops of the same course. He said he went out at his planned pace, leading the pack for half of the race before being overtaken towards the end of the second lap by the U15 & the U17 eventual winners.

Alex Robinson running t=in the U13 XC at Bangor.

He came 2nd in U15 race in a time of 17.20, (5.47 per mile pace) managing his usual sprint finish. He finished 3rdboy overall.

Welll done to both lads for continuously keeping the East Down name to the fore, week in week out.

The one and only Patrick, the last man standing

How EDAC member Patick Smith described his cross country race on Saturday!!

“I treated myself to a tricky Halloween XC meeting at Bangor hosted by North Down AC. Senior men’s was a 3 lap race over 3 miles. Heavy overnight rain made going good to soft, very soft in places.

The sun shone brightly for the event itself. The course was described by the hosts as ‘an undulating lap’. It was well marked out and is probably a good event for those new to XC. 

“This was my first cross country run in over 35 years, so was tough going. I’m happy enough with a sub-25 run. The line up seemed to be a decent standard in the men’s and women’s senior races. I beat one senior man home. That says it all! The event itself included relay races where I think you need 3 to form a team. Maybe one event to consider for next year.”

And how it would have been described if left to me!! (says Joe).

Patrick Smith made the long trip to Bangor on Saturday to take part in the gloriously titled North Down Festival of Cross Country Running, just to try it out.

Patrick Smith who ran in the Bangor XC.

Although he was the sole EDAC representative, he soon settled into a good rhythm despite the very tricky underfoot conditions brought about by heavy overnight rain, which almost flies in the face of the seemingly never ending forecasts of impending global warming doom.

He was only running to have a go at cross country, since all his club colleagues had been fulsome in their praise for last weekend’s races in Comber, and also to re-kindle the love for the genre, some 35 years after his last attempt.

So without over exerting himself and drinking in the applause of the spectators he finished in a highly respectable 24.34 and 35th place in a high quality field.

And there’s the difference, he was unduly critical of his performance while I was talking up the fact that he had taken it upon himself to travel to the venue and that he had finished the course in what is a pretty good time for a cross country race. Race position is only a number. Well done Patrick! No need to run down your achievements, you’ll find plenty to do that, keep you chin up and keep going.

Gordy Graham in Armagh 10 Mile Road Race

Coach Ryan Maxwell sent Gordy Graham off to the Armagh 10 miler on Sunday as his first building block on the road to Manchester Marathon next spring. The plan was all about discipline  and control i.e. to run the race at the new (hopeful) marathon target pace rather than chase a 10 mile time or race the competition flat out.

Gordy said that it was a brilliant event but a tough course if you were after a personal best. In his case as this was his first time at the distance his time of 56.36 gives him a PB anyway. He admitted that it was hard at the end when he saw other runners giving it a kick for the finish as he had been warned well to stay to his own pace.

In the end he achieved both his goal time and the prize for first Male 35 and over. He also commended the Armagh AC volunteers and Marshals for putting on such a fantastic event. A good day out all round.

Neil Curran in Armagh

Neil has been steadily working on form and fitness and went to Armagh unsure of how he would fare. He was happy to go under the hour in saying it was “a first time for me on this course, more hills than anticipated so very happy with the time considering it’s a tough enough route. Started off slow  to see how I felt, upped it in the last 3 miles and felt it was a solid run”. His time of 59.24 gave him 34th place overall.

A Word Of Advice

If I’m not being presumptuous but could I offer words of advice to both Gordy and Neil… why not target the phenomenal Tommy Hughes, the Marrakesh Express, who continues to set records at Age 60 and who finished Sunday’s race in 55.20 and overall 13th place. He is maintaining his form is he not surely an excellent man to take a pace from?