East Down AC Notes For 5 October 2020

A round-up of the week's running for the Downptrick based club by Joe Quinn and Alison Carrol.

A round-up of the week’s running for the Downptrick based club by Joe Quinn and Alison Carrol.

Les Jones Memorial Race

The Les Jones Memorial Race is traditionally a 10K event held in May but with the Covid-19 restrictions at that time, it was put aside like so many races.

East Down AC runners in the Les Jones event. (Les Jones event photos by John T Glover).

After some thought the organisers came up with a plan to hold a 5K event which would still start and finish on the Mary Peters Track.

The entry was capped to keep the numbers low and runners were asked to predict a finish time in order to divide them up into waves, to assist the starter and runners in maintaining the coronavirus imposed rules.

East Down runners taking part in the Les Jones memorial event.

Race day dawned misty and nippy but as the sun broke through in watery fashion, the temperature rose enough to make a pleasant day for running.

Most runners arrived shortly before the start and unusually for running races there was little milling around after as the advice was to cross the line and go home.

Despite all this it was great to be out and the track start was a novelty for many. The pre arranged waves were then called up with fastest runners at the fore and they lined up using vacant lanes to separate the lines of athletes to create social distancing. 

As it was chip timed, there was no need to bunch up to the start since each person’s time was triggered only when they crossed the mat. A full lap of the track allowed a running order to evolve naturally and no one felt impeded.

The course then took the competitors from the track to the downhill trail leading to the towpath. Once on the towpath it was a right turn as far as the Gilchrist Bridge and then over the bouncy walkway and on to the far side of the towpath.

This route allowed for a one way system and the snake of runners negotiated some twisty tracks then crossed back over the old Shaw’s Bridge to head home.

Anyone trying to pace for a time had to allow for the steep climb back to the car park and then get their breath back to attack the finish. It was well organised and perfectly corralled from start to finish so well done to the race team – a successful delivery indeed.

Anna leads East Down AC home

It was also a successful day from the Club’s point of view – 8 runners set off and all came home safe and well.

Anna Gardiner led the way and had she been in wave one might have been even closer to Rachel Gibson who took first Female in 17.59. Anna 25th overall in 18.09 was 2nd Female and first Junior Female which is highly commendable.  

Wave racing is tough as you can’t see your opposition. Paul Burns while pacing Anna was also pushing himself but in gentlemanly fashion allowed her to cross the line first. He was timed as 18.12 and was pipped by 1 second into coming second place in his age category, surely a small price to pay for his act of chivalry! 

Ollie Robinson broke 20 minutes on the testing course in 19.54 putting him 52nd out of 200 finishers. Sharon Madine was home in a swift 21.44 with Emily Burns the next EDAC athlete in 22.14. Both of them made the top half of the field with ease in 84th and 90th position respectively.

Alex Robinson ran confidently in his own wave and was happy with 23.14. Marguerite Robinson (26.24) and Alison Carroll (26.43)  completed the line up. Another event done and dusted.

London Marathon but not as we know it

Sunday 4th of October should have been the London Marathon – the highlight of the year for many but sadly not so this year.

Having been pushed back from the original date in April, it was then shelved for the majority with only an elite race going ahead.

Both the Men’s and Ladies’ races were hotly contested but instead of a route around the sights of London they ran a mind blowing 19 laps around St James’s Park.

The title went to Shura Kitata who ran a superb race in 2.05.41 to win by one second with a sprint to the line. World record holder Eliud Kipchoge and four-time winner was the favourite, but fell behind with two laps to go and finished eighth.

As Cathal Dennehy an ex runner turned sports writer tweeted – “Kipchoge just got 2020’d!”  Brigid Kosgei, who holds the women’s world record, defended her title albeit with a slower time than normal – 2.18.58.

The home crowd were kept excited by the inclusion of Stephen Scullion, winner of Jimmy’s Ten back in 2011, who ran superbly to break the NI Marathon Record in a time of 2:09:49, over two minutes faster than his previous best. This will  surely guarantee his inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics. A well deserved reward. 

Virtually does it

An uphill climb. Deo Kato on a training run in the Mournes.

Recent EDAC recruit Deo Kato was meant to have tackled London Marathon this year but like so many others he was forced to realise that it was not to be.

He had trained solidly up to the original event and continued despite the original postponement. In fact Deo aims to run 10K a day for a full year.

This is some challenge but from the short time that he has been with the club it appears that he is dedicated to the task and we hope that he will persevere as it is very inspiring.

It was no surprise to find that he had decided to run the 26.2 mile distance to mark the London date.

In fact as a way to console those who were missing out, London Marathon organisers had set up a virtual portal where runners could log their runs and then claim a 2020 t-shirt and a medal.

Deo has enjoyed training in the Mournes and in the areas around Downpatrick but as he was due to be back in London, he clocked his virtual run in the city where it was meant to happen.

Without the razzmatazz and the cheering, it was very tough and he especially found the last section testing mentally as well as physically… but he got the job done.