Sunday 20 October 2019 12:33:39 PM

East Down AC Runners Have Another Busy Week
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Cathy Degan with medal after completing the Gaelforce Women's Adventure

Cathy Degan with medal after completing the Gaelforce Women’s Adventure

Neil McCartan was a busy man last week winning the 800metres in Santry on Wednesday night in a personal best time of 1.58 and won the 1500 metres at Mary Peters track on Friday  night in a time of 4.06, great running by any standard writes Joe Quinn.


The Friday before last 4 East Down stalwarts made the trip to Carlingford for the high quality 5k race through the village.  Best of the quartet was Brendan Teer’s 9th place in 15.52 with Barrie Atkinson  17.27,  Liam Keenan, still defying the years in18.38 and Stephen McCartan 20.28 contributing to a great team performance. Barrie went on to take 3rd place in the Burren 10K the following Thursday, clocking 37.57 while on the Sunday prior to that Michael McKeown was the sole East Down representative in the Cookstown Half Marathon finishing in 1.32 in an event which incorporated the WPFG competition in this discipline.


Then on Saturday Declan Teague took time out from his onerous recent schedule to run a tough 10 mile race over a multi terrain course near Aviemore  in the Scottish Highlands, recording an excellent 65.49 for 10th place.  Warm weather training in Rhodes clearly paid off.


Cathy Degan took part in the Gaelforce Women’s Adventure Race 2013 in Connemara on 27 July becoming the first EDAC woman to take part in a Gaelforce event  following in her father Michael’s footsteps, pedals and seat as the first EDAC man to do so a number of years back – and an adventure is certainly what it turned out to be. Cathy’s own report on the event, which follows here,  needs no embellishment from me. Suffice to say that while she has a few things to learn about puncture repairs she has certainly learnt how to tell the time very well indeed!

“The race started with a 7.5km run through the Connemara rocky mountains and bog lands which was challenging but lots of fun! On route my EDAC colours were spotted and I received a few words of encouragement from some ladies from Orangegrove Athletics Club which was nice. I then jumped onto to my bike to start the 15km multi-terrain cycle which turned out to be more challenging than anticipated – I got a puncture within the first 5 minutes and immediately thought to myself – Why did I not let Dad give me that quick demo on repairing punctures before I left?

Anyway with a lot of determination & perseverance I eventually managed to change my first ever puncture (woo-whoo to me!!) and managed to complete the cycle section – eventually! I then donned a life-jacket and took to the Killary Fjord for the 0.5km kayak stage which was thankfully uneventful! The grand finale was the 0.5km steep climb back to the Killary Centre to run through the finish line with the biggest ever smile on my face (and Dad’s too of course!!).

Cathy Degan appears out of a bog in Connemara.

Cathy Degan appears out of a bog in Connemara.

Joe Quinn, Michael Degan, Paul Rogan, Gavin Oakes and Tom McClean before Sunday's Hilly Leisure cycle.

Joe Quinn, Michael Degan, Paul Rogan, Gavin Oakes and Tom McClean before Sunday’s Hilly Leisure cycle.

My official finishing time was 3:14:58, however my Garmin watch (which has autopause for puncture repair time!) stated 2:35:41 so think I’ll go with that.”

All I can add is Well Done Cathy, and 2.35 it is.


On Sunday I undertook my first official cycling event, described as the Mourne Sportive and Hilly Leisure Tour 2013, promoted by Dromara CC.  Hilly and Leisure is an oxymoron when you add in a bike. Nevertheless it was a highly enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning and a little bit of the afternoon. It was a very well organised event with a great refreshment stop at Leitrim GAA Club where there were mountains of  food, drink and encouragement laid on.

Is this why cycling is proving so popular?  I opted for the 60K circuit, the next ones being 85 and 125K and the Sportive itself at 169K, unfortunately limited to just 60 participants, but maybe I’ll get in next year! One of the big differences between running and cycling is that when you come to a hill on a bike you have to lug it up and over with you.  Runners just have to look after whatever’s in their shoes. That and  an unhealthy interest in pot holes, developed at  break neck speed, which is just what would happen if the holes and the speed should meet.

A goodly number of East Down runners also took part in  one or other of the distances on offer, as part of their preparations  for upcoming multi discipline events in the next few weeks.   This qualifies for inclusion in the running report because of this and because I’m writing it.  Gavin Oakes, Paul Rogan, Tom McClean and Michael Degan all opted for the 85K while Stephen Heasley tackled the 169K. Hats off to them and to Stephen in particular.


For anyone with energy left there are 2 East Down promoted events tis week.  On Thursday night the annual Darragh Cross 6 mile Charity Race and Fun Run will take place at 7.30pm and  members are expected to opt for this race in place of the usual club training session.  On Saturday next, the first Shore 10K with stunning views around the Minerstown/Rossglass shoreline and beyond.

The race, which begins at 11.00am and takes in the locations of the award winning movie of the same name, is organised to raise funds for the Naiscoil Chull Locha and a good turnout is expected.  Top international runner Stephen Scullion, a former winner of Jimmy’s Ten, and presently the fastest man at the distance in NI, has expressed interest in taking part.