East Down Runners Enjoy Bobby Rea X Country

East Down AC Runners take part in a number of events

East Down AC Runners take part in a number of events

Bobby Rea International Cross Country.

Saturday afternoon saw this year’s running of the Bobby Rea International Cross Country race.

The morning saw off all the junior races and after the two days of heavy rain the course was cut up in many places and conditions were what you would say were Bad to Spongy.

The Ladies were first off with three 2k laps of the Hilly course at the Billy Neil Centre of Excellence for all things sport. EDAC had four Ladies running in this high quality field with athletes coming from across the UK, Europe and South America.

Catherine O’Connor running for NI in the Bobby Rea International XC event. (Photos courtesy of East Down AC).

Catherine O Connor was leading the charge for the Club and also N Ireland, being selected for the N Ireland team for this event.

Catherine put in a strong performance even with a cold, coming in 11th position overall and third N Ireland runner across the line scoring for the team.

Backing up Catherine and next Red and Yellow vest to finish was Leanne Spick, who put in a strong run around this tough route finishing in 95 position out of 253 athletes.

Nuala Taylor after watching her children take on the course pulled on her spikes and was pleased with her efforts finishing in 142 spot.

Aine Grant who normally likes the tarmac took to the mud to make up the EDAC ladies team, and dug in deep to finish in 216 position.

Nuala Taylor, right, in the Bobby Rea.

The ladies team placed in 15th position out of 21 teams in a very strong field. Izzy Fry running for GBR won the 6k race in 21 min 18 sec.

The East Down men were the last on, with 8 athletes running with the first 4 in to count for the team results.

The guys had four 2k laps to contend with, and the ground by now was very wet and muddy in places with some of the team taping their spikes to their feet so as not to lose them in the thicker mud.

Again there was a strong International field of 244 runners, and from the gun there was a stampede towards the first hill.

The pace was fast, pulling all runners round the wet course.

Adam Withers went off fast and managed to maintain this for most of the race, coming in first for the team in 59th position.

The East Down A runners who ran in the Bobby Rea International XC event.

Next in was Martin Willcox who is an old hand at the cross Country, and crossed the line in 84th spot and was happy with his afternoons efforts.

Not far behind Martin was Coach Paul Burns who is coming back into some form after a layoff and found the going tough, but enjoyed the outing coming 90th position.

Paul Burns in action in the Bobby Rea.

The last counter for the team was James Cuffey who has been dipping his toe in all distances and types of races and admitted enjoying the cross country in an odd kind of way, finishing in 104th position.

The fifth man in was Men’s Team Captain Seamus Savage, who admits that X Country is not really his bag, but was supporting the team and put in a determined run to come in 186th spot.

Next in was the ever reliable Adam Morgan who has run this course many times and enjoyed the race, finishing in 192th.

Not too far behind was X Country stalwart Mark O Connor who has run many X Country races in his time and came in 194th position.

In 210th position was Declan Hampton who is more of a roadrunner, but still finished with a smile on his face after a tough race.

The Men’s team finished the team event in 9th out of 21 teams with Ethiopian Yohanes Asmare coming first in a time of 25 min 26 sec.

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Dame Kelly Holmes, centre, with East Down AC runners Suzy and Paddy Smith at the Jog On Cancer 10K run in Lurgan Park.

Jog On Cancer 5 and 10k (Lurgan Park)

On Sunday morning local athletes descended on Lurgan park for the Jog On Cancer 5 and 10k.

This race raises  money for cancer charities around N Ireland and takes in a number of laps of Lurgan Park.

Maureen Kelly and Alison Carroll who ran in the Saintfield Striders 5K.

EDAC had Brother and Sister Paddy and Suzy Smith taking on the 10k which took in 3 and a bit loops around the lake in Lurgan Park.

With cool and Sunny conditions 140 runners toeing the start line and with Olympic Gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes as guest starter the Smiths were in good company.

Paddy was first home in 54th position in a time of 54 min 49 secs, not too far behind was sister Suzy in 55 min 37 sec, 60th position.

Paddy said it was a great event and a PB course, only if you had not been watching the rugby the night before with a couple of beers

A great effort from both of them and a great charity.