East Down Running Scene Still Very Active

The local running scene has been as busy as ever writes the East Down AC’s Joe Quinn.

Ards 5 Mile Race On Friday.

Four of East Down’s ladies, Catherine O’Connor, Deirdre Weatherall, Janine Murray and Marguerite Robinson, travelled to the Ards 5 Mile Challenge on Friday night organised by Scrabo Striders Running Club. The weather kept them guessing but the forecast was nowhere close to the downpours forecast with most runners home before the first sign of drizzle.

Catherine O’Connor, Deirdre Weatherall, Marguerite Robinson and Janine Murray in Ards.

The 5-mile loop initially took runners along the flattish peninsula road for approximately 2 miles, but into a head wind, before climbing inland. Pre-race descriptions had been of a hill climb for the next part followed by a section which undulated before a steep decline and a flat finish. The general consensus though was that once the race left the coast it felt like it had more uphill than down.

Success All Round.

Catherine came home as first lady in a brilliant time of 30.41. She was followed by Deirdre Weatherall, third placed female, in a time of 33.31.   Marguerite, who normally runs longer half marathon distances was pleased with her time of 41.03 which gave her 3rd place in the F50 category. Both Marguerite and Janine, who finished in 42.09, 6th in the F35 category, now realise that a holiday before a race is probably not the best preparation. Janine had just returned at 4.30pm Friday afternoon!! Well done and Congratulations to both.  Informed opinion afterwards was that the post-race refreshments were “lovely with lots of tray bakes to replace sugar levels”. Thanks to Scrabo Striders for a great event.


On Thursday a bus full of keen EDAC Juniors attended the last Firmus Fab 5 track event of the season hosted by Lagan Valley AC at the Mary Peters track.

The EDAC juniors at the Mary Peters Track.

They were under the watchful eyes of the coaches Paul, Peter and Patricia. This was the first time that many of our younger junior members had taken part in such an event so there was a palpable level of nerves. However, all the kids rose to the challenges of field and track events admirably and did the club proud.  It should be noted that a lot of our younger athletes are participating in age categories with other children who are often a few years older than they are, so the results are all the more praiseworthy.  Field events included long jump & high jump with 100m, 1200 and 1500m track events on offer.

Further podium places were won by Kari and Lily Foster, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Girl’s U11 1200m. This is Lily’s first podium place on the track, and deserves a mention as she is only 8. Older sister Jodi came 3rd in the Girls U13 1500m.

Other podium places were won by Anna Gardiner who was first in the Girls’ 1500m and Kara Trainor who was third. Just off podium in 5th was Anna Kearney in the Girls U13 100m and Oliver Robinson who came 4th in the U13 Boys 1500m. He led for the first 2 laps but was overtaken in the last lap by three boys who paced the race better. Also representing the Club on Tuesday were Iona Bunbury, Thomas Brown, Alex Robinson, Aaron Mullan, Rory Morris, William Taylor, Maeve McNeill, Jarlath Kearney,  Aaron Lennon, Louis Scullion, Declan Hampton, Emily Burns, Matthew Taylor and Jack Carson. 

However, irrespective of how they performed all the children were buzzing on the bus home.  A big thank you to the coaches and parents who helped out on the evening. Also, a big thank you to Lagan Valley AC for hosting these sessions throughout the summer.

Philip Strikes Again.

Just 4 weeks after he won his first ever marathon, Phillip Vint completed the double when he crossed the line well ahead of the field in the latest East of Ireland (EOI) organised marathon in Tirmoghan, Co. Kildare, which also included 10K Half, and 50K distances. Although he had planned to make this race he said as “a long, hard run as part of the build up to the Dublin marathon at the end of October, that idea went out the window when I realised I was in contention!”

Helen and Phillip Vint in Kildare

This became evident from the early stages when he saw the other contender at the end of the 1.2 mile loop, prior to undertaking the first of 5 loops of the 5 mile circuit which were set up to make the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. To his delight the 5-mile loop had a steady climb which he was able to exploit to his advantage, first  by accelerating slightly at the start of each lap, to open up a gap and then to maintain and increase it as the race progressed.  An excellent tactical triumph against an opponent who was just as determined as he was to come out on top, Phillip’s time was 3 hours 20 minutes, over 1 minute faster than his earlier successful outing.

So, it’s well done again to Phillip and to Helen who completed the half marathon in 2 hours and 2 seconds!!

The Magheralin 5K.

Since his nickname is “Duck”, Donal Smith just had to make the trip to the other side of Moira for the (Moira Lakes) Magheralin 5K to get hold of a special piece of bling – a race medal with a duck on it!

There was a big turnout at the Friday night event organised by the St. Michael’s GAC despite the weather warnings for heavy rain that thankfully didn’t materialise on a testing enough route which finished back at the St. Michael’s clubrooms with Donal crossing the line in 25.48 in 49th place.  Donal’s review “a nice little goody bag and a very tasty burger post race”  is part of his recommendation to others to try it next year!

The Laganside 10K

This popular flat and fast course was well attended as is usually the case. East Down AC was well represented with 7 runners, led home by Davy Foster who recorded 37.34 in 56th place overall in the nearly 1000 finishers field.

Kevin Kelly, Clare Carson, Janine Murray, Caroline MacNabb, Dee Murray and Donal Smith in Ormeau Park at Laganside 10k.

The ultra consistent Dee Murray finished in 38.41 in 78th place while Caroline MacNabb had a morale boosting run in 38.59 which was good enough to give her 3rd place in the Female Open category and 6th placed female overall.

Clare Carson took the 10K in her stride despite having stuck to longer distances of late and was happy with 46.25 in 269th place while Kevin Kelly 48.24 also had his best run for some time in 324th place. Despite racing on Friday Donal turned up on Sunday for race two in 3 days. He was delighted to record a sub 50 minute 10K for the first time since his operation back in March, posting a time of 49.17  in 365th place.

Janine Murray also making up for a week of rest decided to run for the second race of the weekend and came home in 52.18 comfortably inside the top 500 finishers, in 472nd place.

The Mill Hill Mile.

By the time you’re reading this next week’s headlines will already be written, courtesy of the Mill Hill Mile on Tuesday night. I missed out on it last year and am still out of commission this time as well. But come 2020!!