EDAC Notes: Connemara, Hill And Dale And London

CONNEMARA, HILL and DALE and LONDON Last weekend , while the local interest focused on the Titanic Quarter 10K the annual Connemara Marathon and Ultra Marathon were taking place amid the rugged beauty of Quiet Man country.  After my experiences there last year I had promised to return again this year to exact my revenge for the grief it had caused me.  In the event however I came up with an even more cunning plan, I sent Brian Donnelly along instead knowing that his 3.58 for the marathon distance lat year would prove a good basis for an assault on the challenging 40 mile route.  This strategy was fully vindicated as Brian stormed home in an excellent 6.15.55, placing 60th in a field of almost 200. The race was won in a time of 4.22.17, in conditions somewhat cooler than in Queen’s Island.  Also in action again were  husband and wife team of John and Wendy Findlay, with John dipping below 4 hours, clipping over 2 minutes off  last year’s time in 3.58 and Wendy taking a massive 12 minutes off her 2010 time, clocking 4.07.  Well done to all 3 and for looking perfectly normal when they arrived home next day.   Well done too to Marc Breteche and Jamie McDowell who recorded 7.31 and 10.04 respectively in the Junior Mile race before the Titanic 10K last Sunday.  Jamie is just 4 years old! Thursday night saw the return of the Hill and Dale series and my strategy of sending others in my place continued to pay off handsomely. Jim Erskine made an impressive start to the series and was first East Down man home in 41.30 followed closely by Francis Tumelty.  Brian Hamilton was only just pipped for first place in the Over 60 category with Michael Degan a further minute behind in 47.22. Brian Wilson last seen at the AGM on 4 January completed the East Down squad.  Which one was standing in for me? Well it’s a close call but in terms of time and place it has to be Jim. On Thursday evening several Juniors took part in the first round of the Edwards & Co. Super 5 series at Mary Peters Track with best performances coming from Marc Breteche, just pipped for bronze in the 800 metres and Elaine Burch who took 2nd place in the 1500 metres ladies race. On to Saturday and Ballynahinch Lions Club 10K saw the return to winning ways of Brendan Teer, clocking 33.04 well clear of Matthew Wilson in 2nd.  This race, over a challenging 2 lap course, also saw another impressive run by Murlough’s Donna McCusker to claim 3rd place in the ladies race. And then it was Sunday and the long awaited for London Marathon.  As usual conditions were hot and humid but East Down’s Mark McDowell clearly relished the heat as he recorded a new personal best of 3.24 with Stephen McCartan enjoying the occasion immensely and clocking 4.02, a nice wee warm up for Belfast and Edinburgh in May which he is running to raise money for a cancer charity in memory of his late brother in law. The 30th running of the Belfast Marathon will see record numbers of over 20,000 on the streets on Monday 2nd May and a large number of local runners will be involved.  Most are putting the final touches to their training and are tapering down while carbo loading (eating like pigs) as the days count down.  Best wishes to all of you – we’ll be waiting for you at Ormeau Park gates.]]>