January Events For East Down AC Runners

East Down AC Club Notes For 19th January 2023

East Down AC Club Notes For 19th January 2023

Anna Proves the Selectors Right.

At the weekend Anna Gardiner travelled to Belgium as part of a strong Irish team (24 athletes in total) to take part in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold Meeting writes Alison Carrol.

She was selected based on recent performances and was accompanied by 4 other girls to form a U20 team.

Jacob Crawford proudly wearing his bronze medal, Inter Boys. (Photos courtesy of East Down AC.)

While she is still only 16 she was included as Athletics Ireland are keen to expose the up and coming athletes to racing at an international level.

It is hoped that this will allow them to build on the success that has already been achieved in recent years.

The event took place in the city of Hannut on a lapped course with varied terrain. It was a sharp cold day but the athletes were oblivious to the biting wind once the whistle went.

Alex Robinson – 5th in Junior Boys (Year 10).

There were several races to allow for the range of age groups and Anna went in the Junior Women (2004/5) where there were 24 participants.

The calibre of the field was obvious by the ferocious pace at the start and Anna had to focus to stay in the mix.

Anna ran a fantastic race pacing it well to come over the line in a creditable 6th place. The winner, rising GB star Innes Fitzgerald, had a minute on 2nd place but from 2nd to 6th was a close call as the athletes sprinted for the line.

Anna placed 2nd of the 5 Irish girls in her age group just pipped to the post by 2 seconds by her team mate Louise O’Mahony.

This clearly endorses her selection and will give her great confidence for the rest of the season.

Going to Belgium meant missing the School Districts but she has rightfully been given a bye into the Ulster Championships in a few weeks’ time. Anna is looking forward to that as her next outing. Well done, Anna!

Districts at Delamont.

On Thursday past a huge crowd of young athletes converged on Delamont Country Park for the District A Cross Country Championships.

This event acts as a selector for the Ulster Schools in Mallusk which in turn leads to the All Irelands. The top 12 individuals qualify but other runners further down the field can also get through by contributing to team points.

The top 3 teams get selected. Even though they are running for their various schools, there is still great interest in seeing how the EDAC juniors get on but without the distinctive red and yellow of the East Down vest, it is hard to pick them out.

Anna Gardiner in Belgium with the Athletics Ireland Team.

With no official results as yet all we can say is well done to all our junior members who turned out to represent their schools and put in their best effort.

In the Year 10 Girls Cara Napier (Assumption Grammar School)  was 9th and Sarah Gilchrist (St Colmcilles) was 12th meaning they go forward to the Mallusk.

Clubmate Charlotte Barr (Down High) was spotted not far behind in the rush to cross the line. In the Year 11 Girls Hollie Noade and Hannah Morris (both AGS) were also taking part and enjoyed the buzz of the big crowd both running and watching.

In Year 10 Boys Alex Robinson (Down High) was a strong 5th which was the same position as last year in this event and secures him a slot for the Ulsters. 

In the Inter Boys (Year 11 and 12 combined) Jacob Crawford (Down High School) kept his cool and improved his position lap on lap. He is to be congratulated on finishing third overall and picking up a a bronze medal for his efforts.

EDAC’s Hollie Noade and Hannah Morris (70 and 69) ran for Assumption Grammar School in the Cross Country Championships at Delamont Country Park.

In the same race Ollie Robinson (also DHS)  who is more focussed on track events and shorter distances turned out nonetheless and came in 12th as an individual qualifier. James Wright ploughed his way through the field to add points to the Down High Team and may well get an entry to Mallusk when the tallies are counted.

All in all a good day out and much enjoyed by the spectators – the overlap of school and club friendships and rivalries makes for an exciting day of racing. Roll on the Ulsters.