Robert Wilson Reflects On The First Jimmy’s Ten In 1999

JIMMY’S 10K: a little bit of history about the biggest 10K race in the South Down area in memory of the late Jimmy Murray.

JIMMY’S 10K: a little bit of history about the biggest 10K race in the South Down area in memory of the late Jimmy Murray.

Jimmy’s 10k, or Jimmy’s as it is affectionately known, is named after Jimmy Murray, the founder member of East Down Athletics Club. Jimmy’s involvement in EDAC is legendary even to those who never knew him writes Alison Carroll.

He established the Club as a major force in Northern Ireland athletics by developing the youth of the area. Through his position as a teacher in St Columba’s College in Portaferry, he had access to a huge pool of talent in the Ards Peninsula and many of his early training successes came from that area.

Jimmy also drew heavily on the East Down area as a whole and unearthed great talent in the Castlewellan and Newcastle areas as well in Ardglass, his home town, and Downpatrick, with other notable additions from Newry and the South Down area.

Robert Wilson pictured in 1999 at the end of the Jimmy’s Ten.

When he passed prematurely, Joe Quinn following in his footsteps, was keen to pay tribute to him and he devised an idea for a race in Jimmy’s name. Joe was a novice race director at the time and decided that Bishopscourt Race Track was the perfect venue as he didn’t yet have the confidence to host a road race in Downpatrick.

This year’s Jimmy’s 10 is going back to its roots as on June 20th the race will be hosted at the Racing Circuit. This is to comply with Covid regulations specifying sports events at a cap of 500. And to incorporate all the runners, two waves will be required which would cause too much disruption in Downpatrick.

Robert Relives The Win.

The current race committee were delighted to trace the winner of the first race held in 1999. Robert Wilson who is still an active runner and wears the Willowfield Harriers vest came to Bishopscourt to reminisce about his historic win.

Robert said: “Yes, I remember that day well. It was a bright windy day and a 3-lap race. It was my first ever senior race win, thanks to the conditions and perfect tactical running. The prize if I remember rightly was £50. Jamie Budde from North Down AC, led most of the way with me tucked tight behind him especially into the wind. He realised what I was doing and started to zigzag to upset my stride, however, I just zigzagged with him as I knew he was stronger than me but I could sprint faster.

Over 20 years later, Robert Wilson, a runner with Willowfield Harriers, ran the 10K around Bishopscourt Race Track again.

“This allowed the guy in 3rd place to catch up by the end of each lap. On the last lap with about 300 metres to go, I sprinted as fast as I have ever done to win in around 34 minutes with Jamie coming in 3rd.

“Back then he had no sprint (he learnt from that experience and now has one of the best sprints around!) Unfortunately, I can’t remember who the guy in 2nd place was. David Mckibben was the commentator that day and he coined the phase in relation to my sprint finish, “Here comes Robert Wilson with a blow torch finish.” To this day he repeats his comments whenever I am finishing a race. Even though the blowtorch is now burnt out!

“I turned up at the race expecting to possibly win the Over-40 masters prize, but not the full race. I think I had the Jimmy Murray Shield for a year. His sister presented the prizes, which I’m sure was a day of mixed emotions for her”.

We also caught up with James Budde. He was only 17 at the time and freely admits that inexperience cost him the win. He is coming back this year to have a crack at the prizes. The £50 prize is now £200! If anyone knows who was 2nd that year we would love to know. As for Robert he is not free on June 20th but not to be outdone, he pulled on the kit after our chat and completed the full 10K for old times sake.

If this encourages any readers to come and try the course for themselves, there are still entries available at: