JUNIOR CROSS COUNTRY
An encouraging turnout of East Down Juniors took part in the first round of the McGrady’s Financial Services Junior Cross Country Series on Sunday afternoon in Castlewellan Park, despite the forecasts of sufficient wind and rain to scare Noah writes Joe Quinn.
In the event, warm sunny conditions greeted the boys and girls from P3 upwards as the now 4 club competition kicked off. New arrivals Dromore AC were warmly welcomed by Newcastle, Burren AC and East Down and played their part in an exciting afternoon’s racing.
Little Noah Sheridan from Newcastle set the crowd buzzing with a heroic victory in the opening P4 and Under Boys race just pipping clubmate James McVeigh at the line in a race in which Lewis McMullan and Thomas Nay made promising debuts for the County town club. In the Girls race Eimear and Ciara McCann also made their debuts in East Down colours.
In the P5 Boys race Michael O’Connor was a close 3rd while Colleen Burke was sole East Down runner in the Girls race. One of the best races of the day was the P6 Boys contest with Cathal Kinsella taking a splendid 3rd with Jack Carson in 5th and Chrostopher McMullan picking up valuable points in 12th place. P7 Boys had only Andrew McGrattan in for East Down but he took 4thplace in a keenly contested race
Natasha Savage ran splendidly for the P7 Girls, showing a return to form with 2nd place,well backed up by Aoife Burke in 5th.
The year 8 Girls saw the ever improving Edie Carroll take 3rd place with 2 more debutantes Ellen O’Hare and Sarah Glover running well for 5th and 6th places. Tim Prenter was the all the way winner of the Year 9 Boys race just holding off fast finishing clubmate Owen Edwards with Matthew McGrattan and Tony Carson in 5th and 6th places respectively.
In the Year 9 Girls Anna Lyn produced a sparkling debut run to take 2nd place behind Newcastle’s talented Sarah Dougherty. Year 10 Girls provided East Down with it’s richest haul of points of the day with Laura Green fairly revelling in the conditions, coming home ahead of Dromore’s Kerry McDowell with Aoife Cochrane, Elisha Surginor and Ella Carroll in 3rd 4th and 6threspectively.
Caolan Atkinson, in the year 11 Boys event proved that watching Arsenal is not as tiresome as the pundits would have you believe, running splendidly for a well earned 2nd place having travelled to and from Sunderland on Saturday. Just behind him and leading the Year 11 Girls home Laura Gardiner brought the day’s proceedings to a close with the Newcastle’s 3 Doyle sisters in close attendance.
Our thanks to Newcastle AC for setting up a splendid course, their very efficient registration and the hospitality extended to all.
Last weekend was one of those rarities when there were no “local” races on the calendar, something of a lull before the storm with 2 half marathons this coming weekend in Dublin on Saturday and Belfast on Sunday. Ignoring the fact that it makes no difference to me anyway, as I’m no longer running due to the reluctance of my left leg to accompany me for any distance on foot, I have taken to some bike riding and took part in 2 non-competitive events on the past 2 weekends. One was the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive where I almost developed Trench Bottom from sitting on a wet saddle for over 2 hours and the other the Marie Curie Charity Cycle event on Saturday past. Both events were very well organised, the latter especially so and well done to everyone who works so hard behind the scenes. Some observations on cycling which occur to me as a novice to the ranks.
One of the features of these events which can range in distance from 15 to over 100 miles is the refreshment stops where riders stop for tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, fruit, water, rest and conversation. Very difficult for a runner to get his head round finishing a session of intense activity weighing more than when he started but if that’s what the rule is who am I to argue?
On the other hand, after listening to the debate last week about the dangers posed to cyclists by uncaring motorists, especially those who squeeze past from behind without indicating or allowing room for possible wobbles, I was frightened to discover that the biggest risk comes from fellow cyclists! I had thought that there would be some sort of etiquette to forewarn when approaching another rider from behind, as we expect from motorists, and give a wide berth when passing. Imagine my horror then at being overtaken by fast moving groups, small pelotons, riding 2 abreast and sometimes 6 or 8 pairs long, without warning and without any of them crossing the central white line! All I heard was a whoosh and when I picked myself out of the hedge they had gone. Strange thing is that when I spoke later to one or two other cyclists they had the same concern. So what is the convention? It’s bad enough falling off after forgetting to unclip from the pedals but to fear doing so when being overtaken by so called “friendly fire” is downright off putting.
Most of Saturday’s experiences happened along the A2 (A for Awful?) between Ardglass and Strangford which must rate as the most consistently bad surfaced roads anywhere. Those of us who opted for the 80K route had the pleasure of riding it twice. The advantage of this was that it enabled me to miss the holes, bumps and cracks on the second circuit that I hit on the first, the disadvantage being that on a different riding line I hit all the ones I missed earlier!
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!
Which brings me finally to a real positive. I have recently been converted to the benefits of using those energy gels I always avoided when I was running. I use them regularly now – rubbed into the saddle before long rides helps reduce chafing to a minimum.
Oh and I haven’t given up running by the way – still looking for a cure but I’ll be back – if I survive my cycling exploits.