Nearly 600 runners took to the streets around the Lagan bridges in South Belfast on Wednsday night with Neil McCartan taking overall 17th place in 16.06, with James Savage returning to top form in 17.30, Dee Murray 18.19 and Liam Keenan 18.47 the next 3 East Down men home. Catherine O’Connor was first of the East Down Ladies to finish, clocking 19.03, followed by Lisa Milligan 23.38 and Neil’s Mum Betty in 24.00 writes Joe Quinn.
In ideal running conditions and with not even a snowflake in sight this year a disappointingly small field of just 48 runners turned out on Saturday for what is undoubtedly a tough wee challenge around the most scenic of settings in Leitrim village. The friendly welcome extended to all and the second to none post race refreshments deserve a much greater sampling and it is to be hoped that next year clubs, especially the local ones, will properly support this event. Perhaps it was the Titanic Quarter 10K on Sunday which was the excuse for the low entry though it was not exactly overwhelmed with runners from these parts either. A common complaint about the East Belfast venue is that it’s flat and featureless and consists of long seemingly endless straights, well give it a miss next year and go instead to Leitrim to enjoy the beauty of rural Co. Down at its best.
Brendan Teer took the race by the scruff of the neck from the gun and was a comfortable winner in 26.21, over 2 minutes clear of second placed Dermot Mathers 28.27 from Newry City Runners and Brendan’s clubmate Martin Willcox 29.19 in third. Dee Murray was impressive in 7th place recording 31.57 while Catherine O’Connor eased into 2nd place in the Ladies race in 33.19
A strong headwind over the final 2.5K leg of the exposed harbour estate roads legislated against record times in Sunday’s Titanic Quarter 10K which once again attracted almost 1500 runners. Historic as the setting is it doesn’t have the friendliness or charm and certainly not the refreshments of Leitrim. Take a note for next year!
The race was won in fine style by Europe’s top marathon runner Paul Pollock in 30.40 ahead of Jimmy’s Ten winner Joe McAlister with Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin in 3rd. East Down’s James Savage ran a tremendous race to take 33rd place in a pb 37.31 with Liam Keenan posting a superb 39.35 and Raymond Milligan looking strong and comfortable on the way to 40.30. Gavin Oakes too looked in good shape as he posted 41.56 while Gareth Kelly continues to improve his times and should be happy with 44.16. Roger Byrne too continues to chip away at the seconds and recorded an encouraging 48.16.Patricia Galloway and Ian McCracken both escaped my notice but should be happy with 51.23 and 54.55 respectively while Paul Fitzsimmons clocked 51.15 . It was good to see Colm McNeill making his second appearance of the week, following up his 5K at Queen’s on Wednesday with a 56.21 timing here.
BALLYGALGET COMMUNITY 10K
Easter Sunday is just around the corner or for local running enthusiasts, just across the water, for it is then that Ballygalget GAC stage their annual community 10K and local runners are encouraged to make the crossing to Portaferry and avail of the free shuttle bus provided to take them to and from the venue for the start at 12 noon. Anyone intending to use the shuttle bus service should take the 11.00am ferry from Strangford at the latest to get there in time.
The following weekend Saturday 26th April the 25th running of Ballynahinch Lions 10K takes place. This event deserves strong local support and organisers have gone out of their way to accommodate runners views by upgrading the race route, removing the dreaded steps section and having the distance oficially measured
LIONS THREE LAKES 7 AND 14K CHARITY RACES
Another of this feast of great local races takes place on Saturday 10th May from the Lakeside Inn on the shores of Ballydugan Lake, with a choice of 2 distances, 7 and 14K, the latter of which takes in the picturesque Magheraleggan and Loughinisland Lakes before returning to the tranquility of the Inn. A warm welcome is assured for all and with the proceeds going this year to the Down Residential Project runners will be helping a very worthy cause. Online registration is now open at HYPERLINK “http://www.athleticsni.org/”www.athleticsni.org
The Club extends best wishes to all our members taking part in next weekend’s London Marathon and indeed to all those from local clubs who are running there. Enjoy it and if you finish a few steps ahead of Mo, you’ll probably have driven round.!!