The last Wednesday night in June has been the date for the Loughinisland 5.05 miles race since it began in 2007 so it was no surprise to find it making its tenth appearance on Wednesday past writes Joe Quinn.
And it was appropriate as the event began its second decade of life that one of the new kids on the block, Newcastle’s star Hill & Daler Zak Hanna who, though barely out of Junior ranks finished 2nd overall in the 11 race Series, took the opportunity to show he is no slouch on the roads either by flying home in 26.63, at which time I was being overtaken by Pat O’Driscoll, just at halfway!!
Zak had one and a half minutes to spare over his clubmate Patrick Higgins at the line and Francis Tumelty made it an all Newcastle podium just 11 seconds behind Patrick. Beechmount’s Colin Drain was 4th and claimed the Over 35 prize, with Ballydrain’s Mark Earney and Norman Mawhinney taking the Over 45 and Over 55 prizes respectively.
Amy Bulman, surprisingly unattached, ran splendidly to take overall 11th place and 1st Lady with North Belfast’s Mary Margaret Meade in second and Newcastle’s Mari Troeng taking 3rd place. Dromore’s Susan Smyth and Mary Mackin took the Over 35 and over 55 prizes respectively, while Co Antrim Harrier Christine Murray was the Over 45 winner.
In the Fun Run, the clear winner was Kirsty Foster, from the host club’s Andrew Boyd with Mackenzie Murray in 3rd.
Following the usual comments on the hilly course, consideration is being given to running the race the opposite way round next year, but returning via the lough side road to cut out the climb through the village. Needless to say some original thought will have to be put into next year’s complaints, which should be entertaining but will not be entertained!
The Comber 10K on Saturday was a very different affair, billed as flat and fast in comparison to last year’s slanted and slow, it had a whole variety of features, including humidity, wind, rain, great crowd support, T-shirts, medals and a feast of tray bakes, cakes and buns to suit every palate. It was easy to see where Norman’s couch to 5K and Beyond group, get rid of their supplies of once jealously guarded chocolate. The only thing missing was a class in Lace Tying which would be more appropriate for some of us than the pre-race warm up, which I missed anyway.
KEEP TAKING THE TABLETS!
The reason for this unusual request is, like a lot of today’s ills, drug related. Having left home in perfect time to comfortably make parking, registration, meeting with friends and key disposal a laid back, pleasant experience I discovered 2 miles into my journey that I had forgotten to take my tablets I had reminded myself not to forget barely 2 minutes before I left the house. Why do memories work like that?
Surely if they can do it 10 minutes after the deadline they can do it before it? Anyway, retracing my route back home, downing the medication and getting back to where I was before I remembered, or at least to where I think I was, my memory isn’t too reliable you know, cost me 15 minutes and when I had to sit behind a slow moving line of traffic all the way from Killyleagh to Comber, I was lucky to make the registration in the Leisure Centre, with ten minutes to spare before the race was due to begin at 2.00pm.
Having hastily put on my running shoes before I left the car, with the firm intention of checking and tightening laces before the race started, I totally forgot all about them until the hooter sounded to start the race – just as I arrived at the back end of the almost 500 strong field of runners – and then of course the memory activated again, telling me scornfully “You’ve forgotten to tighten your laces and to tuck in the ends”
Every runner who has taken part in 2 or more races knows this is part of the deal – always tuck the lace ends and bows in below the cross laces – to keep them from coming undone!! But the choice of stopping to do it and lose time or carry on and hope they wouldn’t, resulted in another bum decision. I carried on but then had to stop and re-tie not once but 3 times, during the course of the race, because under pressure and a deluge of rain, fingers become thumbs and laces take on a life of their own.
The overall result was that I eventually made it to the finish line having lost at least a minute. But what odds – I was faster than last year and had learnt a valuable lesson in the process. Whether my memory has learnt it too, remains to be seen.
The race itself was extremely well organised, as one has come to expect from any event involving Ballydrain Harriers, and with over 500 entries, very well supported by the local clubs.
EAST DOWN PERFORMANCES
First East Down man home was Martin Willcox, 36.07 for 17th overall and winner of the Over 45 prize, followed by Paul Burns in 37.10 and the only other East Down runner to break 40 minutes.
Not that there was anything wrong with not doing that of course and several of their number posted excellent pbs, the most notable of those being David Smith’s 41.42, Clare Forster’s 51.47, (52.59 in 2015) Janine Murray’s 52.08 ( 54.05 in 2015) Oonagh Brétéché’s 51.05 remarkable in that it comes a mere few weeks after surgery, Roisin Gaffney 53.58 and good to see the return of Simone Prenter again with the as ever supportive Eithne McGrattan.
Lisa Laird while initially disappointed can have no reason to be unhappy with 45.19 and Elaine McAuley completed her first ever 10K in fine style, clocking 61.07 and no doubt is already challenging husband Gerard for the bragging rights.
NI MASTERS TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At last weekend’s Masters Track and Field Championships at Mary Peters track, Liam Keenan posted a highly respectable 5.08 in the Over 50’s 1500 metres to lift the Silver medal, a feat he repeated in the 800 metres, clocking 2.29.10, showing there’s “speed” in them legs yet. This is not connected to the earlier comments about drugs!
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
On Friday night the “local” race is in Greyabbey where both 5 and 10K distances are on offer and then the Shore 10K in Killough is on Monday 11th July at 7.30pm. After that the action switches across Strangford Lough for the Portaferry Gala 10 Miles with 2 X 5 Miles Relay, beginning at 7.30pm on Tuesday 19 July.
And to complete July, the RGU 10K and 2 x 5K Relay takes place on Wednesday 27th beginning at 7.30pm from the Ardglass Rd with registration beforehand in the RGU Clubrooms
On Tuesday 12 July, Richard who organises the duathlons in Victoria and Bishopscourt is putting on a 5K running race in Victoria Park, and all are invited to support this event as warm up for a spot of marching later in the day.