While I was away enduring the hardships of thunderstorms and 24 hour eating in the Eastern Mediterranean, East Down athletes were not resting on their laurels. Six seniors took part in the Bangor 10 K race and acquitted themselves admirably. First man home was Stephen Shannon in 36 .52 with Liam Keenan next in 38.33 just a few seconds slower than last year on what is his favourite course.
Mark McDowell also broke 40 minutes, crossing the line in 39.58. Also showing a welcome return to fitness was Norman Mawhinney with a time of 42.12 and Cheryl Denvir, the only lady from the club to take part, earning a podium finish in the Over 35 category in a time 0f 43.52. Colm McNeill continued his steady progress through the time zones, recording 51.53.
Just to prove I wasn’t suffering any ill effects from my Turkish and Greek incarcerations I headed for the Magic Mile at Stormont on Friday night, wishing all the while I still had the ship below me, as my car struggled with Monsoon Summer we were delivered while ice cream sellers in southern England ran out of cones! Anyway the Magic Mile is the opposite of the Mill Hill Mile, it’s entirely downhill, from the Upper Terrace at Parliament Buildings to the Prince of Wales gates at Newtownards Road. Casting an eye around the assembled runners I reckoned a top 25 placing would be a reasonable target. Luckily the rain stopped just before the off and conditions were just about perfect in the mild, windless evening air.
I started steadily and about halfway down the hill I overtook 3 young girls who were running but chatting to each other – were they actually taking part or just out for a walk I wondered? I pushed on towards the finish line which was positioned much further away than when I last ran this mile but had no answer when the aforementioned trio flew past. They were all under 12 so not in my category anyway. Undeterred I crossed the line in 7.01, a long way short of the record of 3.47 set in 1998, but quick enough to hit my target by finishing 24th. It’s not my fault that only 2 dozen people turned up, a target is a target.
Next weekend sees the revival of the NI Relay Championships in Victoria Park Belfast and east Down will be fielding a strong team in the Open event with possibly a Masters team as well. Attempts are also being made to persuade the ladies to enter a threesome for their event. Age group races for Under 13 to Under 17 Boys and Girls (age on day of race) are included in the programme which begins at 12.30pm